Where I Am From Poem Student Examples Of Personal Narrative Essays

Personal Narrative Genre: Sample Personal Narratives

These personal narrative samples were all written by sixth grade students. These pieces are excellent examples of personal narratives, but as with all writing, even the most famous masterpieces, there is room for revision. Each piece does many things well, and any one piece may serve as a model or ignite ideas for your own personal narrative.

Kayak Tip-Over

Cold waves lap at my back.  The wind roars.  The capsized kayak bobs crazily like a runner’s short ponytail.  My arms and legs tingle with the thought of an underwater creature dragging me down into the watery depths.

“This is just like T.V.,” I think as I anticipate a shark jumping out from the water and eating us.  I shiver involuntarily.

“Help!” I cry, small-voiced.

Earlier, that day had started out like any old vacation.  The weather was warm, and there was a pleasant breeze licking at the waves in the lagoon.  My mom’s book club invited my brother, sister, mom, and me, along with two other families, to a beach house.  The house was on a tranquil lagoon with rippling water.  No one else was in the water that day.  The house had kayaks, body boards, and a paddle boat!  Perfect for us kids!  All was going well until the two boys got bored.

The boys were evidently going to go crazy if they didn’t do something soon.  They had been lying in the sun for too long, and they were swiftly accumulating girly tans.  Suddenly, Josh had a marvelous idea!  Why didn’t they let one floaty go drifting downstream and then go chasing it in the paddle boat?!  The idea was perfect.  There was only one catch: the pleasant breeze that had been blowing gently was now a gushing whirlwind of energy, and the floaty was rapidly growing smaller and smaller, with the boys close in tow.

“Tino!  Joshua!”  Madison, Ana, and I screamed and yelled, but it was to no avail.

“JOSHUA BURCH!  COME BACK HERE!”  Madison hollered.  Our mothers came up behind us.

“Looks like they’re going to need a rescue team,” Madison’s mom said.  We looked at her for a second, and then jumped into action.  Ana manned the one-person kayak while Madison and I took the two-seater. We pushed off, soldiers on a mission!

Ana reached Tino and Josh before Madison and I did.  The situation was worse than we had thought.  Tino and Josh were flailing about in the water.  In trying to reach the floaty, they had fallen out of the paddle boat.  Ana had tied the kayak and paddle boat together, hoping to give it a tow because the current was too strong to paddle the boat back.  The boys were still in the water, unable to get in the boat.  Ana, realizing her plan wasn’t working, untied the kayak.  Finally, Josh managed to get in the paddle boat, leaving Tino to fend for himself.

Meanwhile, Madison and I struggled with our kayak.  We had moved away from the others and into the middle of the lagoon.  Seeing Tino swimming towards us, we made room for him on board.  He reached us and heaved himself on.  I threw my weight on the opposite end so we wouldn’t capsize.  Madison and Tino sat with their legs dangling, resting.  I knew they shouldn’t do that, but before I could warn them, we tipped over, and we all went spilling into the lagoon!

The cold water hit me like a wall.  I surfaced, sputtering water.  I prayed to God, thanking Him that we had life jackets.  My first concern was that we had to right the kayak.  Unfortunately, this was easier said than done.  After our fifth try, the kayak reluctantly flipped over with a loud squelching sound.  I felt as if we should get a gold medal for that!  All I wanted to do was get out of there, but the lagoon wasn’t finished with us.  Our paddles had floated away!  Luckily, Ana, the hero of the day, brought the paddles to us.  Thank you, Ana!

During that time, Ophie, Josh and Madison’s mom, arrived to help.  She joined Josh on the paddle boat, relieved Tino from us, and took him to shore.  Madison and I managed to arrive at the shore safely without any more tip-overs.  Hip, hip, hooray!  I watched Ana battle her way home and thought it would have gone much differently if she hadn’t been there.  I looked back at my friends, then at the water, and I knew this wouldn’t keep us out of the water.  No way!

The whole experience helped me learn that you have to be calm in scary situations even if you aren’t calm at heart.  Things look much worse when you’re scared, so sometimes you just need to pause, take a deep breath, and I promise things will look much brighter!  My advice to kids like me would be to listen to your parents when they insist upon wearing life jackets.  Those jackets really do live up to their name.  They can save lives.  They helped save mine!

Swimming Distance

“Jenny, do I really have to swim this? The distance is so long, and I don’t want to do two laps of butterfly! In the first event when I did butterfly, I choked on water!” I complained on a sun-drenched day.

I was at Petaluma High School, standing next to my coach, Jenny. It was my first swim meet, and I was having a pleasant time. Something was bothering me, though. You could blame it all on the next event coming up. I was not looking forward to it one bit. I had done fairly well in my previous events; however, I was edgy and nervous for this one. This was a 200-yard Independent Medley. It was a long distance because it included eight laps of four different strokes.

“Next event, 200 I.M. Girls, ages 11 to 12s,” Coach Patrick called through the speakers. He was the announcer for today, and his voice sounded different through the intercom speakers.

“Come on; you can do it! Go! Go! Go!” Jenny urged as I ran over to get ready. “I just know you can!” I heard her say.

This was it, the last event of today’s swim meet.

“Swimmers, step up,” called Patrick. He waited until the six swimmers walked up to their diving blocks. Quiver, wobble, shake, went my legs. Oh dear, I thought in my head as I waited.

It was only about five seconds before my head would touch the cool water, but five seconds felt long. The swimmers bent down and held the edge of the diving blocks. I guess I looked so ready and professional-like on the diving block, but inside my stomach was on the world’s biggest rollercoaster and my heart was the one who wanted to jump out into the pool. The water smiled gleefully at me. Come on, come on, it seemed to muse.

Beep! The buzzer went off, and everybody plunged into the shallow, still water, sending it into a million ripples and crinkles. It felt good, and I relaxed for a split second, but then remembered that this was a 200-yard medley. I started kicking and soon emerged out of the silky water.

Start with the butterfly stroke, I told myself going through the order again in my head as I swam. I pulled my arms back and did a stroke. Again, again, and again. I hoped not to choke on water this time. Soon the wall was in front of me. I turned and kicked off, starting my next lap of this stroke.

Next up, backstroke, I thought. On my backstroke start, I got water up my nose, probably gallons of it. Gagging, I resurfaced. At the flags, I counted five strokes, and then did a flip turn. More water ran up my nose. It felt like a hundred needles touching it.

When I pushed off the wall for the breaststroke laps, my legs were stones, wanting to sink lower and lower. I needed to catch my breath. But I can’t stop. Keep going! I thought about what Jenny had said. I know you can, I know you can.

Before long, I was approaching the wall for my finish. I heard a swimmer coming up behind me, but I wanted to get there first.

Kick, stroke, kick, stroke. We swimmers were all like sharks of the same species who wanted the prey first. I could hear everybody speeding up.

I touched the wall, mouth full of water. I looked up and climbed out of the pool. People cheered. I never thought I’d be able to do it. Sure I was trying to catch my breath and my legs were Jell-O, but I swam it. I swam 200 yards! I did it and got second place. Now I felt strong and confident. Thank you Jenny, my mind said, wishing Jenny would get the message.

The Delightful Musee D’ Orsay

“Wow!” I say in amazement, as we tread up to the amazing and antique Musee D’Orsay.

“Did you know that this museum used to be an old strain station?” my mom reads aloud from our guidebook.  We walk into this gorgeous building, full of masterpieces.  I look around, and there is an enormous clock painted gold.  I wonder how long it took to make such a beautiful clock.  My mom hands me a map, telling us where everything is located.  My eyes glow with happiness as I see the words “Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait.”  I plead with my mom to allow us to go there first, but she insists we must save the best for last.

As we walk around, I stop in front of a lovely Degas painting.  I marvel at the girl in the painting.  She is so petite and fragile-looking.  The girl is like glass, trying not to be broken, and she is wearing a pretty red tutu.  I stare at the paintings texture.  There are numerous different lines, going this way and that way.  Next I walk to a series of statues created by Degas.  It starts with just a figure, and then the next figure is a girl.  you can tell it is a girl because of the bun and the tutu.  The last figure is a polished version of the second figure, but it is a girl wearing a puffy tutu and doing a plie.  It must have taken Degas a long time to create such detailed statues.

I am a queen walking up to her throne as I sit down in the comfortable chair in the middle of the gallery.  I am as tired as a mother with a newborn baby.  I look up at the clock again, noticing all the details and carvings.  I think that the clock is a piece of art, just like everything else in the museum.  My mom rises from her place beside me, so I follow along, wondering where we are heading.

With excitement, we arrive at the best painting of all, Van Gogh’s self portrait.  The painting is as blue as the sky on a sunny day.  The picture has so many different brush strokes.  It feels as though Van Gogh is going to emerge from the painting and have a conversation with me.  The painting is brilliant and beautiful.  I am so overjoyed right now.  I am utterly stunned just looking at the masterpiece.

I will remember that day forever because that was one of the best works of art I had ever seen.  I adored the way all the colors flowed together like a pool of water.  It was interesting how he added different colors in the face.  I will always remember the stunning, splendid, and stupendous painting.  My heart was filled with satisfaction and joy now that I had seen this gorgeous masterpiece.

The Great Escape

“Emma’s gone!” I yelled at my mom.  “She just isn’t there!” I searched the floor frantically to find her. Just a minute ago I was feeding her in the bathroom and the second time I checked on her, she was gone. Since Emma is a gecko and is as wee as a mouse, she could be in any tiny place or crevice. I could feel my face getting hot. She could be anywhere!

I rushed to my mom, sister, and brother. “I just checked on Emma and sh-sh-she’s not there!” I stammered. We all hurried to the bathroom and peered into the vacant cage. I was definitely right; she was nowhere to be seen. Right away we took action.

My mom and sister scurried downstairs to get flashlights while my brother and I hunted for Emma. It was getting darkish outside so the flashlights helped out a ton. We searched in every nook and cranny possible:  under our bunk bed, beneath the messy dresser, in our crowded closet, and even in my brother’s bright orange room. She couldn’t have just disappeared into thin air, I thought; it just wouldn’t be possible. During the rest of the time we looked, the flashlights were spotlights putting the attention on the main person, only this time they couldn’t find that main person.

**************

A week passed. It seemed like just yesterday when I got Emma. I could remember when I first held her. Her skin as smooth as baby skin and her needle sharp nails pinpricking my hand. Now she was gone. My very first gecko, gone.

That night my mom read my sister and me the story Mustard by Jessel Miller. “A miracle happens every day!” she finished dreamily. My sister stood up to go to the bathroom. Suddenly she exclaimed, “I found her; I found Emma!”  Sure enough, there she was crawling out from behind the toilet, making little clickety-clackety sounds on the tile floor. I was overjoyed! It was as if she was ready to come home. I caught her and put her back in her little habitat. Then I fell asleep contented.

Ever since Emma escaped I now watch her much more carefully. She even has a small cage in which I feed her so there is no way she can escape. I have learned that everything needs a little adventure now and then, whether it’s me or my gecko.

A Day at Ke’e

So far, my trip to Hawaii had been great. But I was waiting to get to have some real fun. You know, experience some island magic. I would go anywhere, try anything. Then it happened. My cousin started to talk about taking us the Ke’e, and boy did I get excited. I was ready.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best day to go snorkeling. A hurricane was on its way to Oahu, and we were getting hit with some mild rain and high tides. Don’t worry; we weren’t going to give up. Before I knew what we were going to do about it, we were there. Ke’e was gorgeous!!! The water was as still as the morning dew, and the sky was painted a light blue. Ke’e was a long spit of black lava rock, which suddenly dropped to the ocean, filled with tropical sea life.

I was as excited as a child getting a puppy. I rushed out of the car in my bare feet. It was HOT!!! I hadn’t thought that I would have to put on my thinking cap for vacation, but I wasn’t smart enough to think of one simple equation: sun + black lava rock = hot on feet! I quickly put on my flip flops. As I made my way around, trying not to stub my toes on the rocks, I heard a noise. It was the sound of waves crashing up onto rocks, but the ocean was so far away! I looked down, and there, I saw a huge hole in the rocks, and the salt water was going up and back down. And up and back down again. It was amazing! We made our way to the edge, put on our snorkeling gear, and jumped!

Soon we were speechless as we watched all the colorful tropical sea life. We swam through black lava rock tubes. These lava tubes were formed by hot lava traveling down, and into the ocean, and it made arches in the water. It was pretty hard for me to hold my breath for such a long amount of time, but I could handle it. These undersea arches were like swimming through underwater submarines. It had portholes, and had a dome-like structure. There was another one that was like swimming through a miniature rainbow. It was a perfect arch in the water. I also was lucky enough to see a puffer fish and an eight-legged sea star.

After we got back near land, we had to ride the current up onto a rock ledge, while dodging an occasional vana (sea urchin). It was hard to hoist myself up and onto the ledge, but the good part about being a kid is that you don’t weigh much, so I just let the wave carry me up and safely onto the rock. After this, it is where the fun began.

We all started jumping off rocks every which-way. My dad tried taking pictures of me and Heidi (my cousin) in mid-jump. It was really hard to pose in mid-air, but it was truly fun: You know, the great feeling of your stomach leaping out of your mouth, then stopping as you plunged into the water. I jumped, dived, and cannon-balled from fifteen feet high lava rock ledges. It was fantastic!!!

After that, I knew I could do anything. Go anywhere.  My cousin said she could take me anywhere, plop me into the water, and instantly I would become a mermaid. I could swim far lengths. Ke’e was just the beginning. I had far more amazing places to experience. I knew without a doubt that I would visit far more amazing places, but I will always remember my day at Ke’e.

Good Night, Faith and My Very First Play Date
One Experience from Two Perspectives

Good Night, Faith

It is mid-March and a peaceful evening at Beyond the Glory Bar and Grill until Faith and I walk in.

Sploosh! “Fa-aith!” I yell. “Did you really just spill my Shirley Temple?”

When I stand up it looks  like I accidentally urinated in my pants. All I am thinking in my mind is these two things: This means payback and this is going to be the best night ever.

“Yummm,” I utter, as our creamy, chocolate-covered and to-die-for sundae arrives. This is the perfect time to get Faith back for spilling my drink. As Faith gets a spoonful of ice cream, I come out of nowhere like a ninja and push Faith’s arm. She gets ice cream all over her and looks like a clown. Giggling, we run to the bathroom like two supersonic jets gliding through the food-scented air. I notice two elderly women staring at us, probably thinking we are psychotic.

Soon after, we leave the restaurant to head home. I am laughing the whole way home and anticipating what we will do next.

“Crunch, crunch!” the rocks cry out for help as they get trapped under out feet while we walk to the barn. Apparently, my sister’s goat, Delilah, doesn’t like Faith, which means, Delilah is in full attack mode, butting and nibbling at Faith. Of course, I am laughing. Faith scrambles behind me so I can be her human shield.

“Bang!” yells the door as I slam it shut when we arrive inside the house. Faith is glued to “Fruit Ninja.” After a few hours of that, we head to my room. Sadly, I have to sleep on the unyielding ground, while Faith gets to be nestled in my cozy, warm, and soft bed. Talk about unfair!

At eleven o’clock,  Faith and I crave rice crispy treats, and Faith craves “Fruit Ninja,” but I tell her no more ninja. I come upon an app, which records you while making the sounds of that dog treat commercial, when the dog smells bacon and goes crazy. Naturally, we have to try it.

“Hahahahhahaha, Faith, you look hilarious,” I squeal with laughter.

Then we determine it is time to “hit the hay.”

Vroom, vroom! The next morning, my dad and I fly up the enormous hill on our four-wheeler, while Faith and my mom trail behind us looking scared to death. We explore the vast and bumpy land on our grass-scented four-wheelers. Faith is a little girl learning to ride a bike for the first time, terrified but ready to go. Luckily, this is not the first time she has driven, although she almost ran into a tree. Faith is a crazy monkey when she puts her hands on the worn-out handle bars because you never know what she is going to do.

When we arrive back home, Faith’s time at my house at my house has ended.

*************

As Faith hops out of my monster-sized truck, a tear runs down my rosy, red cheek. I don’t know why, but I feel like she is going away to sea.

“Bye, Faith,” I stutter like an old truck starting.

“Bye, Carsyn,” she says softly.

When we leave, I see Faith’s hand waving back and forth, and I wave back. My head lies on the cold glass window; I think, Faith is an amazing friend. She sticks by my side through thick and thin.  She cheers me up when I am down, and loves me for who I am.That is what makes Faith my HERO.

My Very First Play Date                                                                                                                                               

“Let me see it,” whispers Carsyn during story time.

“No, you are going to pull it out,” I reply.

“No, I won’t. I promise; just let me see it,” she insists.

“Okay, here you go!”  I open my mouth. YANK! YANK! She pulls out my first tooth! I raise my petite hand and ask to go to the office to get a case for my tooth.  I can tell from the look on her face that Carsyn wants to ditch school and bring me, too, so that we can have our play date.  When we finally hear Mr. Keig yell at the top of his lungs, “Time to pack up and leave!” Carsyn and I look at each other and start jumping up and down like we are kangaroos.

When we get outside, we hear the rumbling sound of Carsyn’s truck and smell the burning scent of the diesel. We run as fast as our little legs can carry us.  Carsyn and I hop in the front seats and turn on the radio; while we rock out to our favorite jam, we are movie stars on the red carpet while people ask for our autographs.

When we arrive at her house, Carsyn introduces me to her animals.  I think my head is going to explode with all those names.  We go inside to do our ABC’s, and then we are going to catch tadpoles.  When we hop on the four-wheeler, I ask if I can drive it, and of course, Carsyn is polite and says yes.  I am a little nervous about it, but I am ready to drive.  Carsyn looks at me in curiosity, and she is a little worried, too.  I put my hands on the wobbly handlebars and push it full speed.  Uh oh, there is a tree right in front of us. “AHHH! MOM, MOM!”  I hear Carsyn yelling.  Carsyn is a new born baby crying at the flashing.

I dodge the old and discolored tree, and ride up the mountain.  I take a deep breath and see the muddy pond.  Carsyn’s mom jumps off the four-wheeler, and sticks her foot in the gooey mud.  She pulls and pulls, but her foot is glued like a piece of paper.  Carsyn and I laugh our heads off!  When we have caught about twenty tadpoles, we head back to her house.

When we are naming all the tadpoles, I decide to grab one of them, and I pop it on Carsyn’s head!

“Faith, did you really just do that,” Carsyn hollers.

“Yep, now you smell like tadpole guts,” I respond.  I run away from her because I know revenge is coming.  Carsyn hides behind a corner with a squirming tadpole in her hand.  Carsyn’s hand is feeling sick to her palm because of the tadpole.  Carsyn is a hawk waiting for its prey to arrive as she waits for me.  I run outside and hide in the barn.  Carsyn finally comes outside hollering my name, “FAITH! FAITH!”

Carsyn opens the barn door to find me rolled up in a ball behind the hay.  We hear a car rolling up, and it is my mom. Carsyn walks me back to her house and grabs my things.  When I am in my car, I look out of my window and see Carsyn waving her little hand goodbye.  I think to myself, Carsyn will always be my best friend in the whole world and this play date is going to be a memory forever.  Carsyn will always be my HERO!

 Costa Rican Adventure

“Kevin!” my mom called anxiously, “I have something exciting to show you!” I ran over to where my mom was sitting in our condo in Costa Rica. Lying in front of her were a few tickets. As I read them quietly, my eyes bulged. “We’re going to see leatherback turtles on the beach tonight!” I shouted in amazement.

Well, we have our tickets and we will be leaving for the beach at around midnight. This is going to be spectacular, as I have been informed that the turtle could lay close to one hundred eggs. But now I will have to go to bed, so that I can be ready for the midnight walk on the beach. See you in a few hours.

We are all walking anxiously down the road with our flashlights to the beach patrol station. There we wait for the patrol, a small group of leatherback turtle experts searching the beach for turtles, to report back to the station. We have been waiting for hours and there is little to do here in the dark of the night. Some people are watching a strange Spanish movie, but I am too excited to watch. Even the beach is getting tired, waiting for the turtles to come.

The patrol is finally back with good news, and we are leaving to see the giant turtles now. The guides will use infra-red light so as to not bother the sensitive turtles, but we will still be able to see them in the moonlight. It is a long, tiring walk down the soft, sandy beach, and I wonder if it is all worth it.

When we finally arrive to where the turtle is nesting, I see her enormous size. We slowly walk over to her as she is digging a hole in the sand. She gently turns and begins to lay her eggs. There are so many piling up, one after another, like an army of eggs being made. It is time to leave this breathtaking sight, and as we walk back, we spot another turtle. It is a green turtle and we stop for a few minutes to quietly look.

This has been an amazing sight, one I will remember for the rest of my life! The turtle was even a little bigger than me! All the sights, colors, and textures of Costa Rica are unforgettable, and I will remember them forever!

Almost Washed Away

“Beep, beep!  It’s almost time to go,” my mom told me.  It was six a.m., and I was extremely tired.  My mom was honking the car horn like an alarm clock nonstop until my brother, my dad, and I were in the car.

Then in a split second, we were off to Santa Cruz!  The ride was four hours, and I got bored really quickly.  Then I fell asleep. Next, I slowly woke up again to the shaking movement of the car stopping.  We were at the huge hotel, The Marriott. Once we did a quick check-in, we sped off to the Boardwalk.

I was so excited when I saw the awesome speed rides, but I was scared when I saw the drop rides.  Soon my brother was dragging me onto a big water ride with an enormous drop.  I started to shiver.  Sadly, I was in the fourth grade, and I was tall enough for the ride.  It was cold on the ride.  When we went down, I closed my eyes and screamed.  Finally, it was over, and then we went on the beach because I was too frightened to go on any other rides.  So we went to the water by the Boardwalk.

It was steaming hot like a pot of soup over the fire, but the ocean felt like an ice cold slushy.  When I was in the water, I noticed big waves, and when I say big, I mean really, really big waves.  So my brother made up a game.  It was about chasing a wave, and then letting it chase you back to shore.  We played this game for a long time, and within five minutes, I was soaking wet.

Then, as I was in the middle of the sea and shore, I bent down to scratch my foot.  All of a sudden, bam!  I was tackled by a giant blue monster.  I couldn’t breathe at all, and I was lying on the sand in seconds.  Then I started to move backwards, as the wake began dragging me into its treacherous dungeon.

However, I was not going to be a prisoner so I started to fight back.  I dug my toes into the sand, I gripped a rock nearby, and I pulled myself up.  Then I wobbled and ran over to the place where my mom and dad were sitting.

“Smile,” my mom said, as she flashed a small silver camera out from her hands.  I gave a small one.

“Land,” I gasped.

Then I collapsed onto the blanket, still gurgling sea water.  It tasted like seaweed mixed with a pound of salt.  I quickly coughed it out.  Finally, when my body as ocean-free, I told my mom what had happened and closed my eyes.

My mom said she had not seen anything, perhaps because it happened so quickly.  Nevertheless, it had felt like a whole half hour to me!  When it was time to leave, I was glad.  We spent only one night at the hotel, and left for home the next day.

At last, I was away from the wave.  Now I am more careful when I am playing in the sea, and every day, I see that picture from when I almost drowned, and it reminds me to be cautious.  I am so glad that the wave didn’t take me because I would have been in the water’s prison forever.  However, I guess it was a great trip after all because of that one most memorable experience in the ocean.

Tenacious Tubing Accidents

Vroom, vroom, gurgle, gurgle went the boat’s engine as the rope extended, bringing Kayla and me out into the desolate, deserted Lake Sonoma.  “Emma, you’re shaking,” Kayla said in an amused tone.  It was then that I realized that I wasn’t shaking from the cold, but from the mere idea of Daniel, Kayla’s dad, driving our boat.

Take One of Kayla and Emma’s tubing experience…ACTION!  Suddenly, I feel us sinking, as Kayla and I somersault into the deep, dark lake, flipping outrageously.  From what I’ve learned of Kayla, don’t be near her when she’s mad and her jaw goes crooked.  If you are, then you are in trouble!  Well, I obviously forgot this, so when I got out of the twisted ball Kayla and I made under water, Kayla unleashes her wrath on me, and pushes me beneath the water for no apparent reason.  Do I know why?  No!

“Kayla, what was that for?” I interrogated Kayla.

“Your leg was caught on me,” she told me.  We sorted things out and decided to try again.

“Kayla and Emma, you guys need to lean back before you go.  That’s why you sunk,” Daniel instructed us.

Take Two of Kayla and Emma’s tubing experience…ACTION!  Daniel decides to trick us by going straight and at a normal pace.  Then suddenly…he begins doing fast donuts (going in circles), which are the worst.  We are caught in a three-way tsunami.  Daniel knows his waves.  Clearly, he wants to wipe us out.  So when he discovers that Kayla and I are still snug, tight in the tube, he chooses to go full out.  He starts to move the boat in slow donuts (which is even worse than fast donuts because it is like being on a sailboat in an ocean during a storm).  The next thing I know, Kayla is holding on for dear life.  I am just about to die laughing until the wipeout wave comes.  I fly high into the air and land on my left shoulder onto Kayla’s back.  Man, is she going to be mad!  I swim away as fast as I can, like a fish swimming away from a hungry shark.  The shark is always faster and catches up to its prey, but when Kayla swims up next to me, she is la8ghing and choking on water, saying she will never forget this experience.  Thank goodness she didn’t kill me!

When I see the orange flag being held up by Cole, Kayla’s little brother, I think, HE IS NEXT!  Kayla and I take a break so we can catch our breath.  We eat our turkey sandwiches stuffed with Nacho Cheese Doritos while we watch the torment happen to Cole.  Out of nowhere, he starts flipping outrageously, but he still has a grip on that tube.  I feel like I may choke on my sandwich seeing Cole so scared.  Next Daniel makes a sharp turn, and Cole goes airborne because he is so light.  Finally, Cole decides to take a break, too.

Now Linda, Kayla’s mom, wants to take us for a spin.  This can’t be that bad.  Linda is a normal driver, or so I think.  Linda is just a clueless, innocent, hot mama.  I know she won’t hurt us, but she isn’t an expert driver.  What if something goes wrong because she cannot stop the boat?  I put those thoughts behind me and climb onto the tube.  It is so quiet and serene out in the lake.  The only thing I can hear is Kayla blabbing off about random things.  It becomes annoying after a while so I usually just zone her out.

Before I know it, I am holding onto Kayla’s side of the tube with one arm, while my other arm is crumpled at my side, and I am lying over Kayla and the tube like an “x.”  Well, at least Kayla is safe and sound.  “Emma?  Ha ha ha ha!  What are you doing?” she says, laughing and choking on her spit that flies into my hair.  Wow, Linda is doing pretty well as the boat’s driver.  I think that too early apparently because Linda starts zigzagging crazily, like a kid cutting paper for the very first time.  It is insane!  I feel bad for Kayla because I’m bouncing right on her now.  Bang!  I fly up and land on my stomach right on top of Kayla on the tube.  I am now hanging off the edge of the tube.  Fling!  That’s the sound of me flying off the tube and into the treacherous lake.

Finally, I am done tubing for the day so I put on my clothes and wrap a blanket around me.  I have learned my lesson!  If you want an experience, go tubing with the Kupers.  If you want to be a wimp, don’t tube with that family.  I will always remember this experience.

 My Extreme and Deathly Fright

It was a horribly hot day, and the sun was melting me.  I had pounds of butterflies in my stomach.  Every time I drew closer to my absolute doom, I thought more about whether or not I really wanted to do this.  Finally, it was time.

My sister and I climbed onto the ripped-up, red seat and pulled down the hot, sweaty handle that would soon be protecting us in the car that would carry us through the scorching, sickening, insane, storming roller coaster ride called Roar, which you should eternally never ride.

I was like a little innocent bug about to be face-to-face with one giant and one big, black bear.  As soon as the ride started, we had enormous, nervous smiles on our faces and shaking Chihuahua bodies.  The ride started out leisurely, but when we made the first turn, all I could see was a blurred Six Flags, my sister, and my babysitter.  I heard screaming teenagers and clapping hands at animal shows.  I saw all the grand roller coasters, splashing water, and believe it or not, I saw the drop we were about to take and all the twists and turns that would make us feel sick.  I smelled the smelly smell of something smelly that I think was gross corn dogs, ridiculously stinky fish, and perspiring people.  I felt my sister’s sweaty hand and the ripped-up red seat that scratched my legs.  I also tasted my sandwich from earlier in the day and wondered how this could become any worse.

I soon found out how because the roller coaster was going up, up, up the roller coaster hill, so I grabbed hands with my sister and then, “AAAAAHHHHHHHHH! Get me off of here!” we both screamed in unison.

“It’s okay.  Relax,” counseled my babysitter, Alisa.  However, it was far from okay.  It was the end of my life.  I just knew there wasn’t going to be any tomorrow for me.  I was going to be dead.

Then all of a sudden, I heard the most deathly sound anybody could ever hear in her whole, entire life:  the sound of roller coaster tracks.  We went up, down, around, and almost upside down!  At this point, I felt sick.  I had a horrible stomachache, and my head was spinning at what was what, and I felt weak, weak as if I had no bones in my body at all.  I call that bum bones.  Although I didn’t know what to do, there was one alternative left to me since I had a brain—to think.  So I thought while I was breathing heavily, twisting and turning and screaming, and I just decided to put my head down and try to let the rocking created by the giant and the big, black bear soothe me, but that was the impossibility of the century because to think and to try to relax on a roller coaster…let me tell you now, it’s impossible!

As soon as we passed through another couple of twists and turns, it was like the ride would never end, and I would have to be on this torturous roller coaster the rest of my life.  I would have to sleep on the roller coaster, eat on the roller coaster, and even do my business on a roller coaster.  However, what scared me the most was that I would never see my family again, but then I remembered my thought from earlier.  I was going to be dead, as dead as anyone could ever be.

“Please, have only one more rumble, rumble,” I begged silently.  “Please have only one more ‘big, fantastic turn.’  Please have only one more anything,” I thought because nobody wants to be as dead as anybody could ever be.  Luckily, there was only one more rumble, rumble.  Luckily, there was only one more “big, fantastic turn,” but there was not only one more of anything because we did a final roller coaster hill drop and then, “AAAAAHHHHHHHHH! Get me off of here!” we both screamed again.

“It’s okay.  Relax,” said my babysitter, and luckily, this time it was okay.  We were right back where we had started, the place where we first had our big, nervous smiles on our faces.  We were where I learned that I can overcome my fears and I have the guts to do anything.  I learned that anybody can do anything, and that when people tell you that you can do something, they are right.  You can.

 

Updated, March 2, 2017 | We published an updated version of this list, “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing,” as well as a companion piece, “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing.”


Every school day since 2009 we’ve asked students a question based on an article in The New York Times. Now, five years later, we’ve collected 500 of them that invite narrative and personal writing and pulled them all together in one place (available here as a PDF).

The categorized list below touches on everything from sports to travel, education, gender roles, video games, fashion, family, pop culture, social media and more, and, like all our Student Opinion questions, each links to a related Times article and includes a series of follow-up questions. What’s more, all these questions are still open for comment by any student 13 or older.

So dive into this admittedly overwhelming list and pick the questions that most inspire you to tell an interesting story, describe a memorable event, observe the details in your world, imagine a possibility, or reflect on who you are and what you believe.


Childhood Memories

  1. What Was Your Most Precious Childhood Possession?
  2. What Were Your Favorite Childhood Shows and Characters?
  3. What Were Your Favorite Picture Books When You Were Little?
  4. What Things Did You Create When You Were a Child?
  5. What Places Do You Remember Fondly From Childhood?
  6. Have You Ever Felt Embarrassed by Things You Used to Like?
  7. Do You Wish You Could Return to Moments From Your Past?
  8. Was There a Toy You Wanted as a Child but Never Got?
  9. What Objects Tell the Story of Your Life?
  10. What Are Your Best Sleepover Memories?
  11. What’s the Best Gift You’ve Ever Given or Received?
  12. What’s the Most Memorable Thing You Ever Got in the Mail?
  13. What Nicknames Have You Ever Gotten or Given?

  14. Coming of Age

  15. What Have You Learned in Your Teens?
  16. What Personal Achievements Make You Proud?
  17. What Are Some Recent Moments of Happiness in Your Life?
  18. What Are You Grateful For?
  19. What Rites of Passage Have You Participated In?
  20. What Advice Would You Give Younger Kids About Middle or High School?
  21. What Can Older People Learn From Your Generation?
  22. What Do Older Generations Misunderstand About Yours?

  23. Family

  24. Who Is Your Family?
  25. What Have You and Your Family Accomplished Together?
  26. What Events Have Brought You Closer to Your Family?
  27. What’s Your Role in Your Family?
  28. Have You Ever Changed a Family Member’s Mind?
  29. How Do You Define ‘Family’?
  30. What Are Your Family Stories of Sacrifice?
  31. What Possessions Does Your Family Treasure?
  32. What Hobbies Have Been Passed Down in Your Family?
  33. How Much Do You Know About Your Family’s History?
  34. Did Your Parents Have a Life Before They Had Kids?
  35. How Close Are You to Your Parents?
  36. How Are You and Your Parents Alike and Different?
  37. Do Your Parents Support Your Learning?
  38. What Have Your Parents Taught You About Money?
  39. Do You Expect Your Parents to Give You Money?
  40. How Permissive Are Your Parents?
  41. Do You Have Helicopter Parents?
  42. How Do Your Parents Teach You to Behave?
  43. How Do You Make Parenting Difficult for Your Parents?
  44. If You Drink or Use Drugs, Do Your Parents Know?
  45. Do You Talk About Report Cards With Your Parents?
  46. Would You Mind if Your Parents Blogged About You?
  47. How Well Do You Get Along With Your Siblings?
  48. How Well Do You Know Your Pet?
  49. What Role Do Pets Play in Your Family?
  50. What Is Your Racial and Ethnic Identity?
  51. Have You Ever Tried to Hide Your Racial or Ethnic Identity?
  52. How Do You Feel About Your Last Name?
  53. What’s the Story Behind Your Name?
  54. What Are Your Favorite Names?
  55. How Have You Paid Tribute to Loved Ones?

  56. Community and Home

  57. Would You Most Want to Live in a City, a Suburb or the Country?
  58. How Much Does Your Neighborhood Define Who You Are?
  59. What’s Special About Your Hometown?
  60. What Would You Name Your Neighborhood?
  61. Who Is the ‘Mayor’ of Your School or Neighborhood?
  62. Who Are the ‘Characters’ That Make Your Town Interesting?
  63. What Would a TV Show About Your Town Spoof?
  64. What ‘Urban Legends’ Are There About Places in Your Area?
  65. What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve?
  66. Do You Know Your Way Around Your City or Town?
  67. Have You Ever Interacted With the Police?
  68. How Often Do You Interact With People of Another Race or Ethnicity?
  69. Who Would Be the Ideal Celebrity Neighbor?
  70. What Is Your Favorite Place?
  71. How Much Time Do You Spend in Nature?
  72. What Small Things Have You Seen and Taken Note Of Today?
  73. What Would Your Dream Home Be Like?
  74. What is Your Favorite Place in Your House?
  75. How Important Is Keeping a Clean House?
  76. Is Your Bedroom a Nightmare?
  77. Do You Plan on Saving Any of Your Belongings for the Future?
  78. With Your Home in Danger, What Would You Try to Save?
  79. What Would You Put in Your Emergency ‘Go-Bag’?
  80. Have You Ever Lost (or Found) Something Valuable?

  81. Personality

  82. What Is Your Personal Credo?
  83. What Motivates You?
  84. What Makes You Happy?
  85. What Are You Good At?
  86. How Much Self-Control Do You Have?
  87. How Good Are You at Waiting for What You Really Want?
  88. What Role Does Procrastination Play in Your Life?
  89. When in Your Life Have You Been a Leader?
  90. How Well Do You Perform Under Pressure?
  91. How Well Do You Take Criticism?
  92. Are You Hard or Easy on Yourself?
  93. How Full Is Your Glass?
  94. Do You Have a Hard Time Making Decisions?
  95. How Good Are You at Time Management?
  96. How Productive and Organized Are You?
  97. How Would Your Life Be Different if You Had Better Listening Skills?
  98. How Competitive Are You?
  99. Do You Perform Better When You’re Competing or When You’re Collaborating?
  100. Do You Take More Risks When You Are Around Your Friends?
  101. Do You Unknowingly Submit to Peer Pressure?
  102. How Much of a Daredevil Are You?
  103. What Pranks, Jokes, Hoaxes or Tricks Have You Ever Fallen For or Perpetrated?
  104. How Do You React When Provoked?
  105. How Often Do You Cry?
  106. Do You Think You’re Brave?
  107. What Are You Afraid Of?
  108. What Are Your Fears and Phobias?
  109. What Are Your Personal Superstitions?
  110. Do You Like Being Alone?
  111. How Impulsive Are You?
  112. Are You a Novelty-Seeker?
  113. What Annoys You?
  114. Do You Apologize Too Much?
  115. Do You Have Good Manners?
  116. Are You a Saver or a Tosser?
  117. Are You More Introvert or Extrovert?
  118. Are You Popular, Quirky or Conformist?
  119. Are You a Nerd or a Geek?
  120. What Would Your Personal Mascot Be?
  121. What Assumptions Do People Make About You?

  122. Overcoming Adversity

  123. What Challenges Have You Overcome?
  124. What Do You Do When You Encounter Obstacles to Success?
  125. What Are Your Secret Survival Strategies?
  126. How Do You Find Peace in Your Life?
  127. How Have You Handled Being the ‘New Kid’?
  128. Do You Ever Feel Overlooked and Underappreciated?
  129. How Stressed Are You?
  130. How Do You Relieve Stress?
  131. Does Stress Affect Your Ability to Make Good Decisions?
  132. What Challenges Have You Set for Yourself?
  133. How Often Do You Leave Your ‘Comfort Zone’?
  134. What Did You Once Hate but Now Like?
  135. Does Your Life Leave You Enough Time to Relax?
  136. Do You Set Rules for Yourself About How You Use Your Time?
  137. Is ‘Doing Nothing’ a Good Use of Your Time?
  138. What’s Cluttering Up Your Life?
  139. What Work Went Into Reaching Your Most Difficult Goals?
  140. When Have You Ever Failed at Something? What Happened as a Result?
  141. When Have You Ever Succeeded When You Thought You Might Fail?
  142. What Life Lessons Has Adversity Taught You?
  143. What’s the Most Challenging Assignment You’ve Ever Had?
  144. What Kind of Feedback Helps You Improve?
  145. Is Trying Too Hard to Be Happy Making You Sad?
  146. Do Adults Who Are ‘Only Trying to Help’ Sometimes Make Things Worse?
  147. What Are Five Everyday Problems That Bother You, and What Can You Do About Them?

  148. Gender and Sexuality

  149. How Do Male and Female Roles Differ in Your Family?
  150. Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
  151. Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies?
  152. How Much Pressure Do Boys Face to Have the Perfect Body?
  153. How Did You Learn About Sex?
  154. How Should Parents Address Internet Pornography?
  155. What Experiences Have You Had With Gender Bias in School?
  156. What Have Been Your Experiences With Catcalling or Other Kinds of Street Harassment?
  157. Do You Know Boys Who Regard Girls as ‘Prey’?
  158. Do You Consider Yourself a Feminist?

  159. Morality and Religion

  160. How Do You Help?
  161. What Ethical Dilemmas Have You Faced?
  162. Would You Help an Injured Stranger?
  163. When Is the Last Time You Did Something Nice for a Stranger?
  164. Have You Ever ‘Paid It Forward’?
  165. How Much Do You Gossip?
  166. How Comfortable Are You With Lying?
  167. Have You Ever Taken Something You Weren’t Supposed To?
  168. What Could You Live Without?
  169. Do You Ever Feel Guilty About What, or How Much, You Throw Away?
  170. Do You Ever Eavesdrop?
  171. How Important Is Your Spiritual Life?
  172. Do You Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason?
  173. Can You Be Good Without God?
  174. Are You Less Religious Than Your Parents?
  175. Can You Pass a Basic Religion Test?
  176. What Can You Learn From Other Religions?

  177. Role Models

  178. Who Is Your Role Model?
  179. Who Are Your Heroes?
  180. Who Inspires You?
  181. What’s the Best Advice You’ve Gotten?
  182. Who Outside Your Family Has Made a Difference in Your Life?
  183. If You Had Your Own Talk Show, Whom Would You Want to Interview?
  184. To Whom, or What, Would You Like to Write a Thank-You Note?
  185. What Leader Would You Invite to Speak at Your School?
  186. What Six People, Living or Dead, Would You Invite to Dinner?

  187. Technology and Video Games

  188. Are You Distracted by Technology?
  189. Do You Always Have Your Phone or Tablet at Your Side?
  190. What Tech Tools Play the Biggest Role in Your Life?
  191. What New Technologies or Tech Toys Are You Most Excited About?
  192. To What Piece of Technology Would You Write a ‘Love Letter’?
  193. Does Your Digital Life Have Side Effects?
  194. Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?
  195. Do You Spend Too Much Time on Smart Phones Playing ‘Stupid Games’?
  196. When Do You Choose Making a Phone Call Over Sending a Text?
  197. Do You Know How to Code? Would You Like to Learn?
  198. Whom Would You Share Your Passwords With?
  199. What Are Your Favorite Video Games?
  200. What Have You Learned Playing Video Games?
  201. Do You Play Violent Video Games?
  202. When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies?
  203. Who Are Your Opponents in Online Gaming?
  204. Do You Like Watching Other People Play Video Games?

  205. The Internet

  206. How Careful Are You Online?
  207. Do You Ever Seek Advice on the Internet?
  208. How Do You Know if What You Read Online Is True?
  209. How Much Do You Trust Online Reviews?
  210. How Do You Use Wikipedia?
  211. What Are Your Favorite Internet Spoofs?
  212. What Are Your Favorite Viral Videos?
  213. What Would You Teach the World in an Online Video?
  214. What Are Your Experiences With Internet-Based Urban Legends?
  215. What Story Does Your Personal Data Tell?
  216. Do You Worry About the Lack of Anonymity in the Digital Age?
  217. Do You Wish You Had More Privacy Online?
  218. Have You Ever Been Scammed?

  219. Social Media

  220. How Do You Use Facebook?
  221. What Is Your Facebook Persona?
  222. What Memorable Experiences Have You Had on Facebook?
  223. Does Facebook Ever Make You Feel Bad?
  224. Would You Consider Deleting Your Facebook Account?
  225. Do You Have ‘Instagram Envy’?
  226. Do You Use Twitter?
  227. Why Do You Share Photos?
  228. How Do You Archive Your Life?
  229. Have You Ever Posted, Emailed or Texted Something You Wish You Could Take Back?
  230. Have You Ever Sent an Odd Message Because of Auto-Correct?
  231. Would You Want Your Photo or Video to Go Viral?
  232. Do You Worry Colleges or Employers Might Read Your Social Media Posts Someday?

  233. Music

  234. What Are You Listening To?
  235. Who in Your Life Introduces You to New Music?
  236. How Much Is Your Taste in Music Based on What Your Friends Like?
  237. What Music Inspires You?
  238. How Closely Do You Listen to Lyrics?
  239. Which Pop Music Stars Fascinate You?
  240. Who Is Your Favorite Pop Diva?
  241. What’s Your Karaoke Song?
  242. What Song/Artist Pairings Would You Like to Hear?

  243. Movies, Theater and Television

  244. What Were the Best Movies You Saw in the Past Year?
  245. What Movies Do You Watch, or Reference, Over and Over?
  246. What Movies, Shows or Books Do You Wish Had Sequels, Spinoffs or New Episodes?
  247. Do You Like Horror Movies?
  248. Who Are Your Favorite Movie Stars?
  249. Would You Pay Extra for a 3-D Movie?
  250. What Is Your Favorite Comedy?
  251. What Are the Best Live Theatrical Performances You’ve Ever Seen?
  252. Have You Ever Stumbled Upon a Cool Public Performance?
  253. What Role Does Television Play in Your Life and the Life of Your Family?
  254. What Television Shows Have Mattered to You?
  255. Do Your Television Viewing Habits Include ‘Binge-Watching’?
  256. How Often Do You Watch a Television Show When It Originally Airs?
  257. What Old Television Shows Would You Bring Back?
  258. Why Do We Like Reality Shows So Much?
  259. What Ideas Do You Have for a Reality Show?
  260. What Are Your Favorite Commercials?
  261. How Much Are You Influenced by Advertising?

  262. Reading, Writing and Fine Arts

  263. Read Any Good Books Lately?
  264. Do You Read for Pleasure?
  265. What Are Your Favorite Books and Authors?
  266. What Are the Best Things You’ve Read, Watched, Heard or Played This Year?
  267. What Are Your Favorite Young Adult Novels?
  268. What’s on Your Summer Reading List?
  269. What Memorable Poetry Have You Ever Read or Heard?
  270. What Are Your Favorite Cartoons?
  271. What Magazines Do You Read, and How Do You Read Them?
  272. Do You Enjoy Reading Tabloid Gossip?
  273. When Have You Seen Yourself and Your Life Reflected in a Book or Other Media?
  274. Do You Prefer Your Children’s Book Characters Obedient or Contrary?
  275. Do You Read E-Books?
  276. Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions?
  277. To What Writer Would You Award a Prize?
  278. Why Do You Write?
  279. Do You Keep a Diary or Journal?
  280. Do You Have a Blog?
  281. Do You Want to Write a Book?
  282. When Do You Write by Hand?
  283. Do You Write in Cursive?
  284. Do You Write in Your Books?
  285. What ‘Mundane Moments’ From Your Life Might Make Great Essay Material?
  286. What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in a Museum?
  287. What Are the Most Memorable Works of Visual Art You Have Seen?
  288. What Are Your Favorite Works of Art?

  289. Language and Speech

  290. What Are Your Favorite and Least Favorite Words?
  291. What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused?
  292. How Much Slang Do You Use? What Are Your Favorite (Printable) Words?
  293. How Much Do You Curse? Why?
  294. Why Do So Many People Say ‘Like’ and ‘Totally’ All the Time?
  295. Do You Sometimes ‘Hide’ Behind Irony?
  296. How Good Is Your Grammar?
  297. What New Emoticons Does the World Need?
  298. Are You Fluent in Vocal Fry, Creaky Voice or Uptalk?
  299. How Much Information Is ‘Too Much Information’?
  300. When Did You Last Have a Great Conversation?
  301. Do You Speak a Second, or Third, Language?
  302. When Do You Remember Learning a New Word?

  303. School and Teachers

  304. Do You Like School?
  305. What Are You Really Learning at School?
  306. What Are You Looking Forward To, or Dreading, This School Year?
  307. Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled?
  308. Would You Like to Take a Class Online?
  309. Would You Rather Attend a Public or a Private High School?
  310. How Would You Grade Your School?
  311. What Can Other Schools Learn — and Copy — From Your School?
  312. Is Your School Day Too Short?
  313. What Do You Hope to Get Out of High School?
  314. Do You Have Too Much Homework?
  315. Does Your Homework Help You Learn?
  316. What Is Your Best Subject?
  317. What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math?
  318. Are You Afraid of Math?
  319. Do We Need a New Way to Teach Math?
  320. What Are the Best Ways to Learn About History?
  321. How Would You Do on a Civics Test?
  322. How Important Is Arts Education?
  323. What Is Your Most Memorable Writing Assignment?
  324. What Would You Like to Have Memorized?
  325. Does Your School Value Students’ Digital Skills?
  326. What Was Your Favorite Field Trip?
  327. Do You Participate in Class?
  328. What Are Your Best Tips for Studying?
  329. Do You Use Study Guides?
  330. Is Everything You’ve Been Taught About Study Habits Wrong?
  331. How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?
  332. Do You Have a Tutor?
  333. Are Your Grades Inflated?
  334. When Has a Teacher Inspired You?
  335. What Teacher Do You Appreciate?
  336. What Teacher Would You Like to Thank?
  337. What Do You Wish Your Teachers Knew About You?
  338. Do Your Test Scores Reflect How Good Your Teachers Are?
  339. Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?

  340. School Social Environment

  341. What Role Do School Clubs and Teams Play in Your Life?
  342. Who Has the Power in School Social Life?
  343. How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?
  344. Does Your School Seem Integrated?
  345. What’s the Racial Makeup of Your School?
  346. Do You Ever ‘Mix It Up’ and Socialize With Different People at School?
  347. Can Students at Your School Talk Openly About Their Mental Health Issues?
  348. Is Your School a ‘Party School’?
  349. How Common Is Drug Use in Your School?
  350. Do You Know People Who Cheat on High-Stakes Tests?
  351. How Does Your School Deal With Students Who Misbehave?
  352. How Much Does Your Life in School Intersect With Your Life Outside School?
  353. Would You Ever Go Through Hazing to Be Part of a Group?

  354. Senior Year, College and Applications

  355. Where Do You Want to Go to College?
  356. What Are Your Sources for Information About Colleges and Universities?
  357. Is College Overrated?
  358. How Much Does the SAT or ACT Matter in Your Life?
  359. What Personal Essay Topic Would You Assign to College Applicants?
  360. What Qualities Would You Look For in a College Roommate?
  361. What Would You Do With a Gap Year?
  362. What Makes a Graduation Ceremony Memorable?
  363. How Do You Feel About Proms?

  364. Work and Careers

  365. What Are Your Longtime Interests or Passions?
  366. Do You Have a Life Calling?
  367. What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?
  368. Do You Think You Will Have a Career That You Love?
  369. What Investment Are You Willing to Make to Get Your Dream Job?
  370. Would You Consider a Nontraditional Occupation?
  371. Would You Want to Be a Teacher?
  372. What Hidden Talents Might You Have?
  373. What Do You Hope to Be Doing the Year After You Graduate From College?
  374. Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office?
  375. What Career or Technical Classes Do You Wish Your School Offered?
  376. What ‘Back-to-the-Land’ Skills Do You Have, or Wish You Had?
  377. What Have You Made Yourself?
  378. What Would You Create if You Had Funding?
  379. How Did You Start Doing Something You Love?
  380. Did You Ever Take a Break From Doing Something You Love?
  381. What Have You Done to Earn Money?
  382. Do You Have a Job?
  383. Would You Quit if Your Values Did Not Match Your Employer’s?
  384. What Are Your Attitudes Toward Money?
  385. Can Money Buy You Happiness?
  386. Where Do You See Yourself in 10 Years?
  387. What Do You Want to Be Doing When You’re 80?
  388. Do You Want to Live to 100?
  389. What Do You Want Your Obituary to Say?

  390. Dating and Friendship

  391. Have You Ever Been in Love?
  392. What Are the Most Meaningful Relationships in Your Life?
  393. What Advice Would You Give to Somebody Who Just Started Dating?
  394. What Are the Basic ‘Rules’ for Handling Breakups?
  395. What Are Your Beliefs About Marriage?
  396. Are You Allowed to Date?
  397. Is Dating a Thing of the Past?
  398. Do You Have a Best Friend?
  399. How Do You Feel About Introducing Friends from Different Parts of Your Life?
  400. How Should You Handle the End of a Friendship?
  401. How Often Do You Have ‘Deep Discussions’?

  402. Sports, Exercise and Games

  403. Do You Like to Exercise?
  404. How Has Exercise Changed Your Health, Your Body or Your Life?
  405. Why Do You Play Sports?
  406. What Is the Most Memorable Sporting Event You’ve Ever Watched or Played In?
  407. What’s the Most Impressive Sports Moment You’ve Seen?
  408. When Has a Sports Team Most Disappointed You?
  409. What Sports Teams Do You Root For?
  410. Does Being a Fan Help Define Who You Are?
  411. How Far Would You Go to Express Loyalty to Your Favorite Teams?
  412. What Fan Memorabilia Would You Pay Big Bucks For?
  413. What Rules Would You Like to See Changed in Your Favorite Sports?
  414. What Game Would You Like to Redesign?
  415. What Are Your Favorite Games?

  416. Travel

  417. Where in the World Would You Travel if You Could?
  418. What Is Your Fantasy Vacation?
  419. What Would Your Fantasy Road Trip Be Like?
  420. What Crazy Adventure Would You Want to Take?
  421. How Has Travel Affected You?
  422. What Famous Landmarks Have You Visited?
  423. What’s the Coolest Thing You’ve Ever Seen in Nature?
  424. What Are the Best Souvenirs You’ve Ever Collected While Traveling?
  425. Would You Like to Live in Another Country?
  426. Would You Want to Be a Space Tourist?

  427. Looks, Fashion and Health

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