A Life-Shaping Experience
SYG 2000, Principles of Sociology
Dr. Steven K. Million
The purpose of this exercise is to identify one powerful experience in your life that has shaped who you are. It could be a positive, negative, or neutral event. It could involve others or it could be something that happened to you when you were alone.
First, the rules: (1) You should not use real names. Instead invent names for those in your story. I will not know the people you are discussing, so it does not matter that their true names are not used. You may refer to family members as father, mother, sister, brother, cousin, and so on. Just avoid using their real names. (2) Do not discuss your involvement in any illegal, criminal act unless the matter has been adjudicated by a court of law. You may, though, discuss an illegal act that was perpetrated on you.
Here are the internal elements of your paper:
1. A paragraph describing the general influence of the experience. Use material from class and try not to use outside sources for this part of your paper. You have learned so much about experience in SYG 2000 that outside sources should not be needed, e.g.., influence the culture, care givers and significant others. (In responding to items 2 through 7, though, you should use at least two reputable outside sources.)
2. Discuss one seminal experience in your life. Select an experience that was so remarkable, so powerful that it literally changed your life. It can be something from last week or something from your childhood. What matters is the impact of the experience. It could be something great that happened to you or, alternately, something terrible. Describe it in detail.
3. Write about how the experience made you feel at the time. What have we learned n SYG 2000 that informs you about your reaction to this experience? How did the experience impact your self-concept, your behavior, your view of others and the world, and so on.
4. Has your reaction to the experience changed over time? That is, does it still impact you the way it first did or has your reaction changed? If so, how? Why do you think it changed or did not change?
5. How has this experience defined you in the present? What part of you continues to be impacted by this experience? Is the impact a positive or negative force in your life? Could it have both positive and negative influences? Can others observe the effects of this experience in you? If so, how?
6. What do you expect the future impact of this experience to be on your life? In ten years, how will this experience shape who you are? Will you ever escape its influence?
7. What are your reflective thoughts about the story you told here? How can others benefit from reading your story? How can you benefit from having revealed it?
This paper should not be more than five pages, double spaced in New Times Roman. It must feature a cover page (as specified in the syllabus) and a separate works cited page at the end. All elements of writing will be evaluated in this paper, so it is imperative that you have the paper proofread by the Writing Center or other competent editors. Here are some writing tips:
1. Given the nature of the assignment, the paper may be written in first person.
2. Avoid use of terms like "towards," "regards," and so on. Instead use toward and regard.
3. Do not begin sentences or paragraphs with "however." ("However" is a connecting word, e.g.., We wanted to go to town, however, Sue was too ill to make the trip.)
4. Write in a clear, crisp style. Consider this example: Purchasing as iPhone involves consideration of many variables that can cause one to fear making a mechanical or financial mistake. Instead write something like: Purchasing an iPhone is a complicated matter.
5. The finished product should be printed only on the fronts of pages. No front-and-back printing is appropriate for formal writings.