Personal Essays By Teenagers

And there are apps you can use to make doing that easier.Read “How Keeping a Diary Can Surprise You” to learn more — and check out what other teenagers told us back in 2011 when we asked, Do You Keep a Diary or Journal? Go back, read over what you wrote, look for patterns and think about what these “personal stories” reveal about you.And since we’ve linked to but a fraction of the thousands of engaging personal pieces published in the paper over the years, we also invite you to add your own suggestions in the comments.

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Back in 2011, we ran a contest that invited students to Use Opening Lines From the Magazine’s ‘Lives’ Column as Writing Prompts.

Contestants were allowed to write stories, essays, plays, memoirs or poetry, and could use lines like these: After you look at the full list of first lines, jump over to read the work of our winners, and see how they took first sentences like “I am parked in a rental car in front of the house where I grew up,” and made them their own.

But did you know that also regularly features personal writing on everything from love and family to life on campus, how we relate to animals, living with disabilities and navigating anxiety?

In this post we suggest several ways to inspire your students’ own personal writing, using Times models as “mentor texts,” and advice from our writers on everything from avoiding “zombie nouns” to writing “dangerous” college essays.

”Our lesson plan, Getting Personal: Writing College Essays for the Common Application, helps students explore the open-ended prompts on the Common Application, then analyze Times pieces that might serve as models for their own application essays.

For example, take this prompt: “• “A Rat’s Tale”: A writer discusses her failure to be the sister her brother wanted and what she learned.• “Pancake Chronicles”: An entertaining account of a disastrous first job.• “A Heartbroken Temp at Brides.com”: After a groom changes his mind, his would-be bride, with “no money, no apartment, no job” takes a position at a wedding website.

Does it surprise you to realize this essay was written in 2010?

Do you think his observations are even more true today?

Around Valentine’s Day that same year, we invited students to use first lines from the weekly Modern Love column as “passion prompts,” and that time we showed them how to take the basic idea from the essay and adapt it for themselves: Scroll through the feature, and either follow the prompts we suggest, or use any of the images that catch your interest to write whatever you like. What personal connection to the content can you make?

What stories from your own life does it remind you of? • Lens, a Times site for photography, video and photojournalism• The Lively Morgue, a Tumblr of images from the Times archives• Looking at Our Hometowns, a 2013 Lens project that asked, “What would happen if you asked high school students to help create a 21st-century portrait of the country by turning their cameras on their neighborhoods, families, friends and schools?

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