To Write About Yourself


“The first draft of anything is shit.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Writing and very often talking about yourself is hard. It’s even harder when it’s being evaluated by someone through the lens of a personal essay.

I am currently in the process of writing a draft for the NSF GRFP, and after reading about 20 previously accepted essays, I am still having trouble reflecting on how to make my own personal story “convincing”. I believe I have a strong statement to be made about why my research is important. But to convince the reviewers to support my work, I also need to convince them that I am a good researcher and I have the motivation and experience from my past to pursue said work.

So as a note to myself as I continue to write the first draft of this paper, here is what I should remember:

  • It’s gonna be crap the first time around
  • Just do it…not in an hour…now
  • Finish a draft on Sunday and send it to half of everyone you know
  • Finish another draft by next Sunday and send it to the other half
  • Don’t exaggerate but be BIG
  • Be confident
  • You can do it 🙂