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How to Write a Personal History

23 Mar 2016
How to Write a Personal History

How to Write a Personal History
Create a personal history time line. Start with the basic facts, including your name, where you grew up, how many siblings you have, your faith and ethnicity, and how old you were when you made a significant move or experienced memorable events

. •Pinpoint interesting life themes to highlight your character. Achieve this by brainstorming either alone or with others who know you well. Identify specific life challenges. Think of life events and issues that caused you pain or frustration. Dealing with a learning disability as a child, escaping a political revolution and dealing with racism are a few examples.

•Make a list of your life triumphs. These are successes that you experienced through hard work, good fortune or sheer luck. Being awarded an academic award in high school, leading your basketball team to the championships or winning a large amount of money are examples.

•Review both lists to identify interesting stories or examples of transformation. For example, maybe you dealt with a learning disability in childhood, but diligently overcame it and graduated high school with honors. Organize your personal history. Depending on who will be reading it and the required format, decide if you will present your history in a chronological or theme-based format.

•Use a chronological format to emphasize a sequence of events. If your personal history involved a series of significant events that must be told in order, use a chronological format. Start with your childhood experiences.

•Focus on a thematic format to emphasize specific interests or life lessons. For example, if you are applying to a university program in conflict resolution, focus on the aspects of your personal history that illustrate your interest in resolving conflicts. Share life stories or events that have shaped who you are and motivated you to study this subject. Write your personal history.

•Begin with an interesting introduction. Avoid statements such as, “My name is�” You might begin with a statement about the particular job or school to which you are applying and your relationship to the particular subject of study or type of job.

•Use the challenges, triumphs and themes you identified. Elaborate on each of these aspects of your life by sharing personal stories, ideas, opinions, life events and other observations to give the reader a window into who you are, what is important to you, what you’ve learned in life and what you hope to continue to achieve.

•Conclude your personal history. Write a paragraph that summarizes the main themes and lessons of your life, and ties them to your ultimate reason for writing your personal history. For example, maybe you experienced an economically challenging childhood and feel that a degree in business will help you to create economic self-sufficiency for yourself and your family. Read your personal history. Set it aside for a day or two and read it again. Ask those who are familiar with your life story and character to read it. Also ask people who do not know you well to read it to make sure that it is clear and effective

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