By Friday, November 14, 2014, students are required to post a short (1,000 word or less) personal essay inspired by a quotation from The Education of Henry Adams (1918) and titled, “My Education, So Far.” The goal of this assignment is to use some idea from Adams as a starting point for a reflective essay about some key aspect of your education so far. No outside research is required, but students should attempt to narrate or analyze in engaging fashion an experience, or set of experiences that help reveal something important about what they have (or haven’t) learned to prepare them for the world ahead.
- All posts should begin with an epigraph (or striking quotation) from The Education of Henry Adams. The full meaning of that epigraph as an inspiration for your essay might not be apparent until the very last line of your post, but nonetheless, this epigraph should illustrate the organizing principle of your effort.
- You can write your post in the first-person, or if you choose, you can also adopt the third-person style that Henry Adams employed in his memoir. Regardless, however, you should aspire to convey a strong sense of your own voice. Personal essay writing is different than academic writing. It is more revealing about your attitudes and opinions.
- The topic you choose is wide open, but keep in mind your audience. This essay will be considered for a collection of essays inspired by Henry Adams and which will address the challenges of 21st century education. You can define such “education” broadly, as Adams does, and not limit yourself to classroom experiences (whether K-12 or undergraduate), but you should definitely write with an audience of fellow students and teachers in mind.
- The best posts will offer original ideas in clear, effective prose. Keep in mind the following guidelines:
- Word choice –work diligently to find the right words which convey your exact meaning
- Sentence structure –revise your prose so that your sentences fit together well and thus create an engaging rhythm. That means you will need to vary your sentence structure, making sure to punctuate your prose with short memorable statements.
- Paragraph coherence –Although you are not making an academic argument in this essay, you are offering an interpretation. Make sure your ideas have coherence, and that each paragraph adds new weight to your overall objective.
- Try to write as vividly and honestly as you can, but remember that this essay might eventually be shared online. In other words, try not to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Late posts will be penalized 5 points per day.