Guidelines for the topic
Focus on a hobby that you did for self-fulfillment and enjoyment, not to earn money or to improve your shape or health. If you earned money from it, do not write about it. Avoid hobbies that can be mistaken for earning money, even if you did not earn any money. Some examples are sewing, working on cars, cutting hair, etc….Focus on sports, needle work, art work, handcrafts, and so on.
Students who picked this topic wrote about music, soccer, basketball, diving, knitting, cross stitching, flying, etc…. Discuss doing, not watching. Watching is not a hobby; it is an interest. Differentiate between what you enjoy and what do. If you enjoy listening to music, that is not a hobby for this essay. If you enjoy traveling, that is not a hobby for this essay. Keep in mind that you are writing for a general audience. The essay has to be about a hobby that the general public is familiar with.
Stay away from video games and from mechanical skills such as building or fixing cars, bikes, etc…
Guidelines for developing the essay
In the introduction, introduce this one hobby, when and how you started it. In the thesis statement make a statement about its effects on your personality and on your life. The thesis statement should contain the key words of the given topic and the name of the hobby: Name of hobby � changed- me -in many ways. Each topic sentence should begin with: a transition + effect on me. Examples: one effect (the hobby/basketball/knitting/running/painting, etc…) had on me was that …..
In the body paragraphs, discuss the effects during the time that you were pursuing it and stayed with you after you stopped doing it if you have stopped.
What the essay has to discuss
This essay is about something you do or you did over a period of time. It is about how the process of doing it changed you as a person. It is about skills and qualities you acquired and values you learned.
Effects this essay may discuss are such as:developing social skills, bonding with the family, boosting self-esteem, learning to prioritize, staying focused, etc…. Other skills acquired that can be discussed may be dedication, perseverance, teamwork, flexibility, decision making, commitment, etc…The essay has to show how this hobby developed teamwork, flexibility, decision making or any other skills or trait in you. For example:
Playing basketball taught me teamwork. (Now explain how playing basketball taught you teamwork. Then explain how this is a life skill: How you apply teamwork in life today.
Reminder: This is a personal essay and you have to discuss how it affected you personally. Do not shift to a general essay on the effects of physical activity or music, for example. Do not explain how it is done or how it works.
What the essay cannot discuss
Do not discuss a military related skill or something that you had to do for your health, such as diet and exercise.
Do not discuss the pleasure, thrill, relaxation, and satisfaction you felt while practicing it. It is understood that a hobby is enjoyable even though it can be frustrating (or relaxing).
Do not write a love story of the hobby or a life story of the hobby. Only discuss the changes it brought to you as a person.
Do not discuss the skills that you learned to perform or do this activity.
Do not explain how to do it. For example, do not describe how to play basketball. Only discuss the effects.
Do not write about extraordinary hobbies that are not widely known.
Do not choose a hobby that could be mistaken for a profession, such as cutting hair, cooking, sewing, fixing cars, making/designing jewelry, etc… Discuss a hobby that is obviously a hobby.
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