The first essay that I vividly remember writing was in my sixth-grade history class. In this class taught by Mr. Stuartt, we had to choose an important historical figure and write about their life. This was the first, from what I remember, out of two bibliographies that I have had to write thus far, except a bibliography project on Sacagawea in fifth grade. I made mistakes in deciding whom to write about and how to go about organizing and writing the bibliography. Unfortunately, this essay was far from easy and one of my worst pieces of writing.
Instead of choosing a historical figure I somewhat knew about, I decided to choose a German man named Otto Von Bismarck. In short, he was a German Prime Minister and the first Chancellor of Germany. The information found was so complex and there was a lot I had to work with, but it was a lot to process, and I was not very interested in his life; How could I write so much about a historical figure I had no interest in learning about? This decision haunted me during the entire writing process. First, I had to write a bibliography about a man I had never heard of and second, it had to be somewhere in between one thousand to two thousand words. I had not started the essay yet and I knew this early decision would be detrimental.
The writing process did not go as I would have hoped it to. There was a lot of information to fit, yet it seemed like there was also not enough. I kept pushing the essay further so I wouldn’t have to do it and as soon as I knew, there was a week left before the due date. At this point, the stress regarding this essay had gotten to me and I honestly wanted to take the zero. But I stuck through with it and remember sitting down for, what had to be, 5 hours gathering important information, organizing it, and creating an essay with it that made sense and was written on the timeline of von Bismarck’s life. After writing about 800 words, I thought I was doing well and started to be able to just simply write.
I only could have wished that was true. I still needed more words, but I decided to have my mom proofread my essay to get her input and make sure it was good: it was not. There were many grammatically incorrect sentences, and all the information was jumbled together in no specific way. After we revised it, we barely had more than half of the word count. At this point, the essay was handed off to my mom. I may have cried a little because of my frustration with myself and the whole project. She extended my sentences and asked me for more information to put in the essay. I knew she was getting frustrated because I am stubborn and wanted it to be a certain way, but if I decided that I could not write it, it would not be my way. After long hours of sitting in my parents’ room while either my mom or I wrote this essay, it was finally finished.
When I got my essay back, I was not shocked to have gotten a low C grade. I was disappointed, but I didn’t expect a higher grade. I learned my lesson after that and when I had my second bibliography four years later in tenth grade, I wrote it about Ronald Reagan, whom I was influenced by and knew about. High school grading was more rigorous and although I got a B-, there was much improvement in my writing. When I write essays now, I write with my own voice and try to make them reflect my style of writing.
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