Personal Literacy Narrative Essays Written

Victoria Fontana
Engl 703 – 01
Literacy Narrative – draft #1
Professor Kevin Ferguson
February, 2012

“Do the best you can” were the words I heard growing up, at home and in grade school. Friendly little words I never minded to hear. I had earned As and Bs in high school English classes and teachers seemed to be pleased with my work. I truly believed I was doing the best I could. In fact, I considered myself an excellent student and writer; I worked hard. Therefore, teachers awarded me with praise. I had caring teachers and my education at an award winning high school, in an upper-middle class neighborhood, was top notch; I thought that I was one of the lucky ones.

This I believed until freshman year of college. One morning, during Literary History II, Dr. Hugh handed me back my first essay. It was flooded in a sea of blue ink, from top to bottom, and branded with a blinding ‘F.’ I sat feeling defeated, angry, and I fought back tears. After class, in a huff, I went over to discuss the grade. I fantasized shoving desks and stamping heavily along the path. Inflammatory thoughts flooded my mind: “How dare he,” “I hate him,” “Why blue ink and not red?” No other teacher had ever criticized my work; not to this extent. The F sneered and snickered, his explanation slapped. Dr. Hugh took one long look at me. I didn’t have to say a word. “You can do better and you will do better,” he said. I just stared at him, confused. For the first time, I was being told that I was not as great as I believed to be. This was the first time a teacher gave me a push. Unlike teachers past, he seemed to relish the challenge of saying what others found difficult to articulate. He addressed, explained and offered suggestions to my writing errors. I discovered that I was an incredibly weak writer and reader; I lacked basic skills that were expected among college students. Somehow I slipped through the cracks in grade school. It seems to me that I went to school but was not necessarily educated. I had been one of the kids who made it through school as if traveling on a “conveyor belt” in a system where children are put in at one end and come out neatly packaged with a shiny cap and gown at the other.

That day was a great turning point in my education. I was no longer satisfied by doing the “best I can” because I learned that my work was not good enough. I needed to be better. I was determined to get an ‘A.’

I had so much progress to make and it was difficult to know where to begin. It took almost my entire college career to expose the mistakes I needed to fix and to shed many of my poor literacy habits. I had to fail many times in order to finally win. Unfortunately, not every professor was like Dr. Hugh, who was not afraid to unveil the truth. I could only learn from the mistakes I knew I was making. Dr. Hugh helped me become aware of every next opportunity presented to me.

During freshman year, my experiences in “Introduction to Shakespeare” helped me discover that my writing lacked focus and I wrote weak prose. Daunted by the Middle English language barrier, I was uniquely challenged but determined to succeed. The class was large, the professor, head of the English department, had little time to teach basic writing. He did, however, have plenty of time to offer criticism! The semester ended quickly but I managed to turn the ‘D’s and ‘C’s I earned into ‘B’s in the end. I felt I was on my way.

Expository Writing, during first semester sophomore year, presented a new set of challenges. Although I cleaned up the messy prose, challenges existed in the exciting world of opportunity that opened up for me. Not bound by novels or textbooks, I could write about whatever I desired. I had infinite topic choices at my fingertips; I was really, truly focusing – on everything I could think of all at the same time. I finally chose to discuss the many prophecies of Nostradamus. A five-page essay assignment turned into ten pages, and counting. I only stopped when I realized there was no end in sight. This opportunity forced me to discover the importance of an outline. I didn’t earn an ‘A’, yet I still believed I was on my way.

Literary History I, during second semester sophomore year, helped me shed light on my critical thinking skills. I learned valuable lessons on giving and taking. Lesson #1: After discovering that the professor is not open minded, figure out his theory and critique style, and give him what he wants. Don’t argue. Lesson #2: Take the grade and run – never choose this professor again. I earned ‘C’s and ‘D’s and, finally, when I learned my lessons, some ‘B’s helped raised my final grade. Almost the entire semester went by before I learned to bend without breaking.

During junior year, my confidence was growing. Learning opportunities abounded. Writing for the school newspaper helped me hone research skills. I had written an article on the many benefits of drinking coffee. Although the writing was solid, it was poorly researched; peers blasted me. I dove into a pool of hungry critics, and came up barely breathing. But I was not ready to give up.

Literary Criticism, senior year: Friends who studied English complained how difficult the class would be – they warned that the professor rarely gave ‘B’s, let alone an ‘A’. She would be tough, but I was ready for the challenge. I appreciated her teaching style, her attention to students, and her desire to see them succeed. She was truly focused on teaching writing. Some of the most valuable lessons I learned were ones I picked up among the critiques shared during peer writing groups. Reading other student’s work and hearing feedback allowed me to adopt good writing skills and helped me incorporate what I learned into the design of my own writing style. It all paid off – I truly earned that ‘A’!

My experiences with education duality, of losses and wins, allow me to greatly appreciate my literacy skills today. As a result of the constructive critism I was given in college, I gained an ability to critique myself and reevaluate what I am doing. I wish I could have learned the lesson before college; nevertheless I learned a valuable one. Not all students may be so lucky in the end. Personality, confidence, guidance, and support – they all factor in as well. I am uniquely positioned to fix what is wrong because of an innate “take charge” aspect to my personality. Many good teachers have this special quality.

Good teachers also take the time to educate; not send students on the “conveyer belt” to be sent into the world, unprepared. These teachers critique and share lessons with students that teach them to develop skills; there is always room for improvement. Praising students too often may create a false sense of accomplishment. Sometimes a student needs to hear the bitter truth. Good teachers lack fear; sometimes indirectly bruising a student’s ego will invigorate the spirit and inspire personal growth.

Dr. Hugh’s fearlessness had a great effect on my literacy skills today. Though I am still growing and learning to be a better writer, I think he would be proud of my progress. That day, I did ask Dr. Hugh why he used blue ink. He felt red was too traumatizing to students. Blue is somehow pacifying. What he did not realize is that in any color, an ‘F’ is an ‘F.’

Why is it important to come up with good narrative essay writing topics?

In most occasions, when students have a task to write a narrative essay, they chose between two options: to use the topic that their tutor proposed or to come up with their own topic. The success of topic choice determines the success of the whole essay. In the event that you cannot do it yourself, college essay help from the best writers you can find here.

No matter what piece of writing you are assigned at your institution, the complete paper must be interesting to read. More important is to choose an essay topic that you will be interested in writing with passion. A narrative essay writing is the only genre of academic writing that allows the writer to expand his imagination and creativity on the fullest. While writing this type of essay you can omit strict structure regulations. That is why students like this essay sub-genre the most.

But the freedom of choice can become a challenge for essay writers. When you are allowed to write anything from your experience, you can stuck on idea deficiency. Some students use the first idea that comes in their head and work on it, but the result is not successful. Because the narrative essay topic must both be appealing to you can interesting to the audience who will read it. So, to give you the basis for topic consideration we provide a list of best ideas for narrative essays. They are organized in subtopics for your convenience. We also give a brief description of each subtopic the make you clearly realize what to write.

Narrative essay topic ideas

1. Experience

Typically, an aim of the narrative essay is to teach you how to tell about your experiences in a literary manner. So, to write a good essay you have to brainstorm all thoughts concerning your life experiences. It can be both negative and positive examples. Try to describe them in as many details as possible to attract readers attention.

View All Essay Examples on Life Experience

2. Childhood

A childhood is a period of bright impressions and first experiences. As children are naive and sincere, they have a tendency to get involved in ridiculous situations. We are sure that you have something interesting to tell about your childhood years. Let the next topic ideas call your memories of situations from childhood that can make a good basis for your narrative essay writing. 

View All Essay Examples on Childhood Memory

3. School years

The school is a path to the adulthood. A person gets essential knowledge and experience there. School years present challenges that contribute to the development of personality. Your school experience and the challenges you overcame are unique. That is why if you write about studying at a school in your narrative essay you have a chance to be original.

View All Essay Examples on School

 4. Relationships

The life of every person is closely connected with relationships. Everybody has personal memories of family, friends and beloved people. Your story about them will always have a private character, so if you are asked to write a narrative essay, relationships is an eternal source of unique ideas. 

View All Essay Examples on Relationships

5. Morality

In every country, people obey legal laws. But there are other laws that regulate people's lives on a larger scale. They are laws of ethics and morality. Morality has an array of unsolved issues, the solution on which usually presents a choice. Either to do something and keep to rules of ethics, or do the opposite and violate these rules. Essay morality topics are a successful choice because they are always of immediate interest.

View All Essay Examples on Morality

7. Interests

Your interests determine the manner of everything that you create. Usually, the sphere of personal interests consists of hobbies and things that attract the person. To write a narrative essay about your interests ask yourself “What do I enjoy doing?” , “What music do I like to listen”, “How do I prefer to spend my free time?”. It is one of the topics about which you can write with passion. Mind that people enjoy reading texts written passionately.

8. Traveling

View All Essay Examples on Travel

Every spot in the world has a story. When you have a trip, the very stage of it is filled with impressions. No matter how many times people visited the seaside or mountains. You have your own journey and you have impressions of it. Why not share it with your readers? Narrative essay format allows you to write even the second Odyssey. Briefly, of course.

9. Student life

Life in college differs from school years. It is more adventurous and enriched with impressions. You are introduced to new people, subjects, a system of education and living conditions. So, it is a great basis for various epic stories! Starting from situations that happen particularly in college and life twists that tend to occur only during the student years. Student years are considered to be the best in the lifetime, why not to write about them in your narrative essay?

10. Imagine if…

In narrative essay topic that starts with the words “Imagine If...” usually require creating a story that is possible from your point of view in future. This subtopic is one of the most popular among the students. Because it allows them to make up everything they wish. The entire freedom of imagination!

I have chosen the topic for my narrative essay. What's next?

After the moment you found the most appealing topic for your writing, you must study carefully the instructions from your institution. Be aware of the size it has to be and start writing the narrative essay outline. Also, check out next writing tips, that will ease the writing process.

Tips on narrative essay writing:

1. Focus on specific details that are essential to cover the topic. Try to avoid mentioning irrelevant for the topic information.

2. Do not lie or embellish facts. Dig deep into your experience. Readers value the sincerity.

3. Connect your ideas. Use transition words to make your text coherent and easy to read.

4. Do not omit the conclusion. No matter what your topic is, you write a narrative essay to state what did you get from the experience.

5. Write in such a manner, that you will be interested to read it. If you won't like reading it, the text does not worth the attention of the audience.

6. See the limits of your writing. It is obvious that you can tell much about your experience, but you must not overload the reader with information.

7. Be creative. In the narrative essay, you can write in the first person and use different stylistic devices.

8. Follow instructions of your tutor attentively. Because even being a flexible writing genre, the narrative essay needs to be written according to stated patterns.

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