Personal Essay

Which specific historical experience has affected you profoundly? Let me elaborate a bit.

In the last five centuries, western civilization has gone through revolutionary political, cultural, and economic changes. Which of these changes has personally affected you as an individual living in the 21st century? This essay is about your experiences. For example, how have YOU been personally affected by the information revolution? Some of you have experienced a communist rule and its downfall.

What was it like to live in a country whose government sought to control every aspect of the lives of its citizens? What was it like to face a reality of suddenly not having that controlling authority? Have you been affected by religious changes of our time? What about the feminist revolution? Do you feel liberated? If yes, in what ways?

You may choose to write about your experience in a country affected by a left-right conflict. The U.S. is currently fighting war in Iraq and Afghanistan with the help of its allies in the name of “War on Terror.” How has this affected you personally? I once had a student who wrote about her feelings of having his fiancĂ© serving his second tour of duty in Iraq. (It was one of the most heart-wrenching pieces of writing I have read.) Immigration is a major shift in demographics that affects all of us — immigrants as well as non-immigrants.

This is what I am saying: You, like anyone else in the world, is a historical figure. Therefore, you are an important piece in this puzzle called History. As such, you must have something to say about your personal experience that, together with what others say, makes up history.

Essay should be 3-pages double spaced.