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How to Use Your Memories to Find the Perfect Essay Topic

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So you’re working on your college applications and just can’t seem to come up with a good topic for your essay! You hate all of your ideas and you know a good topic is the foundation for a fantastic essay! Don’t panic! Your predicament is quite normal and you’re one of many students sweating your essay topic right now!! The good news is we can help! Here are some tips for using your memories to find the perfect topic:

  1. Go through old photo albums (or your Instagram feed) and brainstorm using pictures as your triggers.
  2. Look around your bedroom – what items jump out to you as things that have meaning? Do this exercise in any place you spend a lot of time. The locker room. The school bus. The library. Your best friend’s house. Your favorite ice cream shop.
  3. Try and jog your memory for the most meaningful events in your life thus far. Think about birthdays and anniversaries. Special visits from long lost friends.  Competitions you won (or lost).
  4. Take your nostalgia for a ride. Up to this point in your life, what have been your most cherished memories and why? You might not end up writing about your seventh grade science fair, but you could unearth a smaller, more significant story to tell.
  5. Don’t be afraid to consult mom and dad. Even if you’re wary of letting your parents in on the brainstorming process, they often remember details you don’t remember or bring up stories you have totally forgotten. (Ours remember many we would like to forget.)

Your golden idea might be right in front of you. Maybe you see the blue ribbon pinned on your bedroom wall that you earned after competing in your swim meet while battling the nastiest cold you’ve ever had. Maybe you want to write about being a team player and a hard worker. Perhaps your dad loves the story of the time you fell flat on your face while dancing on stage at your annual talent show. Perhaps that was the exact moment you realized that performing was your dream and that maybe you shouldn’t wear four inch heels while trying to whip and nae nae. The perfect topic is somewhere in your brain, you just have to know where to look.

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