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Do you have a “universal truth” in your essay?

3 Jun

A key component of a powerful personal narrative (essay) is what’s called a “universal truth.” Basically, when the writer starts to reflect upon the personal lessons learned from his experience, he needs to make sure to show why the lesson is important to everyone else as well—that is, why it is true on a universal level.

What is a universal truth? Often, they are so “true” that they seem almost silly to say out loud. Examples: Love hurts. Be true to yourself. What goes around comes around. Cheaters never win. Never say never. Sometimes you have to lose in order to win. Sometimes you have to fail to succeed. You can’t always get what you want. Face your fears. (Try putting, “In life, …” before the universal truth to test it out.)

Read some sample essays and see if you can find the “universal truth.” In your own essays, you don’t necessarily have to state the universal truth, however, at some point you should at least touch on it, usually toward the end.