What talent do you have that your usual blog readers don’t know about? Talk about a time when you showed it to its best advantage.
I don’t talk enough about my English grammar skills, which is something I’d like to change. I’m trying to build a business around that talent so I can cultivate my life, but I doubt I could cultivate that dream without talking more about my talent. I catch grammar errors in news articles, school papers, work memos, and all over. I know grammar can form an impression on someone — bad grammar forms the impression of ignorance, even when it’s undeserved. I want my students and clients to be perceived as the intelligent, wonderful people they are.
Before we left Gainesville, I started leveraging my talent as a means to earn some extra money while job hunting. I discovered that tutoring was very lucrative in a college town, and I almost took the risk of staying in Gainesville to try forging my own business there. Unfortunately, the rural community I live in doesn’t afford me the same opportunities. However, I determined that a sliding scale rate would attract at least a few students. A very wonderful student found and hired me in September of 2011, and he’s been a regular ever since. I may have only broken even after feeding that money back into a local eatery, but the rewards of seeing my student’s writing improve more than make up for that. I thrive when I see my work pay off.
Ultimately, I would love to cultivate my dreams of being an English consultant because I feel rewarded — and free — when I’m playing with words.
Being trapped in a confined environment can turn an ordinary experience into a powder keg. Write about a thing that happened to you while you were using transportation; anything from your first school bus ride, to a train or plane, to being in the backseat of the car on a family road trip.
My animal reproductive physiology final awaited me. It was December 2005 — the last stand in my battle as an animal science major. Nothing was going to stop me from that showdown in the Animal Science building. I climbed the steps of the bus, sat in my seat, and waited for the driver to pull away. The sound of tires screeching approached from behind. THUD. I felt my body jolt forward as a van rear-ended the bus. Clearly, the signs weren’t favorable. I sat, waiting angrily and impatiently for law enforcement — and the next bus. I filled out the incident report card, questioning the driver and the cops if I needed to stay after the next bus arrived. “Are you hurt?” I wasn’t sure. I didn’t care, though. I could walk. I could see. I could hear. I could take my final. Along the ride to the big final, I realized my neck hurt. I didn’t care. I had to take that test. I diligently answered the questions, ignoring the throbbing pain in my neck. The ER could wait until I turned in my fate. I needed to know if I was meant to be a veterinarian. My neck could wait.
Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Write about a time you taught someone a lesson you didn’t want to teach.
She had stolen my Violet, my favorite Pound Puppy plush toy. She thought she was entitled to my stuff because her parents owned the basement apartment we lived in. I was furious. I’d show her, though — I’d teach her how it felt to have your belongings violated. I found her play make-up compact. I took it home with me. When we moved, I kept it as a reminder that she stole my Violet. I would recall the sadness I felt, not having that plush toy. As I grew older, I began to forget the little plush toy and giggle at my three-year-old sense of justice. After all, two wrongs really don’t make a right.
Tell a story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual (Step 1, Step 2, etc.).
- Watch “Lady and the Tramp” with your mother.
- Think of something amazing to tell your dad.
- Ask your mother to pause the movie.
- Charge down the hall at full speed.
- Crash head first into the door knob.
- Shriek in terror and pain.
- Kick and scream as your mother attempts to apply pressure to your gushing forehead.
- Somehow make it to the emergency room.
- Flail and fight against the medical staff.
- Get strapped into a papoose for your own good.
- Scream bloody murder as they stitch your head closed.
- Wonder what the hell was so amazing that you had to tell your dad.
- Wonder that question for the rest of your life.
Tell a story set at your first job.
George sat me down for my 90 day evaluation. I received great compliments and praise for my efforts. And then he said it: “You’re not very analytical. You need to think more like a man.” I sat in stunned silence, in shock that this 40-something man just uttered those words to a 16-year-old girl in the year 2000. I couldn’t believe the misogyny sitting at the table. I complained to anyone who would listen. I joked with co-workers that I needed to elbow George, point out a woman, and comment on the size of her breasts — that would show him. Of course, I never did have the nerve to say anything to his face. I kept the job through the end of summer, but I felt no grief when I gave him my notice.
Oh, and George? Check out the rack on that one!