Self Profiles

Unlike language autobiographies, a self-profile focuses on the present: who you are now. These are among the most interesting and frustrating assignments imaginable: How do you decide who you really are? And how much do you want to share with an instructor or classmate? As an instructor, however, I find self-profiles especially rich because they are so chal-lenging—both for first-year writers and graduating seniors, since both groups are at pivotal places in their lives, looking backward and forward at the same time. The following list offers some suggestions for profiling yourself.

Write from memory. Write fast and impressionistically, and try to capture important or defining moments that contribute to who you are today—playing high school basketball or field hockey; acting in middle school plays; moving to a new state as a child; your relationship with a brother, sister, mom, or dad, and so on. What happened in our past sometimes determines who we are in the present.

Write about artifacts. Examine your most valued possessions: posters on your wall; saved letters or journals; your favorite hat, cap, or T-shirt; what you carry in your pockets. Describe this thing as carefully as you can and explore possible dimensions it reveals about you.

Write what people say about you. Interview friends and family members, recall old and recent conversations, find teacher comments on papers and report cards, make stuff up. Adding other voices spices things up, adds other perspectives, and complicates your identity.

Write about how you spend your time now: describe a typical day or week. Describe current activities, sports, hobbies, passions, and places you seek out or hang out. Examine why you do these things, what they mean to you.

Write standing in front of a mirror. Describe the person you see before you—hair, height, clothes, nose, eyes, mouth, expression. What does your physical self say about your psychological self?

Write I am. . . . Compose a series of sentences, each starting with the words "I am"and continue on from there:

I am shy and quiet on the outside, more bold and noisy inside. I am Irish, German, and Polish—a mongrel, an American. I am Peter Pan, Huckleberry Finn, and Michael Jordan (or Wendy, Anne of Green Gables, and Madonna)—at least sometimes and in my dreams.

Keep writing, trying out different characters, and see who else you might be.

0 0

Post a comment