1.How good are you at explaining things to people? What things do you most commonly find yourself explaining? What is the last thing you explained in writing? How did your audience receive your explanation?
Brainstorm a list of topics for a possible informative essay. Then, choose a topic and write a brief informative essay on one of the topics that you have discovered that you explain well.
Finding a good restaurant is difficult. It might have wonderful servers but the ambiance of a convenience store. It’s hard to find that one place where all the ingredients come together to deliver an extraordinary dining experience.
Write a short essay that evaluates a recent dining experience. Begin by identifying your criteria (e.g., the food, the service, the ambiance) and your evaluation scale (e.g., four stars, three forks, or a thumbs up). Then, use the criteria to write a review of your dining experience. Will this place give your readers something extraordinary or less than ordinary?
Here are three suggestions to help you get started:
– Focus around a thesis. Your thesis might explain your ultimate evaluation of the dining experience. Then, support your thesis with specific details from your trip to the restaurant.
– Organize logically. After introducing the restaurant, location, and date of your visit, you might evaluate the experience according to what you noticed first, second, and so on, or according to which criterion is most important.
– Provide specific details. Describe all your sensory experiences. You might also use analogies to help readers better visualize your descriptions (e.g., “The atmosphere was warm and tropical, like eating in a greenhouse.”).
– To expand your essay, you might compare more than one restaurant. For example, where can readers find the best hamburger in town?
Most high schools and colleges require students to take courses in general education. These courses promise to teach you a body of knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that will educate you broadly and prepare you for a life of learning and engaged citizenship. In each course, however, you focus on one narrow subject, whether it is algebra, biology, American literature, chemistry, European history, ethics, anthropology, or statistics.
This approach gives you access to experts who have spent years studying their specific field. You learn how people in this field approach the world, what methods they use to investigate it, and what they’ve learned so far. Many students assume that the knowledge they gain from each class is cumulative; they just add all the parts together to be generally educated.
For years, scholars, legislators, and students have complained that general education is fragmented. Students taking individual courses cannot see how the different subjects they study fit together. The result is not one body of knowledge but many that fit poorly together. They argue that students don’t see how Sir Isaac Newton’s laws in physics connect with a study of Mayan culture, or how the study of Mayan culture connects with the Pythagorean theorem.
Write an essay that synthesizes something you learned in two or more classes to test whether they complement each other or whether they represent different bodies of knowledge with their own assumptions, methods, and standards of truth.
The following suggestions can help guide you as you craft an essay that synthesizes knowledge you obtained in two or more of your college classes:
– Focus your writing around a common topic. To help you synthesize, you might use a topic that you studied in different classes (e.g., war, sexuality, language, and so on) or a broad question (e.g., How does the individual relate to society?). You can further focus your writing by developing a thesis, your overall answer to the question, “Can the material in these different classes be synthesized to represent one body of knowledge?”
– Provide specific details. This is a challenging topic, so you might ground your discussion in specific things you learned. For example, what did you learn about Renaissance painters in your art history course? How does it relate to what you learned about the nature of creativity in your psychology course?
– Speculate actively to make connections. On the surface, the subject of Renaissance painters doesn’t seem connected to the nature of creativity. After all, with so many subjects, seeing the connections requires imagination (e.g., putting yourself in the position of an art historian or psychologist). Art historians have often wondered how so many brilliant painters developed around the same period and in the same places. Could insight into the brains of creative people help us explain a Raphael or Michelangelo?
– If you want to expand your writing further, you might interview your instructors to learn more about how they approach the world, what research methods they prefer, and what standards they use for establishing truths in their field. Do these different fields encourage students to see knowledge as part of one single body or many individual bodies? Here, too, you could use a single topic like violence, or love, or war to focus your
Rites of passage exist in many cultures. They are ceremonies or events that mark the transition from one status to another. They might signal the move from initiate to group member or from one stage of life into another. They can also symbolize the individual’s acceptance of new values, behaviors, and responsibilities.
Write a short essay that extends this definition to an experience you have had that marked your transition from one status to another. Identifying this experience as a rite of passage can encourage you to think about the values, behaviors, and responsibilities you’ve accepted. It can also encourage you to think about how such rites exist as part of our socialization, the education and training we receive to become functional members of society.
Here are three suggestions to help you write about a personal rite of passage:
– Focus around a thesis. A concise statement of your rite of passage and what transition it symbolized can focus your discussion.
– Organize logically. You might organize around who you were before, during, and after the transition.
– Use specific details. Provide specific descriptions of what you did, and what you were thinking and feeling, during the transition.
– To expand your essay, you might discuss whether your experience was typical and whether it was a positive or negative experience.