Ms. Gokturk

Advanced Composition


Personal Narrative #2:  Personal Philosophy Essay


You’ve done a nice job with your journals and first essay.  Perhaps you are thrilled with your topic, perhaps not.  The first essay usually creates stress.  What is my point?  What do I want to reveal?  While you are still in the mode, you will write a second essay which reveals your personal philosophy. This type of essay focuses on your values and beliefs, as opposed to biographical information and life experiences; however, your life experiences can illustrate your philosophy and/or how it became your philosophy.


YOUR TASK: Write an 850-1000 word essay that explores your basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes.  Simply asked, what is your approach to living your life? Write an essay that proves it.


To define your personal philosophy, answer six key questions before you select your essay topic:


1.       What do you get up each and every morning wanting to do?

2.      What directs your actions and decisions, especially the impulsive ones?

3.      What gives you a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day?

4.      What feeling is in the core of your soul that you know to be self-evident?

5.      Why are your beliefs important to you?

6.      How does your philosophy measure up to higher standards or ideals?


[From Thin Difference,]


Once you’ve identified your personal philosophy, how will you reveal it? You may use prompts from the first essay to help you structure your philosophy essay:


1.      Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

2.      Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

3.      Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

  1. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  2. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  3. Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  4. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal,  that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.