Personal essay revelations: Finding a topic - Life experience and person who influenced you.

I met with a student in Mumbai who was struggling to find a topic for her personal essay. We got talking about career goals and she mentioned that she always wanted to pursue medicine and become a pediatrician. This was influenced by her early childhood experience with ailments and a particular wind pipe surgery when she was 5 years old. Her grandfather is a doctor and she was enamored by his work. She recalled a conversation she had with him that was particularly important. Her grandfather dissuaded her to pursue medicine and look for other majors when she entered her junior year in school. This led to an inner conflict and she didn't know what to choose.

I liked the tension in her story and we discussed further. She was able to describe the conversation with her grandfather in great detail and that became the 'a-ha' moment I was looking for her personal essay. She too found it to be an interesting topic to write and promised to send me her first draft in 24 hours!