A Personal Narrative Paper: Community Services

This assignment is intended to assist you in composing a personal narrative, fulfilling the requirements for the first graded writing assignment in your Written Communication course. The assignment defines the personal narrative and describes what’s involved in its construction. It defines the first-person point of view and explains why it’s necessary. The assignment also offers several different ideas for essay topics, as many students have trouble identifying appropriately focused topics. This assignment reviews the essential parts of an essay, as well as the steps of the writing process and the guidelines for defining and avoiding plagiarism. The assignment offers resources to help you ensure mastery of grammar and mechanics. Finally, it offers rules for formatting and questions to ask yourself about your document before submitting it for grading. By the end of this assignment, you should be ready to submit your essay for grading. For your first writing assignment in this course, you’re being asked to write a personal essay, which can also be referred to as a personal narrative. The essay that you produce must be based solely on your first-hand personal experience(s), told from the first-person point of view, and meet the given length requirement of 750 to 2,500 words. Within this assignment, we’ll provide information to help you effectively write from a first-person point of view. In short, this will be an essay about you. The essay that you write should tell a story that will represent who “you” are to your audience—people who don’t know you personally. It should be completely original and shouldn’t contain any type of research; your story should be told entirely from thoughts and memories. Instead of relying on research to construct your essay, you’ll rely on your own memory and awareness of people and surroundings. This will ensure that your writing is credible, ethical, and authentic. WHAT IS A PERSONAL NARRATIVE? A personal narrative is an essay about the author. In a very basic sense, all essays are personal, in that it’s impossible to avoid a personal opinion, even in the most objective writing. However, the personal narrative makes no effort to hide the author’s personal connection to the text. It’s openly accepted and celebrated that the author is the subject. The personal narrative not only accepts, but demands the thoughts, feelings, ideas, and personal input of the author. For your first writing assignment in this course, you’re being asked to write a personal essay, which can also be referred to as a personal narrative. The essay that you produce must be based solely on your first-hand personal experience(s), told from the first-person point of view, and meet the given length requirement of 750 to 2,500 words. Within this assignment, we’ll provide information to help you effectively write from a first-person point of view. In short, this will be an essay about you. The essay that you write should tell a story that will represent who “you” are to your audience—people who don’t know you personally. It should be completely original and shouldn’t contain any type of research; your story should be told entirely from thoughts and memories. Instead of relying on research to construct your essay, you’ll rely on your own memory and awareness of people and surroundings. This will ensure that your writing is credible, ethical, and authentic. WHAT IS A PERSONAL NARRATIVE? A personal narrative is an essay about the author. In a very basic sense, all essays are personal, in that it’s impossible to avoid a personal opinion, even in the most objective writing. However, the personal narrative makes no effort to hide the author’s personal connection to the text. It’s openly accepted and celebrated that the author is the subject. The personal narrative not only accepts, but demands the thoughts, feelings, ideas, and personal input of the author. Personal narratives are essentially nonfiction stories. What the essay should do is to create a map that takes the reader from point A to point B to point C. Of course, things aren’t always as straightforward as A-B-C. It’s your job, as the author, to pull together all the necessary elements of your story so they can efficiently guide the reader through your story, ending with the ever-important lesson learned or insight gained from your experience. The essay that you create should be completely unique to you. It must show your reasoning behind your opinions and must provide specific examples from your personal experience, which will ultimately show your authority to write on your chosen topic. All (or at least a great majority) of what you write must be based on what you already know and have experienced directly yourself. By using specific examples of what happened to you directly or of what you personally observed happening to friends or family members, you’re providing your own unique, distinctive perspective on the topic. First, you must decide on an original focus, or “slant,” by which to discuss your topic. For example, if you write about a vacation, you should make it a point to state or show, as a part of your introduction, your unique viewpoint on the experience in question. (For example, instead of simply stating, “I went to Hawaii,” it would be much more specific and descriptive to state, “My vacation to Hawaii was one of the most exciting times in my life.”) Next, you should use that “slant” or focus to guide you through choosing and organizing the details and examples you’ll include in your essay. Avoid giving only a list of general information or a diary account of what happened from the time you jumped out of bed, took a shower, and ate breakfast. That type of “catalog” approach lacks reader appeal and doesn’t help you to develop your personalized focus on the experience. Students should, if absolutely necessary, research aspects of the narrative only to verify facts or provide statistics to support ideas. You should keep in mind that factual information can’t be the main focus of your essay. By merely restating or paraphrasing what you’ve learned through research, you’re failing to provide your original thinking on the topic. ESSENTIALS: FORMATTING YOUR ESSAY ■ Please be sure to include your name, student number, and exam number on the very first page of your essay. You may include this information in a header if you wish to do so. ■ Using Microsoft Word, type your paper; it must be submitted in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format for grading purposes. ■ Use double-spacing, standard one-inch margins, and a font no larger than the equivalent of Times New Roman 12. ■ Your final draft should contain between 750 and 2,500 words. ■ Please save your document using your student number, the appropriate exam number, and your last name, all connected by underscore symbols. For example, if John Smith’s student number is 23456789 and he has completed exam 007127, he would save the file as 23456789_007127_Smith GRADING RUBRIC: EXAM 007127 Exemplary Proficient Fair Poor Not Shown Introduction (10 points): Establishes a specific topic and approach and sets an appropriate tone/mood for the rest of the personal narrative. The author engages the reader and creates interest. 10–9 8–7 6–5 4–1 0 Coherence and Unity (25 points): Ideas flow clearly and logically as the personal narrative is developed. Each paragraph contains one main idea (with enough detail to develop that idea clearly and logically) and a connection to the ideas that precede and follow it. Clear transitions are present between sentences as well as between paragraphs. The author remains focused on the topic. 25–22 21–18 17–14 13–1 0 Support for Ideas (20 points): Adequate detail and accurate support are provided for each idea introduced. Specific, accurate, and relevant examples are used to show meaning. The author doesn’t simply make blanket cl
aims without support. 20–18 17–14 13–10 9–1 0 Sentence Structure (10 points): Sentences are varied in both structure and length. Sentences are complete, expressive, clear, and to the point. No run-on sentences or fragments are included. 10–9 8–7 6–5 4–1 0 Spelling and Word Choice (10 points): Personal narrative is free of spelling errors. Appropriate language is chosen for each situation, fitting the mood/tone set in the introduction. Clarity isn’t inhibited by word choice complements. 10–9 8–7 6–5 4–1 0 Punctuation (10 points): Personal narrative is free of errors such as comma splices, misplaced commas, and inappropriate end punctuation. All punctuation is used correctly so as not to interfere with comprehension. 10–9 8–7 6–5 4–1 0 Grammar (10 points): The author utilizes correct and consistent verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, clear pronoun-antecedent agreement, and so on. Grammar errors don’t interfere with comprehension. 10–9 8–7 6–5 4–1 0 Conclusion (5 points): Conclusion provides adequate closure by reinforcing the meaning/significance established in the introduction. The author effectively wraps the personal narrative. 5 4 3–2 1 0