Essay: This I Believe

I’m trying to learn for my English class and I’m stuck. Can you help?

Write a 200-250 word essay about ONE of your core beliefs. Your essay should not be about ‘who you are ‘ but about how this belief was formed in you–what experiences in your life shaped it, challenged it, and molded it.

Follow the guidelines below to develop this essay:

  • Tell a story: Be specific. Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events of your life. Consider moments when the belief was formed or tested or changed. Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things you know that no one else does. Your story need not be heart-warming or gut-wrenching—it can even be funny—but it should be real. Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.
  • Name your belief: Start of by naming your belief it in a sentence or two, and then tell the ‘story’ behind the belief.
  • Be personal and positive: Please avoid preaching or editorializing. Say what you do believe, not what you don’t believe. Avoid speaking in the editorial ‘we’, or ‘one’, or the impersonal third person. Make your essay about you; speak in the first person. Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you. Your words, tone, and story should truly echo your belief and the way you think and speak.
  1. Post your essay.. You can either type directly in the Discussion text box or you can cut and paste from a Word Processing document.
  2. (Optional) Insert a picture of yourself or a picture of something that reflects your belief.
  3. Read your peers’ postings and respond to at least three of your peers. In your responses, you must comment on what struck you the most about their belief story and why.
    • Tip: This is your first assignment using the Discussions. Some students find it helpful to log into the course in two different web browser windows at the same time. This allows you to refer back to the assignment directions in one window as you type your message into the discussion in the other window.

History of This I Believe

While this assignment will serve as a form of introductions for this class, it is will be a continuation of a national project developed by National Public Radio to “create a picture of the American spirit in all its rich complexity” (NPR’s This is Believe project). ThroughThis I Believe® NPR invites everyone to write about their core beliefs and submit them to NPR’s This I Believesite. NPR broadcasts these personal statements from listeners each Monday on their programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

This I Believe is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Murrow created the program to bring hope, comfort, and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division. In creating This I Believe, Murrow said the program sought “to point to the common meeting grounds of beliefs, which is the essence of brotherhood and the floor of our civilization” ((NPR’s This is Believe project).

NOTE: This Getting Acquainted assignment does NOT require you to submit your This I Believe essay to NPR. It is only meant as an Introduction assignment for this course; therefore you ONLY need to submit it to our course. However, if you would like to submit your essay to NPR, please do so. Here is the link you can use to learn more about this national project: (Links to an external site.).

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