Below is an example of a lovely personal narrative essay written by one of our high school students for the Essay Rock Star Personal Statement short course. This student was initially uncomfortable writing about herself, but after some coaching she came around in a big way, as you'll see below. Abbey lives in Australia, which is why some words are spelled differently, and the word "chook" is used for chicken.
by Abbey T.
Who am I? This is a question that many people will ask themselves at some stage in their lives. I for one know who I am. I am a creative, animal loving, story writing enthusiast who doesn't always know what she wants. My hobbies are unique in that they are me. People often say I have a vivid and sometimes wild imagination, but I believe that is exactly what’s made me discover the interests I enjoy so passionately today.
Ever since I can remember, I've always loved to use my imagination. When I was little it was the greatest most entertaining tool or plaything that I'd ever had. Using my imagination I made up games to play with my brothers and friends, creating all kinds of scenarios and characters that we could pretend to be. So it was no surprise that when I got older, most of my interests and hobbies drifted towards the more creative kinds like drawing, movie making, acting and crafting things. Drawing especially allowed me to take my imaginary worlds and characters, put them down on paper and be able to show them to people. That's one of the reasons I enjoy drawing so much. The style that I often find myself drawing is anime and manga. It is a Japanese style of cartoon drawing and I really enjoy the colour and expressions of the characters. At the moment I'm doing an art course and my current project is a watercolour painting of a cherry blossom tree. Drawing is a very special way for me to express myself.
When I was little I used to love setting up scenes with my toys, and eventually realised that with a video camera I could make movies with the ideas I had in my head. So I asked my brothers if they would like to help and we started making little movies. At first they weren't that terrific, but we kept practicing and eventually our movies started turning out quite well. Not only did I enjoy making and editing them, I also greatly enjoyed acting and pretending to be different characters.
Eventually, my stories were becoming more complex and interesting, not just scenes and fragments of ideas that came from my imagination. So I started to write down my stories, or attempt to anyway. Often I would get quite frustrated, as I found it difficult to transfer all my ideas onto paper and have them turn out the way I anticipated. However, I persevere and at this stage have several tales in progress which I hope to finish and make into short stories or books. To expand on my writing skills I would read. I enjoy reading a “good book” and my favourite genre is fantasy, because it surpasses the normal things that could happen in the real world. Fantasy has ideas that are impossible, which remind me of what my imaginary worlds used to be like, and that really appeals to me. My ultimate dream would be to get my ideas “ out there” as books and/or movies.
Friends are very important to me and making movies with many of them has been a very enriching experience. Although I have had some experiences where friends have hurt me, I still cherish every single one of my friendships. Everything that has happened to me that involves my friends has helped me grow into the person I am today. One of my greatest fears however, is that I'm afraid to lose the people I love. At one point in my life I became involved in a rather heated, very difficult situation with a friend and I was so afraid because I didn't want to lose her friendship. Thankfully however, we managed to work out out differences and retain our relationship. An interesting thing about my friendships is that quite a few of my friends are younger than I. I'm not sure why, but I suppose that a part of me has always been a young child. I've always enjoyed interacting with little kids. I enjoy hanging out with my friends but I still love playing childish games with my younger friends as well. One of the things that all of us can enjoy together though, despite our ages, is sitting down to a movie night, going out swimming, having a picnic, or going for walks, great times to share with friends. Despite being homeschooled, which a lot of people believe might limit my amount of social gatherings, it really doesn't. I am extremely blessed to have so many terrific friends.
As far back as I can remember I've loved animals, especially dogs and horses, but really, all animals. I horse ride on a regular basis and find that being on horseback gives me an awesome free feeling that I haven't been able to experience doing anything else. I love watching animal documentaries on TV and I used to always ask my parents for pets. If I found an animal outside I used to beg them to let me keep it. Going out on early morning bush walks with dad was a great way for me to experience nature first hand. It was lots of fun and we would see many animals that only appear at dawn and dusk. I once saw a fox, quails, a swan and its cygnet, deer, and kangaroos all on one walk. It was a really lovely, dewy morning and the tranquility was magical. I have owned many pets. I cannot count how many. They include guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, chooks, a cat and dogs. When I was young I used to want to be a vet, but then I started watching vet documentaries and realised that it's a big responsibility to have the wellbeing or life of someones beloved pet in my hands. Besides, as biology is not one of my forte's, I don't think I'm cut out to be a vet! However that doesn't rule out a lot of other opportunities to work in the animal world, like zoo keeping or the study of animal behaviour for example. These thoughts bring to mind an experience I had when I hand reared a baby chick. Its mother had pecked its head after it was born and I really didn't think it was going to make it through the night. So I carried it inside as it was so weak it couldn't even lift its head. The next morning I went out to check on it and miraculously it was alive. Its eyes were open and it was looking up at me. So with mum's help I continued to care for it. Once he was well enough to walk around he began to follow me thinking I was his mother' and if he lost sight of me he would chirp loudly until I came back, which is why we named him Chirp.
At times I have a lot of trouble expressing myself. This results in many unexplained emotions piled up inside me. Music and singing is a way to release them. Sometimes I sit in a tree with my iPod listening to music and singing. It's a lovely feeling singing amongst nature. Unlike most people I know, however, I sometimes listen, and even attempt to learn music in different languages. Often these are Japanese songs, which most people I know find quite unusual. They don't think it's much fun to listen to music that you can't understand, but I enjoy it and I look up translations to the songs and some of the meanings are really touching. I used to have singing lessons when I was quite young as well as piano lessons, but regrettably I didn't stick with them. Now, however, I sometimes wish I'd persevered with both these things. Therefore next year I am considering joining a choir and taking up singing again. I think I'm ready for that now.
Sometimes being me isn't always easy. There are ups and downs in my life and pros and cons to every one of my hobbies. But once I take a step back and look at the big picture, I can proudly say that there's no one I'd rather be. I am blessed. I pursue my interests with driving passion working side by side with my diverse imagination. It's thanks to this that the dreams I had as a small child are still with me today.