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How to Write a Life Story Essay

Last Updated: May 28, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alicia Cook . Alicia Cook is a Professional Writer based in Newark, New Jersey. With over 12 years of experience, Alicia specializes in poetry and uses her platform to advocate for families affected by addiction and to fight for breaking the stigma against addiction and mental illness. She holds a BA in English and Journalism from Georgian Court University and an MBA from Saint Peter’s University. Alicia is a bestselling poet with Andrews McMeel Publishing and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets including the NY Post, CNN, USA Today, the HuffPost, the LA Times, American Songwriter Magazine, and Bustle. She was named by Teen Vogue as one of the 10 social media poets to know and her poetry mixtape, “Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately” was a finalist in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 97,835 times.

A life story essay involves telling the story of your life in a short, nonfiction format. It can also be called an autobiographical essay. In this essay, you will tell a factual story about some element of your life, perhaps for a college application or for a school assignment.

Preparing to Write Your Essay

Step 1 Determine the goal of your essay.

  • If you are writing a personal essay for a college application, it should serve to give the admissions committee a sense of who you are, beyond the basics of your application file. Your transcript, your letters of recommendation, and your resume will provide an overview of your work experience, interests, and academic record. Your essay allows you to make your application unique and individual to you, through your personal story. [2] X Research source
  • The essay will also show the admissions committee how well you can write and structure an essay. Your essay should show you can create a meaningful piece of writing that interests your reader, conveys a unique message, and flows well.
  • If you are writing a life story for a specific school assignment, such as in a composition course, ask your teacher about the assignment requirements.

Step 2 Make a timeline of your life.

  • Include important events, such as your birth, your childhood and upbringing, and your adolescence. If family member births, deaths, marriages, and other life moments are important to your story, write those down as well.
  • Focus on experiences that made a big impact on you and remain a strong memory. This may be a time where you learned an important life lesson, such as failing a test or watching someone else struggle and succeed, or where you felt an intense feeling or emotion, such as grief over someone’s death or joy over someone’s triumph.

Alicia Cook

  • Have you faced a challenge in your life that you overcame, such as family struggles, health issues, a learning disability, or demanding academics?
  • Do you have a story to tell about your cultural or ethnic background, or your family traditions?
  • Have you dealt with failure or life obstacles?
  • Do you have a unique passion or hobby?
  • Have you traveled outside of your community, to another country, city, or area? What did you take away from the experience and how will you carry what you learned into a college setting?

Step 4 Go over your resume.

  • Remind yourself of your accomplishments by going through your resume. Think about any awards or experiences you would like spotlight in your essay. For example, explaining the story behind your Honor Roll status in high school, or how you worked hard to receive an internship in a prestigious program.
  • Remember that your resume or C.V. is there to list off your accomplishments and awards, so your life story shouldn't just rehash them. Instead, use them as a jumping-off place to explain the process behind them, or what they reflect (or do not reflect) about you as a person.

Step 5 Read some good examples.

  • The New York Times publishes stellar examples of high school life story essays each year. You can read some of them on the NYT website. [8] X Research source

Writing Your Essay

Step 1 Structure your essay around a key experience or theme.

  • For example, you may look back at your time in foster care as a child or when you scored your first paying job. Consider how you handled these situations and any life lessons you learned from these lessons. Try to connect past experiences to who you are now, or who you aspire to be in the future.
  • Your time in foster care, for example, may have taught you resilience, perseverance and a sense of curiosity around how other families function and live. This could then tie into your application to a Journalism program, as the experience shows you have a persistent nature and a desire to investigate other people’s stories or experiences.

Step 2 Avoid familiar themes.

  • Certain life story essays have become cliche and familiar to admission committees. Avoid sports injuries stories, such as the time you injured your ankle in a game and had to find a way to persevere. You should also avoid using an overseas trip to a poor, foreign country as the basis for your self transformation. This is a familiar theme that many admission committees will consider cliche and not unique or authentic. [11] X Research source
  • Other common, cliche topics to avoid include vacations, "adversity" as an undeveloped theme, or the "journey". [12] X Research source

Step 3 Brainstorm your thesis...

  • Try to phrase your thesis in terms of a lesson learned. For example, “Although growing up in foster care in a troubled neighborhood was challenging and difficult, it taught me that I can be more than my upbringing or my background through hard work, perseverance, and education.”
  • You can also phrase your thesis in terms of lessons you have yet to learn, or seek to learn through the program you are applying for. For example, “Growing up surrounded by my mother’s traditional cooking and cultural habits that have been passed down through the generations of my family, I realized I wanted to discover and honor the traditions of other, ancient cultures with a career in archaeology.”
  • Both of these thesis statements are good because they tell your readers exactly what to expect in clear detail.

Step 4 Start with a hook.

  • An anecdote is a very short story that carries moral or symbolic weight. It can be a poetic or powerful way to start your essay and engage your reader right away. You may want to start directly with a retelling of a key past experience or the moment you realized a life lesson.
  • For example, you could start with a vivid memory, such as this from an essay that got its author into Harvard Business School: "I first considered applying to Berry College while dangling from a fifty-food Georgia pine tree, encouraging a high school classmate, literally, to make a leap of faith." [15] X Research source This opening line gives a vivid mental picture of what the author was doing at a specific, crucial moment in time and starts off the theme of "leaps of faith" that is carried through the rest of the essay.
  • Another great example clearly communicates the author's emotional state from the opening moments: "Through seven-year-old eyes I watched in terror as my mother grimaced in pain." This essay, by a prospective medical school student, goes on to tell about her experience being at her brother's birth and how it shaped her desire to become an OB/GYN. The opening line sets the scene and lets you know immediately what the author was feeling during this important experience. It also resists reader expectations, since it begins with pain but ends in the joy of her brother's birth.
  • Avoid using a quotation. This is an extremely cliche way to begin an essay and could put your reader off immediately. If you simply must use a quotation, avoid generic quotes like “Spread your wings and fly” or “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’”. Choose a quotation that relates directly to your experience or the theme of your essay. This could be a quotation from a poem or piece of writing that speaks to you, moves you, or helped you during a rough time.

Step 5 Let your personality and voice come through.

  • Always use the first person in a personal essay. The essay should be coming from you and should tell the reader directly about your life experiences, with “I” statements.
  • For example, avoid something such as “I had a hard time growing up. I was in a bad situation.” You can expand this to be more distinct, but still carry a similar tone and voice. “When I was growing up in foster care, I had difficulties connecting with my foster parents and with my new neighborhood. At the time, I thought I was in a bad situation I would never be able to be free from.”

Step 6 Use vivid detail.

  • For example, consider this statement: "I am a good debater. I am highly motivated and have been a strong leader all through high school." This gives only the barest detail, and does not allow your reader any personal or unique information that will set you apart from the ten billion other essays she has to sift through.
  • In contrast, consider this one: "My mother says I'm loud. I say you have to speak up to be heard. As president of my high school's debate team for the past three years, I have learned to show courage even when my heart is pounding in my throat. I have learned to consider the views of people different than myself, and even to argue for them when I passionately disagree. I have learned to lead teams in approaching complicated issues. And, most importantly for a formerly shy young girl, I have found my voice." This example shows personality, uses parallel structure for impact, and gives concrete detail about what the author has learned from her life experience as a debater.

Step 7 Use the active voice.

  • An example of a passive sentence is: “The cake was eaten by the dog.” The subject (the dog) is not in the expected subject position (first) and is not "doing" the expected action. This is confusing and can often be unclear.
  • An example of an active sentence is: “The dog ate the cake.” The subject (the dog) is in the subject position (first), and is doing the expected action. This is much more clear for the reader and is a stronger sentence.

Step 8 Apply the Into, Through, and Beyond approach.

  • Lead the reader INTO your story with a powerful beginning, such as an anecdote or a quote.
  • Take the reader THROUGH your story with the context and key parts of your experience.
  • End with the BEYOND message about how the experience has affected who you are now and who you want to be in college and after college.

Editing Your Essay

Step 1 Put your first draft aside for a few days.

  • For example, a sentence like “I struggled during my first year of college, feeling overwhelmed by new experiences and new people” is not very strong because it states the obvious and does not distinguish you are unique or singular. Most people struggle and feel overwhelmed during their first year of college. Adjust sentences like this so they appear unique to you.
  • For example, consider this: “During my first year of college, I struggled with meeting deadlines and assignments. My previous home life was not very structured or strict, so I had to teach myself discipline and the value of deadlines.” This relates your struggle to something personal and explains how you learned from it.

Step 3 Proofread your essay.

  • It can be difficult to proofread your own work, so reach out to a teacher, a mentor, a family member, or a friend and ask them to read over your essay. They can act as first readers and respond to any proofreading errors, as well as the essay as a whole.

Expert Q&A

Alicia Cook

You Might Also Like

Write About Yourself

  • ↑ http://education.seattlepi.com/write-thesis-statement-autobiographical-essay-1686.html
  • ↑ https://study.com/learn/lesson/autobiography-essay-examples-steps.html
  • ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201101/writing-compelling-life-story-in-500-words-or-less
  • ↑ Alicia Cook. Professional Writer. Expert Interview. 11 December 2020.
  • ↑ https://mycustomessay.com/blog/how-to-write-an-autobiography-essay.html
  • ↑ http://www.ahwatukee.com/community_focus/article_c79b33da-09a5-11e3-95a8-001a4bcf887a.html
  • ↑ http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/10/your-money/four-stand-out-college-essays-about-money.html
  • ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY9AdFx0L4s
  • ↑ https://www.medina-esc.org/Downloads/Practical%20Advice%20Writing%20College%20App%20Essay.pdf
  • ↑ http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-harvard-business-school-essays-2012-11?op=1
  • ↑ http://www.grammar-monster.com/glossary/passive_sentences.htm

About This Article

Alicia Cook

A life story essay is an essay that tells the story of your life in a short, nonfiction format. Start by coming up with a thesis statement, which will help you structure your essay. For example, your thesis could be about the influence of your family's culture on your life or how you've grown from overcoming challenging circumstances. You can include important life events that link to your thesis, like jobs you’ve worked, friendships that have influenced you, or sports competitions you’ve won. Consider starting your essay with an anecdote that introduces your thesis. For instance, if you're writing about your family's culture, you could start by talking about the first festival you went to and how it inspired you. Finish by writing about how the experiences have affected you and who you want to be in the future. For more tips from our Education co-author, including how to edit your essay effectively, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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My Life Story, Essay Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1836

This Essay was written by one of our professional writers.

My Life Story, Essay Example

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The beginning of my life was quite traumatic as my father was killed before I was born during the war in Liberia. My mother raised me as a single parent and sent me to school at the age of five, with the help of the UNHCR. Because of the help of UNHCR, I was able to learn things I would not have learned if they have not been there to support my studies and all the other needs that my mother and I had to get by with. This is why I thank them for their generosity.  After middle school, the only help from the UNHCR was for things such as medication and health supplies, so getting proper education became as an issue for my family. My mother struggled and we worked through the crisis until the American government approved us to come to America in the year 2005; this proved to be one of the best days of my life as it gave me a better sense of seeing the hope that is still there to get me and my family off from struggles that we have to deal with.

The memories of my life have caused me to despise the idea of even writing about it. I have realized since birth that life was not easy, and that it is full of strife that I and my family needed to survive. These experiences did not leave so much of a good thought in me and I think that writing about it even makes the situation harder to contemplate with. Nevertheless, I am hoping I could give a bit of distinction on what life has been for me and how it has created a better person in me through time through this writing.

Let me star by introducing my country of origin. Sierra Leone is a beautiful country in West Africa, with a lot of resources. Most people visit the country in search of diamonds; nevertheless, this resource has been the source of good reputation and war at the same time. This is why Sierra Leone is most known for diamonds and the civil war that last for a decade in the country. This war did not only destroy the country but also the lives of the people who have become alienated in their own nation; finding no protection for their lives because of the oppression they have to deal with from foreign elements who come into exploit the diamond resources of the country.

Before the war, my mom used to tell me how beautiful the country was, how people use to come from other countries to come get education, do good businesses, and how tourism has caused many people from other nations to come over for vacation. When she tells me stories like this, it makes me think more about how much better the country could have been without the war. The last war that lasted for a decade which started in 1989 was prolonged a few more years after that. It is because of these circumstances that I lived at least half of my life under the constraints of war.  It is also for this reason that I am not as interested as others are in sharing their life stories as I see mine as a mere blot of ink that has marked my history pitch black.

Although this is the case, I appreciate the fact that this writing activity might bring me into a deeper realization of my role as part of my country and as a supporter of my friends. I hope to bring better lives to my people, however, doing so requires immense effort and serious thinking which I could accomplish through writing down my experiences and reflecting on them through this activity.

One good thing about living in Sierra Leone is being able to mile with foreigners. Even in the middle of the war years, some white people from America and Europe come to visit the country. They use to bring all the children together, walk around with them, and tell them stories of where they from, and even play with the young ones. It is because of these instances that I realized my desire to get out of my country, learn more from outside in foreign nations and embrace a better option of living that is available for me and my family.

Education in Sierra Leone was one of the best in all African counties. During the British regime, education in the country was clearly effective and designed to help the young ones advance academically. However, in the long run, such system has been affected by the war as well. The poverty-stricken communities are almost choice-less when it comes to the education they could get that they even need to transfer to the city just to be able to get good education. As for myself, I attended nursery, kindergarten, and primary school in Sierra Leone. These days were both the best and worst days of my life. Learning in school was fun, but the journey going to school was harsh due to the war years. The two learning shifts make it hard for us to learn as much as well need. It give us only five hours in school every day which means we have to cover as much activities as needed within the given five hours of learning. I really did not like the morning shift because I have to wake up 6 am in the mooring to get ready for school. But my family used to wake up 5 am in the morning to pray, which makes my mom wake us up at 4 am in the morning. This goes on for a long time, and at some point, I have to get used to it; somehow, this attitude helped us a lot during the war years. Most of the time, the rebels are attack in the morning around 3 to 4 am. Most people are sleeping at this time and it makes it easier for them to accomplish their scrupulous missions during the said times. I remember one night when the rebels attacked and I was getting ready for school. The next thing I heard was a big and loud sound and people are screaming at the same time while they are running and calling their family members names. Most people were saying “Dan day cam o” which means “the rebels are coming”.  It took quite some time for tragic nights to end. For several years, we lived in fear for the coming of the rebels and remaining awake at such an early hour helped me and my family to be alert all the time.

Before the war, everything was much easier to handle. No worries loomed our heads and school was really fun. I remember going to school with my friends, walking and talking about what we going to do, what movies we should watch, what kind of games we should play tonight, and how we are going to study. We wear uniforms to school and only black and white shoes and socks. Like any other student, I did not like taking home works so much. It was such a drag for me to spend so much time learning even after school hours. Nevertheless, I know all these works helped me develop further.

Everything changed when I started studying ‘the American way’. Unlike the structured system in Sierra Leone, I had the chance to learn through particularly understanding what we are reading in class. I am able to realize the connection of my lessons to my personal being. I have learned how to academically survive and become more serious about my studies. I began to enjoy every bit of my education as I know the worth it has on me as I embrace a better life in America for me and my family.

The system of learning in America that I hope would be taken into account by the government in Sierra Leone is the provision of good and free education to students all the way through high school and some community colleges. Education is very important especially for individuals who have had to deal with the pressures of war. People need to realize that they have better hopes in life, and embracing such opportunities through getting good education is necessary. Today, only 50% of the students actually finish school all the way to college. It is because of this that only a few individuals get to find good jobs which further increases the poverty level in the country. I believe that with the attention of the government focused on improving educational provisions for the young ones, the country would be able to accomplish better options of living for the people and

Poverty in Sierra Leone makes it harder for people to live, go to school, have food for their family, have jobs, business, and everything else. We all know Sierra Leone is one of the richest countries in the world when it comes to resources, but yet we are one of the poorest countries in the world today because of the war years. War destroys lives and people living in war stricken countries are stripped off from every possibility of living better lives and embracing better options of being satisfied with what they do. This results to the increase of the number of uneducated individuals and increased violence in the country. Poverty makes it really hard for citizens to rely on the government like most people do in America.

In America, the government has social welfare programs that help citizens until they can make it on their own. If Sierra Leone can establish some of these programs, poverty in the land could be controlled accordingly. It is good to hear though that the country fairs better today that it ever did before when it was still under the war era. People are coping with the changes and are trying to deal with poverty in a much positive manner. I expect that in the coming years, more positive changes will come into place and more people would be given a better chance in life.

No, there is no better place than home. Sure, I have had bad experiences in Sierra Leone, but I also have good memories that remind me of what my country is capable of. Like any other individual who was able to see the good years in Sierra Leone, I would like to bring back the prosperity and peace that the country has. However, to do that, I first need to attend to myself, my personal capacities to improve in life for myself and my family. Once I have achieved such accomplishment, then I can face the possibility of engaging in a more remarkable process of helping my countrymen embrace a better life in Sierra Leone. When I come back to my country, I want to be prepared to help my fellowmen, especially the children in giving them the chance to experience the educational provisions I have received here in the United States.

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Writing help, paraphrasing tool, the story of my life.

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Throughout my childhood life, my dream was always to be a medical doctor. Besides, I also prayed so hard that my childhood girlfriend would get married to me and that she would even pursue the same medical course like mine.

During my college life, I got to interact with different people of different races and built the best rapport with them. I also advised my girlfriend to follow the same in her respective college as this would create the best business relation with them in future. My future expectation was to establish the most successful and entrepreneurial cancer center at The Washington DC in partnership with my future wife.

I expected that my love for her would reach that point where we would be married together and be business partners at the same time. On reaching the second level of my college education, we both established a joint cancer treatment foundation at the New York City, which was later known everywhere to be having the best entrepreneurial attributes and skills in managing developing cancer cases. By having such kinds of developments, we were always invited for series of motivational talks in various campuses and colleges.

Besides, my next aim from such exposure was to develop a clinic at the Washington DC when I reached my final year at the college. On reaching my final year, I received some awards for my activities together with my girlfriend, and consequently, we were privileged to get government sponsorship to spread the medical skills to other neighboring states and continents. Similarly, my parents were so much impressed that they always offered me the necessary moral support from my needs. I then graduated from the college a year later with a distinction. I attained a first-class honor in my medical studies while my girlfriend managed equally excellent points that offered us free government sponsored scholarships.

I got engaged in some medical services as I earned while making some savings for my future expectation of having the most admired cancer center at the Washington DC.Usually, all my activities were moving smoothly because I always had the physical and psychological support from my girlfriend. We had loved each other for a very long time since childhood, and hence we had the reason to plan for our future endeavors.

By then we were already engaged, but still, it was a bit early to get married at that tender age since we were at our early 20s.However, during our postgraduate education, I chose to pursue the same medical related course, but my then girlfriend opted for a new field. The field of engineering. At that time, a disparity between us was identified because most the time we were always in different areas of activities except for the weekends when we could gather for refreshment vacations at the nearby beaches.

Still, we were very close, and our partnership with the foundation even grew stronger. Apart from daily educational and commercial activities, every month we both used to visit various places for recreational vacations. Some of the places we visited include Bangkok, Dubai, Mombasa, New York City, Seoul, and London within four years of our engagement. This was an indication of appreciation and love for my childhood “sweetheart.” I also bought her a Mercedes Benz car to appreciate her for giving me her time all those years of our existence.

A year later, our cancer foundation recorded an enormous recognition from various states, and as a result, we received more sponsorships which offered us financial support to help us run it smoothly. At the same time, my girlfriend had a separate engineering firm for herself, which also registered a handsome profit. She had opted to join the engineering school for her postgraduate education program and hence had the upper hand than me to deal with such engineering activities. I had only educational skills in the field of medicine unlike her who developed skills in both the areas, one in the field of medicine during her college level and the engineering skills she attained during her postgraduate studies.As we both reached 30, I proposed to her for an official marriage but she declined to claim that it was still very early to make such decision.

However, we always maintained our engagement as we often went out for dates. During my first date with her, I organized series of entertaining activities, and we both enjoyed. During that same night of our date, I decided to give her engagement ring while getting prepared sooner to get married to her. I moved to a well-decorated mansion at the Washington DC while getting motivated that my dream of having the best-recognized cancer center within the city was edging closer. I was wholly convinced that the time to get married to my long-time girlfriend had equivalently arrived because we had moved together to the mansion as we planned along on the structure, foundation and distinct functions of our future center.

During my second date with her, I noticed that besides my engagement ring, she put on a better one than mine. I did not hesitate to ask her but the answer she gave me almost killed me. She affirmed to me that she had been dating another man from her engineering school and that they had a proliferating joint engineering workshop within the city, which was always known everywhere to be furnishing the items used in the White House.

I got perplexed about the issue as I remained to wonder the kind of heartbreak I had encountered. From losing the love of my life to losing my business partner. To add more pain on the same, she was expecting a baby with the other man. I wondered why she had hidden all that from me for the many occasions we had been together. Those were the most disgusting days of my life as I lost interest in my occupation as well as the love story. Perhaps, in future, I will find someone who loves me unconditionally!!

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A Story Of My Life Essay

The Story of My Life Interesting enough, my life began on a Thursday night, on December 17, 1987 In Atlanta Georgia, where I was delivered at 9. Pm to my mother, Ruth Dye and father, Tony Jiffies. I was the second child for my father and the third for my mother. I Just didn’t know anybody or where I would end up In life after that moment. As I grew up, my life changed at each milestone In a person life. I had a rough and very fun childhood.

Essay Example on Story Of My Life Sample

I remember playing outside with family and friends, eating around the dinner table with my family and sleeping with my grandmother until I was 15 years old. My life was filled with more great memories than the bad, even though lived in poverty stricken neighborhood. My grandmother never once, made it seem that way because she made sure we were fed, bathe and had clean clothes and shoes on our feet.

Even though, neither my mother nor my father was in my life, when I was younger, my father decided to change that when I was 15 years old.

He wanted me to be more than cousins that had three kids on their hips and one on the way. He told me, “If you are ready to leave, you can go with me, right now. ” I was hesitant at first, but I decided this might be my chance to get out of the situation I was In. At that point, my grades had started slipping, I started not to go to school, but I know I TLD want that for myself.

the story of my life essay example

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“ Really polite, and a great writer! Task done as described and better, responded to all my questions promptly too! ”

I took that leap of faith and I went with my dad and the rest Is still writing its story.

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  • How to write a narrative essay | Example & tips

How to Write a Narrative Essay | Example & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay , along with the descriptive essay , allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing .

Table of contents

What is a narrative essay for, choosing a topic, interactive example of a narrative essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about narrative essays.

When assigned a narrative essay, you might find yourself wondering: Why does my teacher want to hear this story? Topics for narrative essays can range from the important to the trivial. Usually the point is not so much the story itself, but the way you tell it.

A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.

These skills are quite different from those needed for formal academic writing. For instance, in a narrative essay the use of the first person (“I”) is encouraged, as is the use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense.

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Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you’re given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with.

  • Write a story about your first day of school.
  • Write a story about your favorite holiday destination.

You may also be given prompts that leave you a much wider choice of topic.

  • Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
  • Write about an achievement you are proud of. What did you accomplish, and how?

In these cases, you might have to think harder to decide what story you want to tell. The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to talk about a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

For example, a trip where everything went according to plan makes for a less interesting story than one where something unexpected happened that you then had to respond to. Choose an experience that might surprise the reader or teach them something.

Narrative essays in college applications

When applying for college , you might be asked to write a narrative essay that expresses something about your personal qualities.

For example, this application prompt from Common App requires you to respond with a narrative essay.

In this context, choose a story that is not only interesting but also expresses the qualities the prompt is looking for—here, resilience and the ability to learn from failure—and frame the story in a way that emphasizes these qualities.

An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

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If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?

The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.

Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.

When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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Mentor texts

Telling Short, Memorable Stories From Your Life: ‘My Secret Pepsi Plot’

An invitation to students to tell a meaningful story in a limited number of words, with an example from The Times’s Lives column to help.

the story of my life essay example

By Katherine Schulten

Our new Mentor Text series spotlights writing from The Times that students can learn from and emulate.

This entry, like several others we are publishing, focuses on an essay from The Times’s long-running Lives column to consider skills prized in narrative writing. We are starting with this genre to help support students participating in our 2020 Personal Narrative Essay Contest .

Our Personal Narrative Essay Contest is inspired by The New York Times’s Lives column, which ran from 1996 to 2017 and featured “short, powerful stories about meaningful life experiences .”

The editor of the column once posted some advice on “How to Write a Lives Essay” to guide those who submitted to the column annually. Much of that advice applies to our contest as well.

For example, several points boil down to reminders to keep it simple, including tips like:

Don’t try to fit your whole life into one “Lives.”

Don’t try to tell the whole story.

Tell a small story — an evocative, particular moment.

Better to start from something very simple that you think is interesting (an incident, a person) and expand upon it, rather than a large idea that you then have to fit into a short essay. For example, start with “the day the Santa Claus in the mall asked me on a date” rather than “the state of affairs that is dating in an older age bracket.”

This advice is similar to advice often given to high school seniors writing college essays : You have only 650 words to show admissions officers something important, interesting or memorable about who you are and what matters to you. A list of awards you’ve won won’t do it, but an engaging story about making brownies with your stepbrother just might.

As you’ll see when you read the texts below, none of them try to tell the whole story of a life, but, instead, illuminate an important aspect of it through focus on one event or moment. Yet that one focus ripples out, and says so much more.

Before You Read

Use the sentence starter below to write for a few minutes about whatever comes to mind. You will return to this writing in the “Now Try This” section.

A moment I’ll never forget from my childhood is …

Mentor Text: ‘ My Secret Pepsi Plot ,’ a 2014 Essay From the Lives Column, by Boris Fishman

This essay describes a memory from when the writer was 10 years old and his family had just immigrated from the Soviet Union to Brooklyn. “In the Soviet Union, we were secretly wealthy, but we arrived in Brooklyn as paupers,” he writes.

Somehow, his family ends up with 24 Pepsi-Colas in their refrigerator. The story of what happens next is Mr. Fishman’s short, powerful story:

Around this time I learned that American supermarkets gave back 5 cents for every returned empty. (Some states, like Michigan, its very name like a granite monument, gave you 10 cents.) I decided I would return those cans and give the money to my parents. My secret — a surprise.

Read the essay, focusing on how Mr. Fishman anchors the whole story in this one goal he had at age 10 — to return the Pepsi cans and get money for them.

As you read, you might trace the structure of the story. What does each paragraph do? What does each add to the telling of this small story?

Then, consider these questions:

How do the first two paragraphs set the stage for the story and give some necessary background?

How does telling this story allow the writer to show readers a particular time and place through the eyes of a new immigrant?

How does he pull you into the action, minute by minute, in the three paragraphs that begin “On Saturday afternoon …”?

How is money a theme throughout, in both stated and implied ways? What other ideas recur?

What is the role of the last paragraph?

Now Try This: Find Your Own Short, Powerful Stories

Look back at the writing you did before reading the mentor text. What is strongest about it? Could it become a short essay like the one you just read? If so, what would you need to do to shape it?

What other small stories — or “evocative, particular moments” — from your life might make wonderful short essays?

In a 2010 lesson plan, “ Going Beyond Cliché: How to Write a Great College Essay ,” we suggest students first make a timeline of their lives, or of one period in their lives, brainstorming at least 20 events, big and small, that were significant to them for any reason.

You might try that, or you can brainstorm answers to this list of prompts — or both:

-A time I took a risk: -A time I learned something about myself: -A memory from childhood I think about often: -Something that happened to me that still makes me laugh: -Something very few people know about me: -Something I regret: -A time when I felt rejected: -Something I am really proud of: -Something that changed the way I think or look at the world: -How I am different from most people I know: -Some of my fears: -A time I felt truly satisfied: -A time I failed at something: -An object I own that tells a lot about me:

Once you’ve chosen a topic, you might try to free-write for 10 minutes or so, asking yourself as you go: What was most interesting or memorable about this? What images come to mind when you think about this topic? Do you picture a person, a scene, a place? Do you hear a conversation or a bit of music? Do you smell, taste or feel something?

Finally, if you are still stuck, we have a list of prompts from our site that can inspire narrative writing . Take a look and see if any of them spark ideas for you.

More Mentor Texts for Telling Short, Memorable Stories

While the entire Lives column is devoted to “short, powerful stories,” the pieces we chose below are especially student-friendly in terms of both their subject matter and the way the writers focus on “an evocative, particular moment.” Below each title, an excerpt from the piece.

“ How Ramen Got Me Through Adolescence ,” a 2014 Lives essay, by Veronique Greenwood

When I was in fifth grade, I developed an intense dislike of eating around other people. The cafeteria was a place of foul odors, gelatinous spills, horrific mixtures of chocolate pudding, fruit cocktail and ketchup consumed on dares, and I found myself fasting from breakfast, at about 6 in the morning, until 3:35, when I walked home through the woods from the bus stop. Each step up our hill, a narrow ridge in rural California, I fantasized about the big bowl of ramen I would make myself when I reached the top.

“ Charmed ," a 2015 Lives essay, by Laila Lalami

‘‘Wait,’’ I said. From my pocket I pulled out a brown suede pouch bearing the name of a little jeweler in Rabat, the kind of place you send your friends to and say, tell him I sent you. In the pouch was a necklace with a silver khamsa — a charm in the shape of an open palm.

“ Montana Soccer-Mom Moment ,” a 2010 essay from the Lives column, by Laura Munson

I live in northwest Montana, and I have a teenager, and my teenager plays sports. That means a lot of driving — over-the-Rocky-Mountains-and-back-in-one-day kind of driving. I think about Meriwether Lewis every time I cross the Continental Divide, usually with sleeping soccer players wearing headphones in the back of my Suburban. I want to say, “Can you imagine everything depending on your horse and your ability to dream of an ocean past the mountains?” But it isn’t worth the eye-rolling.

“ All the Single Ladies ," a 2014 essay from the Lives column, by Jen Doll

“Single ladies to the dance floor!” came the cry, a masculine voice urging us forward. Wedding guests parted, creating a narrow path for the train of unmarried women to parade through in their finery. But we single ladies no longer looked so fine as we had that morning. We were worn and tired, sweat beading down our necks, sand crunching unpleasantly in our shoes, which were wearing raw the backs of our heels. We should have been lying down in cool rooms elsewhere, but the wedding was not over. We were 28. We knew what was next.

“ Working the Reunion ,” a 2008 essay from the Lives column, by ZZ Packer

My residential college always hosted the 45th reunion, one of the most well attended, I suppose because you just might not be around for the 50th. To my eyes, these guys were the picture of old money. Although they may have mastered physics or appraised the sharp beauty of “King Lear” in school, at reunions they reminisced about football glories and practical jokes. I sometimes felt less like a Yale co-ed who happened to be black than a black waitress who happened to be bringing them an extra fork. But after their dinner we reunion workers would drink up all the leftover bottles of wine while cleaning the dining hall.

Related Questions for Any Short, Narrative Essay

What is the one small moment or event this piece focuses on? Why do you think the writer might have chosen it?

What do you learn about the writer and his or her world through this moment or event? How? What lines do this well? What is implied rather than stated?

How is the piece structured? What does each paragraph do? How does each contribute to the story?

Look closely at how the writer tells a complete story in a limited number of words. Where, in terms of time and place, does the story begin? Where does it end? How does the writer weave in necessary background even while keeping the action of the story moving forward?

What else do you notice or admire about this essay? What lessons might it have for your own writing?

College Essays That Worked: See Examples

Experts say a good college essay features a student's voice and personality.

Wide shot of diligent young woman sitting on the living room floor, studying for university and writing homework in her notebook.

Students should know themselves and write authoritatively so they can share a sense of their lives with admissions officers. (Getty Images)

Many college applications require a personal essay, which can be daunting for students to write.

But a few simple tips, some introspection and insight into what admissions officers are looking for can help ease the pressure. U.S. News has compiled several college essay examples that helped students get into school. Shared by admissions staff or referenced from admissions websites, these essays stand out, they say, because the student voices shine, helping the school get to know the applicants.

"Students can get caught in the trap of overthinking it and write the essay that's going to impress the admissions committee," says Andrew Strickler, dean of admission and financial aid at Connecticut College . "The best essays, the ones that really pop, are the ones that come across as authentic and you really hear the student's voice."

The essay gives schools a feel for how a student writes, but it's the content of the essay that matters most, admissions professionals say. In other words, while it's important to showcase sound grammar and writing, it's even more important to showcase your character and personality.

"I care more about their stories than if it is a perfect five paragraph essay," David Graves, interim director of admissions at the University of Georgia , wrote in an email.

Many schools give students a wide range of topics to choose from, which experts say can be beneficial in helping students find their voice.

While you want your voice to be apparent, it's wise to be aware of your tone, says Allen Koh, CEO of Cardinal Education, an admissions consulting company that works with students to craft and revise their college essays. The goal of the essay is to make a strong case for why you’re different from all the other applicants, not necessarily why you’re better, he adds.

"You have to pass the genuine likability test. Sometimes kids are so busy trying to brag or tell their story that they’re forgetting they have to sound like a likable person. That’s a very simple test, but it’s really important."

Good essays tend to be "positively emotional," he says. It's best to avoid using sarcasm because it tends to fail on college essays.

Any humor used "really has to be a very positive, witty humor, not sarcastic," which he says can be hard to pick up on in an essay.

The Perils of Using AI for Essays

Choosing the right tone can be a challenge for many students, but admissions pros encourage them not to take shortcuts to completing their essay.

Though some college professors have embraced artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT in their classrooms, Strickler says he's begun to stress in recent talks with high school audiences the importance of original work and avoiding the use of AI tools like ChatGPT to craft college essays. While it might produce a technically well-written essay and save time, your unique voice will be stripped away, and it may leave a bad impression on admissions offices as well as prevent them from truly getting to know you, he says.

Instead, Graves says, start early and take time to write it yourself, then "actually read it out loud to someone ... to listen to the rhythm and words as they are 'read.'"

Each spring on his admissions blog , Graves shares an enrolling student's essay and why it was strong. The essay excerpted below, shared with the permission of the University of Georgia, uses descriptive word choice and gives the admissions office deep insight into the student's life, their love for writing and their connection to their family, Graves says.

It was chosen as an example "to show our applicant pool how to express themselves through similes, sensory language (words that capture the senses of the reader), and emotion," Graves wrote on the blog.

Here's how the essay opened:

If you asked me what object I’d save in a burning fire, I’d save my notebook. My notebook isn’t just any notebook, it’s bubble gum pink with purple tie dye swirls, and has gold coil binding it together. But more importantly, it’s the key that unlocked my superpower, sending me soaring into the sky, flying high above any problems that could ever catch me. However, my notebook is simply the key. My real power rests in the depths of my mind, in my passion for writing. But to know how my powers came to be (not from a spider or a special rock), I must travel back to the first spark.
Four years ago, I wrote my first 6-word memoir in my eighth-grade rhetoric class. Inspired by my father’s recently diagnosed terminal illness, I wrote “Take his words, don’t take him”. It was as if all the energy of my powers surged into six meaningful words meant to honor the man that I would soon lose to a villain known as ALS. This was the first time I felt my writing. Three years ago, my dad’s disease severely progressed. The ALS seized his ability to speak and locked it in a tower with no key. The only way we could communicate was with an old spiral notebook. ...

The essay counted down each year ("three years ago," "two years ago," etc.) and concluded with this paragraph:

One month ago, I needed my powers more than ever before. I needed them to convey who I truly am for the chance at the future of my dreams as a writer. Except this time, I didn’t need the key because my powers grew into fruition. Instead, I opened my laptop only to type out one sentence… “If you asked me what object to save in a burning fire, I’d save my notebook.”

This style of storytelling, which shows not just the triumph at the end but also the conflict, struggle and evolution in between, makes for great essays, Koh says.

"The student also used an intriguing timeline (counting down years and month) to tell their story, and showed how she had grown," Graves says.

This next essay, by an anonymous writer and shared on Connecticut College 's admissions page , "manages to capture multiple aspects of the writer's personality, while not becoming overly cluttered or confusing," writes Susanna Matthews, associate director of admission at the school.

Every person who truly knows me believes that I was born in the wrong century. They call me "an old soul" because I'm a collector, attracted to books, antiques, vinyl records and anything from the 80's. But they also think I am unique in other ways. I believe it is because of the meaningful connections to my two languages and two cultures.
When we moved into our first American house, I was excited to decorate my new room. The first thing I knew I needed was a place to organize my most cherished possessions I have collected throughout my life. I searched and finally found a bookshelf with twenty-five thick sections that I could build and organize alphabetically ... Each shelf holds important objects from different parts of my life. ...
These books are a strong connection to my Brazilian heritage. They also remind me of the time when I was growing up in Brazil, as a member of a large Italian-Brazilian family.

The writer continues on, describing the types of books on each shelf, from Harry Potter to books used to learn English. They describe the bottom of the bookshelf housing some of their most prized possessions, like an old typewriter their grandfather gave them. They wonder about the words it has crafted and stories it has told.

As I grab my favorite Elvis vinyl to play, I can only wonder about the next chapter of my life. I look forward to adding new books, new friends, and a wide variety of experiences to my bookshelf.

"By placing one subject (the bookshelf) at the center of the piece, it lends some flexibility to layer in much more detail than if they had tried to discuss a few different interests in the essay," Matthews writes. "You learn a lot about the person, in a way that isn't in your face – a great thing when trying to write a personal essay."

Some colleges require a supplemental essay in addition to the personal statement. Typically, admissions pros note, these essays are shorter and focus on answering a specific question posed by the college.

The University of Chicago in Illinois allows students to submit essay prompts as inspiration for the admissions office and gives students some latitude in how they answer them. Essay prompts range from questions about the school itself to asking students to pick a question from a song title or lyric and give their best shot at answering it.

"We think of them as an opportunity for students to tell us about themselves, their tastes, and their ambitions," the school's admissions website reads. "They can be approached with utter seriousness, complete fancy, or something in between."

While the University of Chicago says there is no strict word limit on its supplemental essays, other schools prefer brevity. For example, Stanford University in California asks students to answer several short questions, with a 50-word limit, in addition to answering three essay questions in 100 to 250 words.

Georgia asks for a school-specific supplemental essay that's 200-300 words in addition to a 250- to 650-word personal essay.

"Sometimes a shorter essay response is not as polished an essay, but instead is a more casual, more relaxed essay," Graves says. "In addition, sometimes a student needs to get to the point or be concise, and this helps see if they can give us their story without overdoing it."

Other schools allow for a little more creativity in how the supplemental essay questions are answered. Babson College in Massachusetts, for example, gives students a 500-word limit to answer a prompt, or they can choose to submit a one-minute video about why they chose to apply to the school.

One student, Gabrielle Alias, chose to film a "day-in-the-life" video , which she narrated to answer the prompt, "Who Am I?"

"Visiting campus twice, I know I could see myself as one of the many interesting, innovative, and enticing students that come out of Babson," she says in the video. "But who am I you ask? I am a student. I am a reader. I am a researcher. I am a music lover. ... I am Gabrielle Alias and I am excited for who I will be as a graduate of Babson."

An essay by Babson student Bessie Shiroki, seen below, describes her experience in the school's admissions office and how she immediately felt comfortable.

I immediately smiled at the sight of my favorite board game. Babsonopoly. I love the combination of strategy and luck in this traditional family pastime. Seeing this on the wall in the admissions office gave me immediate comfort; I knew I was home.

Shiroki describes what she felt set Babson College apart from other schools, such as being surrounded by "sophisticated and mature individuals" and a tight-knit, entrepreneurial environment that would help her reach her career goals.

It is natural for me to be in a small class where more than one language is spoken. I am accustomed to discussions with diverse viewpoints, open minds, and where differences are seen as advantages. I embrace my cultural uniqueness, and I will add my voice to the community. I can’t imagine not continuing this in college.

She notes that as she toured the campus and saw students studying, she could see herself as one of them, feeding off of their studious and entrepreneurial energy. She mentions that Babson's Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship class got her attention immediately and she saw it as a launch pad for a future that included running a business.

Babson recognizes the potential of their students, and FME is a great way for young entrepreneurs like me to find our place in the business world and learn from our mistakes. I am capable of this challenge and will conquer it with tenacity. I will bring my dedication, commitment, and innovative skills to Babson College.
Now it’s my turn to pass go and collect my Babson acceptance letter. I’ve found my next challenge.

Babson College offers several tips for what make good essays, including a strong "hook" to engage the reader from the start and a topic that allows you to share something that's not as obvious on your application.

When it comes to writing a college admissions essay – whether personal or supplemental – experts advise students to follow these rules:

  • Find your voice.
  • Write about a topic that matters to you.
  • Share your personality.
  • Express yourself.
  • Proofread extensively.

With both traditional essays and supplemental essays, Koh says it's best to write long and work with someone you trust to edit it down. Teachers, friends and parents can all be helpful proofreaders, but experts note that the student voice should remain intact.

A good editor can help edit a long essay to keep the main message but with fewer words. “If I see 400 words, I know I’m a dozen drafts away from getting it to 650,” he says. “If I see 1200 words, we might just be one or two away. It’s at least going to be a shorter haul.”

Strickler encourages students not to stress too much over the essay or put unnecessary weight on it as part of their college application . While a strong essay helps, he says, it doesn't make or break an application.

"There's this sense that you write the most amazing essay and it gets you over the top because it opens the door to the pathway to the Magic Kingdom," he says. "But it's just one piece of a myriad of pieces that allow us to get to know a particular student and help us figure out if they're a good fit and how they're going to contribute to our community."

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The Story of My Life Essay Example

Honestly, I wish my teacher knew nothing or didn’t have to know anything. I love to remain a mystery to people who I am not very familiar with, however since this is an assignment I would like to get a proficient grade on I will complete it to the best of my ability. Which brings me to the first thing that you need to know about me. Throughout my life, I have seen many people throw away their future, which seemed very bright. These decisions have affected me personally. Therefore I always strive to be the best academic student I can be in hopes that I will not turn out the same as some people around me and in my family. Sometimes, I want to be too perfect and get very upset when I fail. One time I took a math test over a lesson that I might not have worked very hard on or didn’t understand. Long story short, I failed. As you can imagine I was completely devastated. I had gotten a lower grade than anticipated and I cried. My perfectionistic personality trait is both a blessing and a curse for me. A blessing is that it helps me see my potential and sometimes even live up to my potential, and it is a curse based on the fact that when I fail I am sometimes too hard on myself.  

When describing my home life to the majority of people I meet, it is almost always a perfect life. My parents are great, all of my siblings are successful, I am always doing wonderful, and lots of other idealistic statements that are mostly far from the truth. The truth of the matter is that I do not have a perfect home life or anything close to that. I will say that my family is broken just like any other family but we are good at covering it up. My family looking in from the outside might look like a dream to many people. Inside it, there is much pain and suffering. I struggle with my family a great deal because I am most of the time the mediator between people that are arguing or sometimes I am perceived to be the perfect child of the family even though I am far from that. At times all of these things can get very stressful. I am the type of person that won't talk about things that stress me out until it’s too late and I have directed my anger and sadness towards a person or something in my room. I will say that I still do love and am very thankful for my family because they have shaped me into who I need to be.

In my family, we all love to play sports. I play basketball along with my older brother, and one of my older sisters. My other older sister stopped playing basketball in eighth grade and switched to volleyball. I tried playing volleyball for two years but it just was not my favorite. For some reason, basketball has been really the only sport I have stuck with. It is hard for me to play because I am constantly being compared to my older sister Priscilla. She is a senior now and going to a division-1 school to play basketball. That is my goal one day for the future but since I have not reached that yet I am constantly criticized for not being as good as my sister. At times, this can be very frustrating for me because I still have four years to get better than her, but all people see is we both are sisters so we should both play exactly the same. I also sometimes as though I am in her shadow, seen as the “little sister”. If I keep working hard and staying focused I know that one day I will be better than my sister and be seen as myself, not just someone's sister. 

This paper was not as painful to write as I thought it would be, so I am glad that we had this assignment. All of the aspects of my life that I discussed are a part of me and have shaped me into the person I am. I look forward to this class and what you have planned for us.

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the story of my life essay example

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The Story of My Life

By helen keller.

  • The Story of My Life Summary

Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in the small town of Tuscumbia, Alabama. When she was a year old, she was stricken with an illness that left her without sight or hearing. In the early years after her illness, it was difficult for her to communicate, even with her family; she lived her life entirely in the dark, often angry and frustrated with the fact that no one could understand her. Everything changed in March of 1887, when Helen's teacher, Anne Sullivan , came to live with the family in Alabama and turned Helen's world around.

Miss Sullivan taught Helen the names of objects by giving them to her and then spelling out the letters of their name in her hand. Helen learned to spell these words through imitation, without understanding what she was doing, but eventually had a breakthrough and realized that everything had a name, and that Miss Sullivan was teaching them to her. From this point on, Helen acquired language rapidly; she particularly enjoyed learning out in nature, where she and her teacher would take walks and she would ask questions about her surroundings. Soon after this, Helen learned how to read; Miss Sullivan taught her this by giving her strips of cardboard with raised letters on them, and then having her act out the sentence with objects. Soon, Helen could read entire books.

In May 1888, Helen went north to visit Boston with her mother and teacher. She spent some time studying at the Perkins Institute for the Blind, and quickly befriended the other blind girls who were her age. They spent a vacation at Brewster in Cape Cod, where Helen experienced the ocean for the first time. Following this, they spent nearly every winter up north.

Once she had learned to read, Helen was determined next to learn how to speak. Her teacher and many others believed it would be impossible for her to ever speak normally, but she resolved to reach that point. Miss Sullivan took her to the Horace Mann School in 1890 to begin learning with Miss Sarah Fuller , and Helen learned by feeling the position of Miss Fuller's lips and tongue when she spoke. The moment she spoke her first words, "It is warm," was a powerful memory for her: she was thrilled that she might be able to speak to her family and friends at last.

The winter of 1892 was a troubling time for Helen. Seemingly inspired by the beautiful fall foliage around her, she wrote a story called "The Frost King," and sent it up to her teacher at the Perkins Institute as a gift. It soon came out that Helen's story was quite like another in a published book, called "The Frost Fairies." Helen had been read the original story as a child, and the words had remained so ingrained in her mind that she'd unwittingly plagiarized them when she wrote her own story. This tainted Helen's relationship with her Perkins Institute teacher, Mr. Anagnos , and made her distrust her own mind and the originality of her thoughts for a long time.

In 1894 Helen attended the Wright-Humanson School for the Deaf in New York City, and began studying formal subjects like history, Latin, French, German, and arithmetic. In 1896, she began her studies at the Cambridge School for Young Ladies in Massachusetts, which would prepare her to eventually attend Radcliffe College, the women's college affiliated with Harvard University. This was her first time attending school with girls who could see or hear, rather than other students who were also deaf or blind. Though it was a challenge, she persevered; however, her mother eventually withdrew her from the Cambridge School to finish her Radcliffe preparation with a private tutor, because they did not agree with the Cambridge School principal's wish to lighten Helen's course load. She successfully qualified for Radcliffe in 1899, and entered college in the fall of 1900. Though college presented unique obstacles for Helen to overcome, she deeply appreciated her opportunity to attend.

Helen uses the final chapters of her memoir to discuss certain things that are particularly important to her, like her love of books, her favorite pastimes, and the friends she made who shaped her life. Two additional sections of the autobiography include Helen's personal letters written throughout her youth, as well as supplementary commentary by her editor, with a first-hand account by Helen's teacher, Anne Sullivan.

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The Story of My Life Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for The Story of My Life is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

I'm sorry, I do not have access to the prompts your teacher hands out in class.

What was the singular coincidence that the narrator talks about?

One of Helen Keller's ancestors was a teacher of the deaf and wrote a book on the education of the deaf, a coincidence, as Helen was both blind and deaf. The family on my father's side is descended from Caspar Keller, a native of Switzerland, who...

How many pages is this book?

This really depends on the publication of the book you have. Different publications have different number of pages.

Study Guide for The Story of My Life

The Story of My Life study guide contains a biography of Helen Keller, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About The Story of My Life
  • Character List

Lesson Plan for The Story of My Life

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Common Core Standards
  • Introduction to The Story of My Life
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
  • Notes to the Teacher
  • Related Links
  • The Story of My Life Bibliography

Wikipedia Entries for The Story of My Life

  • Introduction
  • Publication history

the story of my life essay example

About My Life Essay Example

Personal narrative essays are often a part of the student’s assignments that professors ask their students to write. The most important reason for assigning such essays to the students is to develop their analytical and self-reflection skills. Mostly these personal narrative essays are based upon the life experiences of a person like narrative essay about my life could be an example of it. Here is a sample narrative essay about my life that students can consider for writing a similar type of essay writing assignment work by their professors.

  • Essay Sample on My Life
  • Introduction of My Life Essay
  • My Love for Animals and Books
  • People of my Surrounding
  • Travel Experiences and Travelogues

Essay Sample on My Life

Introduction of My Life Essay I have been a keen learner towards new things from my very childhood; it recalls the memories about the way I used to manage my books appropriately from a very little age. As time passes I also realized the importance of many other things that surrounds me apart from my books. Then it came the time when I have to depart my home from higher education to pursue my graduate degree at Stanford College. At that time I was totally amused with the world outside my books where people are interacting with each other for ages. Then in the same year, an epiphany moment happened to me when I found my second love after books that are for the Animals. I used to communicate with them for hours and hours and tried to understand their emotions. This was the turning point of my life that raised my love for Animals to a huge account. After my College get completed a teaching job becomes a golden opportunity for me that I wanted to pursue from my childhood. It was like a dream comes true. This is how I spent the stage of my life till now and I am still a teacher giving education to the students. Main Body of My Life Essay My Love for Animals and Books I was very oblivious towards my love for the animals and my books they were the most important and inseparable part of my life. I still remember how my entire pocket money during college days went to feed the Animals in my surrounding. I never skip a day to spend my time with those loyal creatures and find it very relieving to talk with them. Books were also my all-time companion from childhood and whenever I used to travel the only thing that I did is to read and read for hours and days. I was very much inspired by the great essayist Francis Bacon that “Some books to be tasted, others to be chewed while there are some that must be chewed and digested”. This was also a reason that why I was too affectionate towards the books from a little age. Even today I cannot spend a single day without my books. I think everyone should have a crush on them as they keep us moving forward without asking for much investment. It could be a small investment that can turn up into a huge profit throughout your life. Buy Customized Essay on Story of my life At Cheapest Price Order Now People of my Surrounding The people who matter a lot in my surroundings were my parent and siblings who always acted as catalysts towards my success to become a good teacher. My mother always supported me emotionally whenever I went through the trials and tribulations of emotions during my teenage. My father never makes me feel in scarcity of money and that is how I always managed to purchase both cheap and expensive books. Money never blocked my way of loving books more and more. Most of the books were based on literature like Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy are my favorite author along with Mark Twain. I can never forget the novel Huckleberry Finn throughout my life. My siblings, two elder sisters were always there in my bad times and I shared all my problems with them in my bad phase of life. Travel Experiences and Travelogues I also love to travel for days, months, and years and to write my travelogues is the hobby that only arises in me after I started going through international tours. So far I have written many travelogues based upon my tours to the different destinations of the world. This was the entire journey of my life till now. See Also: Someone Who Has Impacted Your Life Essay Example For Free Conclusion This is how I explored the story of my life till now and hope that my compassion for Animals and my books always remain the same. I have heard somewhere that libraries and bicycles are always good for the people as they keep us progressive without asking for any kind of investment. I am very much deep in this belief and that is why my love for books and animals rises every day. Hire USA Experts for Story of my life Essay Order Now

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  1. The Story of My Life

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  15. The Story of My Life Summary

    The Story of My Life Summary. Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880 in the small town of Tuscumbia, Alabama. When she was a year old, she was stricken with an illness that left her without sight or hearing. In the early years after her illness, it was difficult for her to communicate, even with her family; she lived her life entirely in the ...

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