English 104

Instructor Kathy Crutcher

You’ve made it.   You’ve examined where you’re from, where you are now, and where you’re going.   Now this final essay will incorporate all three of these elements—your past, your present, and your future—by allowing you to reflect one of your guiding principles for the journey.   We finish the semester by coming full-circle, returning anew to those questions we asked ourselves on the first real day of class: What do you believe?   Where do those beliefs come from?   How do those beliefs make you who you are?    

For your final essay, you will take inspiration from National Public Radio’s (NPR) series entitled, This I Believe. This radio project began in 1950 and is committed to “engaging people in writing, sharing, and discussing the core values and beliefs that guide their daily lives” (NPR). You can find out more about this project and read sample essays at: www.thisibelieve.org

Your essay will consist of your own life stories and reflections that somehow address the following questions:

  • What is a strong belief you hold that guides your daily life?
  • When did you first recognize this belief as a core value? Has this belief ever been challenged?
  • How will this belief guide your life in the future?
  • Your essay should be focused on a story or series of related stories that convey a deeper message to your readers about what you believe.
  • You should write a strong statement that completes the sentence, “I believe…” somewhere in your essay.
  • Use first person—“I.”   Avoid “you” or “we;” speak for yourself.
  • Present your own beliefs positively, rather than criticizing others’ beliefs.
  • Avoid organizing and developing your essay around direct answers to the questions above. You don’t want to rely on telling statements like, “A strong belief that guides my daily life is….” Instead, tell a story, set a scene, and use descriptive language to show your readers what you believe and why.  
  • You need to be careful to choose language that makes your voice and experiences unique. Choosing an obvious focus may lead to cliché and/or an unmemorable essay.
  • You must also start your essay with a title that captures the spirit of your belief.
  • See http://www.thisibelieve.org/essaywritingtips.html for more helpful tips!!

Grading Criteria:

  • Do you have a strong, interesting focus?
  • Do you fulfill your purpose by telling a story (or stories) that convey a deeper message about your beliefs?
  • Do you use descriptive, sensory language?
  • Do you develop your ideas with interesting, personal details?
  • Do you have a unique style and voice?
  • Do you make this essay MATTER to a broad audience?
  • Do you include an “I believe” statement and a captivating title?

Nitty Gritty:

  • 5 p. minimum, double-spaced, 1” margins, 12 pt. Times New Roman
  • Sources are not required. You may choose to use sources if they help you reflect and tell your story. If you use a source, you must include in-text citations and a Works Cited page.
  • Draft due (for in-class work-shopping and revision): Monday, December 8th  
  • Final draft due:   Wednesday, December 10th.   NO EXCEPTIONS.    
  • This project is worth 10% of your final grade.   For grading criteria, see above as well as the SMH section entitled “Grading Criteria in UK Writing Courses,” pgs. UK 7-11
  • Write with purpose, personality, and heart.   Give it all you’ve got!

Power Lesson: “This I Believe” Essays

December 4, 2016

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“Doing homework”  by Predi is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

In this power lesson shared by high school English teacher Cynthia Ruiz , students write their own personal statements of belief. The essay pushes students to write about something that matters to them and helps them get to know each other on a deeper level.

I used to assign a “Letter to the Teacher” at the beginning of every year  to get a snapshot of how a student writes while simultaneously learning background information. Being completely honest, this assignment is also an easy way to get the first few back-to-school days started when a 90-minute class period feels like 900 minutes, because everyone is typically on their best behavior and not talking much. Although I enjoy reading the letters, the assignment doesn’t lend itself to revising and is written only for a specific, one-person audience.

I know building relationships with students is important and a way to get to know them is through their writing, so I did some research to see what other teachers were trying. I came across the “This I Believe” site  and immediately liked the concept better than an introduction letter for a teacher.

Assignment Guidelines

The first time I assigned a “This I Believe” essay was in the fall of 2014, during the second week of school. I planned it as a year-long endeavor, something we could work on as a distraction from other essays required to prepare for state testing. This past year, I did not assign it until late April; it would be our last major writing task. I wanted to give everyone plenty of time to write but held them to a firm deadline of having four weeks to work.

This time, I crafted my writing guidelines according to  those posted on the NPR site that hosts hundreds of This I Believe essays from around the world. My rubric still has some typical writing conventions, but overall I think it focuses more on student voice than structure. I made it clear that students had a lot of choice regarding both content and format. The biggest restriction came directly from the This I Believe site: a 500-600 word limit. I know a lot of writing teachers are divided when it comes to word count, but I figured it was still better than giving a specific number of required paragraphs and sentences.

One other requirement was that students use at least three “vocabulary devices.” This may seem like a restriction, but it actually supported student voice. Over the spring semester, we spent a lot of time reviewing both rhetorical and literary devices (anaphora, hypothetical questions, simile) and I told students to focus on the devices they genuinely felt comfortable using.

Helping Students Choose a Topic

Because the rubric leaves room for a lot of choice, I encouraged students to visit the featured essays site and not only read, but listen to real examples. I wanted them to see that this wasn’t just another run-of-the-mill assignment, that what they believe is important and writing is just one way to share those beliefs. I also made it a point to tell them our end goal was to share this essay with their entire class by way of a gallery walk.

After giving students time to explore the site, I had them “rush write” in their notebooks to see what immediate ideas they captured to help start the brainstorming process. Here’s the prompt I used:

This I Believe For 2 minutes: List words or ideas that you think about when you think of YOUR LIFE. (Can be feelings, symbols, names, events, etc.)

After students generated this list, I asked them to consider what they wanted to write about and share with others. I wanted them to imagine a larger audience and think outside of meeting my expectations.

For some, deciding what to write about was easy and they began drafting immediately. However, the majority of students struggled not so much with what they believe, but how to write about it. Even though they appreciated having so much choice, they still needed some direction to get started.

We continued the listing strategy by focusing on “most memorables”: most memorable events in life so far, most memorable stuffed animal, most memorable friends, family experiences, life lessons learned, and so on. I asked them to focus on why they remember what they remember, and whether or not it impacts any of their beliefs. One student remembered a saying his grandmother always told him that still provides comfort as he’s gotten older. Another focused on her family not having a big house when they first moved to America and how she’s learned to be satisfied with opportunities instead of possessions. While this strategy helped a lot of light bulbs go off, it didn’t work for everyone.

Another strategy I tried was using involved sentence stems: I know I am the way I am today because______. I know I think about things the way I do because _______. I think most people would describe me as ______. I emphasized that these phrases did not have to be included in their final products, but should help generate ideas. I talked with a few frustrated students about this strategy and they told me it made them realize they’ve never really had to think about themselves in this way, but ultimately, it gave them direction for their essays.

Drafting and Revising

Because of block scheduling, I gave students about a week and a half to complete a working draft, which required having at least two paragraphs of their essay done. I only gave a portion of two to three class periods to actually write in class; students were expected to write on their own time.

On the day drafts were due, I set aside class time for revision. I asked students to refer to the rubric and focus on voice and vocabulary strategies. Questions I told them to consider were: Does this sound like me? Do I talk like this to my friends or family? I gave students the option of reviewing their own essays or partnering up with someone to peer edit. Again, this was the end of the year, so we had already established a pretty firm community of trust in class. I don’t know if peer editing would have been as easy had I done the assignment early in the year.

Overall, draft day didn’t feel like the usual “revising and editing” days we’ve had with other essays. Students were very concerned with whether or not they were making sense, if they should add more, or if they were being too repetitive, rather than only being concerned about capitalization, spelling, and grammatical errors.

Sharing the Finished Essays

The culmination of this assignment was when the essays were shared in a gallery walk . The gallery walk is my answer to having students write for a larger audience, and it really helps this essay become about what students have to say instead of just another grade. I can’t count how many times I have returned tediously graded essays only to have a kid immediately walk over to the recycling bin and trash it! Sure he read the comments and suggestions I made, or saw the cute smiley face I left by an excellent word choice, but it didn’t mean much to him because the paper is graded and finished, and he is now done thinking about it. With a gallery walk, not only are students thinking about what they wrote, but they have the opportunity to think about what their classmates wrote as well.

I printed each essay without any names, and made sure any identifying statements were revised. However, there were quite a few students who said they were proud of what they wrote and had no problem if others knew which essay belonged to them. Because not every student turned in a final copy, I printed additional copies of some completed essays to ensure every student had something to read during our gallery walk, instead of drawing attention to the two or three students who did not finish the assignment.

I placed the essays on different tables throughout the room and allowed students to move around as needed; some chose to stand and read an essay, others opted to sit, while others sprawled out on the floor to read. I played soft music and asked that the room volume stay quiet enough to be able to hear the music at all times. I didn’t mind if students were sharing and discussing, and I really wish I recorded the various conversations and comments I overheard that day: “Wow! Did you read this one yet?” “Man. Who wrote this? I might cry. Good tears, though.” “This one is life, Ms. Ruiz.”

I provided a pad of post-its near each essay and told students to leave POSITIVE feedback for each other. I provided sentence stems to help:

Something I liked…

Something I can relate to/agree with…

Something that surprised me…

Something I want to know more about…

I really think…

I periodically checked to make sure no one was being inappropriately critical or just leaving cute hearts or check marks. I wanted students to think about what they were reading, and understand that feedback is a crucial part of the writing process

After about 40 minutes, each essay had received multiple written comments, looking similar to the picture below:

Overall, the feedback was uplifting and actually created a sense of belonging in each class. Students told me they learned so much about each other that day and were shocked by their classmates’ writing. A few said they wished they had written this essay sooner.

Sample Student Work

I was floored by some of the essays I received. Some made me laugh, some made me gasp, some made me cry. Compared to the typical papers I usually assign, this essay allowed my students to not just think about what they were writing but to care about their writing and to be intentional in the language they were using, both in word choice and rhetorical strategies, because it was about what they believe. It is some of the strongest student writing I have ever received as an English teacher.

Here are some sample paragraphs from students who gave me permission to share their work:

From a student who told me he hates school and hates writing.

From a student who by all outward appearances, comes from a traditional family.

From a student battling depression and anxiety.

From a student who missed almost a whole semester but is trying to stay in school.

Although this essay helped end the year with a strong sense of community, I think teachers could easily have students write it at the beginning of the school year or even in January at the start of a new year. I’d love to hear how other teachers have used an essay like this in their classes. ♦

Have you taught a lesson or designed a learning experience we should feature in Power Lessons? Send a full description of your lesson through our contact  form and we’ll check it out!

What to Read Next

this i believe essays should include made up stories

Categories: Instruction

Tags: English language arts , lesson planning , power lessons


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Cynthia and Jennifer, Thank you for sharing this Power Lesson; it’s one I plan on “borrowing” for sure in January. I love the connection built during the gallery walk. I can imagine this being truly powerful for all students. Well done!

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I LOVE this!! I will use this in the Spring with my students. The excerpts in the blog post were so personal. I hope the students realize what a gift they shared.

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Tonya, I agree. I’m always so grateful when students are willing to let us see their work here!

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I love this assignment. I use it every semester with Public Speaking students, following a similar brainstorm and drafting process. Since the assignment comes from a radio program, my students audio record themselves, and our celebration of the work happens through hearing each student read the essay. Very powerful hearing their voices!

Ruth, thanks so much for taking the time to share this idea. I’m sure lots of teachers will love how audio enriches this assignment.

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Thank you for sharing the students’ samples. Writing is such a great way to express oneself and when you make it personal students are engaged. ❤️ it! I am thinking about adding it as my last assignment for my 3rd graders!

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Thank you for sharing, especially the students’ work samples.This will help inspire my students to share important details about their lives. Might I also recommend an excellent book I purchased used recently: Reading, Writing and Rising Up (by Linda Christensen)

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I like this writing strategy. Last week I started something similar with my Arabic students. In groups of 3 to 4 students, they wrote stories (Brainstorm, first draft…) They started writing their final draft(with illustrations and drawings) on the butcher paper. On Monday, they will hang it on the wall and they will give each other feed back wile walking and reading each other’s essays. The problem with the foreign languages students writing is that they have brilliant ideas in English, but they cannot express them in Arabic or French… My questions is the following: Is there a way to adapt this writing strategy to World Languages students with taking into consideration the limited students’ language levels.

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I love this assignment. I use at the end of the year with my seniors. I tell them to focus on a belief that they have formed over their past years of school and that will guide them as they make steps on their next journey — college, military, work, etc. Every year I am awed by the thought and pride they take in it. Their voices shine through the papers. The emotions, ranging from joy to sadness or humor to regret, overtake their essay making each both personal and universal. I also always write one that I individualize for each class and how they have shaped or firmed one of my own beliefs.

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I love this, especially as a way to “re-enter” in January! I hope that I can use it effectively with my middle schoolers. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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YES!! This was my first lesson in my first year of teaching and it completely set the tone for the rest of the year. The work I received from eleven year olds blew my mind, and I even submitted(with their permission) a few pieces to be published because they were that deep. Bravo to this I believe essays & sharing lessons like this with other educators.

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Did you find that you had to add in any scaffolds/support for students? I want to try this with my 7th graders who really struggle with writing and getting started with ideas.

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This looks like a fabulous project and one I am keen to try out next semester.

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I, too, have been doing this assignment for a few years now. It is my favorite assignment of the year. I teach 8th grade English and I have my students share their essays aloud. We sit in a circle and listen to each student share his/her belief. It is powerful. We laugh. We cry. We learn. Having students write for an audience of their peers is challenging for them, but so rewarding in the end.

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This looks great for January. I noticed that the This I Believe website has a high school curriculum for sale for $20. Has anyone used it? Is it worth it? Necessary?

This reminds me of an assignment I had in high school. It was called our “Capstone,” and was a year-long process (12th grade). We first chose three things that were important to our lives: a person, a place, and an event. Over the first semester we wrote about these in three separate papers. Then come second semester we had to connect them with a metaphor, and put together a 20 minute presentation that connected everything. It really allowed students to get creative while expressing what was most important to us.

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Do you happen to have an example of this still? It sounds AWESOME and I would love to do it with my 8th graders!

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Your students’ essays are beautiful, authentic and inspiring, as I am sure your teaching is. Thank you for sharing.

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Thanks for the lesson. I like this idea for journaling too!

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A brilliant idea! Thanks!

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Thanks for sharing and including student work examples. Essays like this are a great way to get to know students at a deeper level and could also make a good college entrance essay!

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Thank you for sharing this. Inspirational and heartfelt writing from young people.

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This is so inspiring and beautiful. Thank you so much, both of you for sharing this power lesson. I was lookibng for a writing task muy ss could include in their e-Portafolio. Can’t wait to try it!! Thank you again!!

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I know this might be simplistic, but could you share more about the vocabulary devices?

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Hi, April! For the vocabulary devices, I’m referring to adding similes, metaphors, hyperboles, imagery, etc. We usually practice devices like anaphora and asyndeton in my advanced classes, so those can also be used. One of my favorite lines this year was: “I mean, I thought a step stool would do the job but instead it was like climbing a 20 foot ladder just to finish my goal…” We talked about how using a vocab device is more powerful than “I worked really hard.” Hope that helps! Cheers!

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This is sooooo great!! I love it!!!!!

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I love this. Has anyone tried it at the start if the year? Are students willing to write about such personal experiences and beliefs with a teacher and classmates that they don’t know well?

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Hi Lizzie! I work for Cult of Pedagogy, but I’m replying as a teacher. I teach college level freshman comp and I started my previous semester with this essay. Because it was the beginning of the year, I didn’t do a gallery walk; it was more of a practice assignment to get used to the flow of papers and feedback. They had to bring in a rough draft for in-class workshops, so I made sure they knew a few of their classmates would be reading what they wrote. For extra credit, I offered them the chance to record their paper as a “podcast” and post it on YouTube. I was blown away by how in-depth most of them went! In fact, I’m starting my fall semester with it again.

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I love this assignment in the spring for senior English. Generally, kids are appreciative that we’re doing the final writing assignment about something that is ‘real world legit’. I’ve always been impressed by their level of attention (and attendance),as our gallery walk happens on the last day of their English class in June.

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Hi! This looks like a fantastic lesson and I would love to try it with one of my English classes. I noticed that your writing guidelines link is no longer available. Is there anyway I could get this information? Thanks Kelsey

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Hi Kelsey! Thanks for letting us know about the link. This was a guest post and we will be happy to reach out to Cynthia to see if she has a current link to the writing guidelines. If so, we’ll get that updated on the post as soon as we can. Thanks again!

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I was wondering about the guidelines as well. I teach in China and we are out of school right now for Chinese New Year, so I would love to have this when we return in February. Thanks for your help!

Hi Karen & Kelsey! I wanted to follow up on your request for the guidelines to let you know that Jenn no longer has access to them. If you haven’t already done so, Jenn recommends to check out the writing guidelines posted on NPR. I hope this helps!

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I teach a course called Theory of Knowledge. One of the concepts we study is ‘faith’ as a way of knowing or gaining knowledge. I remember the “This I believe” series on the radio and then NPR. I have my students read several of the essays from the website and a few I copy from one of the books published. Then, they brainstorm and write their own essays. This spring, right before the Covid shutdown, one of my students committed suicide. I had returned his essay to him only days before; he’d written about the importance of love and relationships in life. Being able to share his essay with his mother and brother (who I had also taught) was a gift for all of us. I think the inspiration to have students write these essays was somehow a preparation for this sad experience. I like the suggestions here and may use the sentence stems to help those who struggle to get started.

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Hello! I want to say that I had some difficulties in writing essays and statements. When I entered college, the first thing I encountered was writing a quality application.

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thanks for sharing, this is really useful information for me!

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thanks for sharing informative!

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This looks like an amazing lesson plan and although it is late in the year I will try to use it. could you please send the grading rubric you used?

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Hi, there! Because this post was written so long ago,we have unfortunately lost touch with the author, Cynthia Ruiz. From what we understand, she is no longer in the classroom. However, you may be able to connect with her on Twitter by clicking on the Twitter icon at the top of the post underneath Cynthia’s name.

If you are looking to create your own rubric, the section of this post called Assignment Guidelines links to the NPR website where Cynthia found the writing guidelines that she used as a basis for her own. In addition, there is another Cult of Pedagogy post on the single-point rubric , which you might find useful. I hope this helps!

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How To Write A Winning This I Believe Essay

this i believe essay

One of the common types of academic writing you are likely to encounter is this I believe essay. In this type of essay, you are required to write about something you believe in. Note that unlike many students think, the topic does not have to be related to religion. For example, you can write about something you love or interested in.

Although writing this I believe essay might sound simple; many students find it one of the complex types of academic writing. To help make the process simpler, we created this guide to help you understand how to write the best this I believe essay. We have also highlighted the 22 hot essay ideas that you can use.

How To Write This I Believe Essays

Here’s a brief guideline on how to write a good belief essay:

  • Get a good essay topic When you are faced with the task of writing a this I believe essay, the first step is selecting a good topic. At this point, you should look for something that you have learned about through various experiences, life struggles, or humanity. Because it is a piece of academic writing, it is advisable to go for a topic that has some resources that you can use to back personal arguments. This will make the essay weighty and earn you more marks.

In the body of the essay, you should dig into more details about your beliefs. Make sure to discuss each point in a separate paragraph and provide examples to support it. If the narrative is long, break it down into several sections and use subtopics.

  • Write and proofread your essay After developing the essay structure, it is time to start writing it. Pool together the main points and write a draft. Then work on the final copy and proofread it carefully to remove all mistakes. You could even ask an unbiased friend to help proofread the essay.

Special Tips for Writing this I Believe Essay

Once your teacher asks you to write an assignment on this I believe essay; the secret is ensuring to understand a concept that you are passionate about. To make it simpler for you, try to be truthful. Here are some more tips to help you craft a winning this I believe essay:

Follow the guidelines provided by your teacher or department. Make sure to focus on the item of interest and support it with personal examples. If possible, support the essay with secondary resources. Make sure to stay positive about the topic of interest. Because you are working on something personal, make sure to write in the first person. Try to be as concise as possible. The focus should be selecting points that explain your belief and restricting the essay within the recommended number of words. Read other this I believe essay examples to understand how to craft a winning paper. Most samples can help you to understand how to structure the essay and discuss different topics.

Top This I Believe Essay Topics

The most critical thing about writing a this I believe essay is selecting a topic idea because it determines what to focus on and points to discuss. To help you get started, we are going to list 22 hot this I believe essay ideas for you. Go ahead and pick the one you prefer or tweak them to suit your preference.

  • I believe in having a lot of fun in and out of school.
  • I believe in using a mentor to build a career.
  • I believe in using advanced technology for learning.
  • I believe I am unique.
  • I believe in dreaming big and going out of my way to succeed.
  • I believe in hard work to succeed in life.
  • I believe in my facility.
  • I believe in our justice system to build a harmonious society.
  • I believe in repentance and hope.
  • I believe that time is the best way to cure pain.
  • I believe in the support of my family.
  • I believe in our culture.
  • I believe in love.
  • I believe in the power of God to heal the sick.
  • I believe in life after death.
  • I believe in doctors’ ability to help pregnant mothers safely deliver their babies.
  • I believe I can make my county better.
  • I believe in my basketball team.
  • I believe in always trusting my guts.
  • I believe in the nature top address the problem of global warming.
  • I believe in dedication to my duties at work.
  • I believe that everyone’s life is predetermined.

This I Believe Essay Topics

Are you looking for the best this I believe essay topics? You can start with these. They are all dynamic and don’t point to just one subject. They are based on different realities of life.

  • Everyone has a positive outlook on life
  • Success requires self-determination
  • Life and creativity and interlinked.
  • A good life provides a positive outlook on my life
  • There are stipulated fundamental factors to success.
  • There are many modes of achieving success.
  • Sure shortcut to reading fast
  • There isn’t any accurate journey to success.
  • Determination leads to better time management
  • Collaboration is the start of a beautiful career journey.
  • Immigrants also have beautiful lives.
  • Making the most of the available time in a day leads to more goal achievement.
  • A good life is the result of hard work and determination.
  • Many factors lead to stigmatization
  • The right implementation can help improve the health care setting.
  • Proper conservation can lead to a cleaner ecosystem and environment.
  • Well-built bonds can lead to an increase in better human relations.
  • The industrial revolution will make an impact on the world.

This I Believe Essay Topic Ideas

What do you conform to? Do you think your beliefs are similar to your neighbors? Then you can consider challenging yourself using this I believe essay topic.

  • I believe that the world can be a better place when justice is implemented
  • I believe that love can help to sustain many family bonds
  • I believe positivity is a major factor that leads to success.
  • I believe that people should have a positive outlook on life.
  • I believe that leaders are both born and made.
  • I believe that friendship is important when it comes to socialization
  • I believe that strong family bonds lead to the prosperity of different people in certain capacities.
  • I believe that the solar system needs to be done more research.
  • I believe that all dreams are valid
  • I believe that many ideas can be implemented.
  • I believe in kindness, honesty, and faith.
  • I believe that every person has a role to play to make an impact in the world.
  • I believe that college plays a big role in making students think out of the box.
  • I believe that robots will play a huge role in the future.
  • I believe that artificial intelligence will boost the business world.
  • I believe that everyone has a right to a good life.
  • I believe that life is much simpler when people help each other.
  • I believe that all ideas are valid, regardless of how crazy they seem.

This I Believe Essay Topic List

We all have different beliefs that make us who we are. However, you don’t need to be too rigid, you need to be flexible enough to accept any new perceptions. The world is ever-changing.

  • People can get visions that later become reality.
  • Animals have a brain of their own.
  • Every person on earth has a mission.
  • Sports are essential for boosting flexibility.
  • Technical ideas can help make the world easier to live in.
  • People have different callings in their professions.
  • Everyone has a good heart.
  • The world can be a better place without any violence.
  • Dead people can listen to us.
  • Ancestors still exist within us.
  • All the different professions have a purpose.
  • Augmented reality will change the world.
  • Industry 4.0 will help to revolutionize the world.
  • Everyone was assigned a purpose at birth.
  • A good mindset leads to more happiness.
  • Patience and perseverance are important in life situations.
  • Faith, love, and hope are important.
  • Everyone has virtues they follow.

Best Belief Essay Ideas

People have different beliefs that make them who they are. However, you need to make a point of having a firm stand on what seems like the reality of life.

  • I believe everything happens for a reason.
  • I believe that miracles do happen.
  • I believe that healing happens to those who have faith.
  • I believe in the power of prayer
  • I believe in the existence of aliens
  • I believe that anger can at times be a good thing.
  • I believe that people need to accept themselves as they are
  • I believe that people connect better by giving
  • I believe that ordinary people can change the world.
  • I believe it is more important to focus on the bigger picture.
  • I believe that the environment one lives in plays a role in how one grows up
  • I believe in workplace ethics.
  • I believe that families are the greatest support system
  • I believe that family support escalates how fast one heals when sick.
  • I believe that people start socializing better when young
  • I believe that information technology is a game-changer
  • I believe that equality of people can make the world a better place.
  • I believe that everyone needs to have goals in life.

Interesting This I Believe Research Essays

When doing an essay, you need to do proper research to ensure that you capture all that is needed. Here are some interesting “this I believe” essay topics from our essay writers for hire that you can start with.

  • You should worry about being judged by others.
  • Without education, you can’t succeed in life.
  • Creativity is both inborn and made.
  • Anger can spoil many things.
  • Change comes from within.
  • Being kind to others is important.
  • Knowledge can help you succeed in life.
  • Reading helps to increase your creativity.
  • Having two jobs can help you prosper in life.
  • Everyone has a right to true happiness.
  • Good parenting is good for moral adults.
  • Ordinary people can change the world.
  • Humanity is vital for everyone.
  • We all have different realities.
  • Nations can simply be led by laws without men.
  • Without rules, the world can be dangerous.
  • Injustices can be reduced.
  • Small acts of kindness go a long way.

What’s Next?

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“This I Believe” ESSAY

Excerpt of Original Invitation from 'This I Believe':

This invites you to make a very great contribution: nothing less than a statement of your personal beliefs, of the values which rule your thought and action. Your essay should be about three minutes in length when read aloud, written in a style as you yourself speak, and total no more than 500 words.

We know this is a tough job. What we want is so intimate that no one can write it for you. You must write it yourself, in the language most natural to you. We ask you to write in your own words…. You may even find that it takes a request like this for you to reveal some of your own beliefs to yourself. If you set them down they may become of untold meaning to others.

We would like you to tell not only what you believe, but how you reached your beliefs, and if they have grown, what made them grow. This necessarily must be highly personal. That is what we anticipate and want.

It may help you in formulating your credo if we tell you also what we do not want. We do not want a sermon, religious or lay; we do not want editorializing or sectarianism or 'finger-pointing.' We do not even want your views on the American way of life, or democracy or free enterprise. These are important but for another occasion. We want to know what you live by. And we want it in terms of 'I,' not the editorial 'We.'

Although this program is designed to express beliefs, it is not a religious program and is not concerned with any religious form whatever. Most of our guests express belief in a Supreme Being, and set forth the importance to them of that belief. However, that is your decision, since it is your belief which we solicit.

But we do ask you to confine yourself to affirmatives: This means refraining from saying what you do not believe. Your beliefs may well have grown in clarity to you by a process of elimination and rejection, but for our part, we must avoid negative statements lest we become a medium for the criticism of beliefs, which is the very opposite of our purpose.

We are sure the statement we ask from you can have wide and lasting influence. Never has the need for personal philosophies of this kind been so urgent. Your belief, simply and sincerely spoken, is sure to stimulate and help those who hear it. We are confident it will enrich them. May we have your contribution?

Adapted from the invitation sent to essayists featured in the original 'This I Believe ' series. Excerpted from 'This I Believe 2,' copyright © 1954 by Help, Inc.

Directions :   Since this course focuses on learning about cultural beliefs, values, and behaviors of people in various places and times, I would like for you to consider your deepest beliefs and how they shape your values and behaviors.  

  • Write a personal essay of no fewer than 300 words and no more than 500 words.
  • Include word count.  
  • Your finished essay should be replete with an original title, credo, introduction, support for thesis, and conclusion.
  • On one hand, this essay is informal in that it is intended to be read aloud, which means that you are not required to use complete sentences.
  • On the other hand, this essay is formal in that you should not use slang, profanity, or "text-speak" and should capitalize "I" and the first letter of every sentence.
  • Submit your finished essay to the following places according to scheduled deadlines (see calendar): printed copy handed in to me at beginning of class, electronic copy to turnitin.com via Backboard, and to discussion board (when submitting to Blackboard discussion area do not include your name; include only the title and essay).
  • Since this essay asks you to expose/explore/express your deepest belief, your essay on the discussion board will remain anonymous so that no one will know who said what.


  • Listen to and/or read the following 5 minute Edward R. Murrow essay (click here) introducing the “This I Believe” essay project launched in 1951.
  • Think about the importance of storytelling, what your purpose and audience is, and what style and tone best suit your topic.


  • Take note of why Murrow began the project, the historical context of this project, and what he says to do and what not to do.
  • Write a credo of your deepest belief. This credo should sum up your beliefs in a powerful, compelling yet succinct, straight-forward manner. Your credo serves as your thesis statement for your introduction.
  • H ere are some credos from the “This I Believe” website to give you an idea of what I’m looking for:

I believe in stories. Stories that live and breathe. Stories that are fruitful and multiply. That create stories within stories. Bring into being stories of my own. I want stories that provoke a powerful response be it tears, laughter, or thought. I desire a story to have a gravity of its own. If it’s not worth telling more than once, it’s not worth telling. It should continue to pull me back again and again . . .

I believe that music is a force that stands and beckons the souls of humans to step out of their secret places. I have seen the power of a guitar’s voice as it draws out the souls of strangers in a crowd from under their superficiality and holds them spellbound as one. I have felt an overwhelming sense of unity fall over a huge crowd of people when the insightful artist reveals his sorrow, his frustration, or his overwhelming joy with a melody.

I believe in closed eyes and dim lighting, in tapping feet, concert halls, and heads carried up and down by the rolling swells of a melody. . .

I believe in the wisdom of the ages. My happiest place was sitting on my grandmother’s counter, while she was cooking, trying to memorize her cornbread recipe. I would sit on her powder blue carpet and run my fingers over the hand stitches of her many old quilts, while the colored glass hummingbird feeders on her porch made patches of purple and green move slowly around her living room. Her wisdom slipped by so many, but I drank it in like sunlight. . .


  • Write your own “This I Believe” essay.   This website is designed to help you craft this essay :   http://thisibelieve.org/essaywritingtips.html
  • Adhere to the guidelines provided for this essay project by Murrow in the following invitation to write a “This I Believe” essay
  • or your may choose the creative option and create your 300-500 word essay formatted as spoken word poetry or as song lyrics for any genre.
  • Remember that you must include proper MLA citation for any and all work that is not your own .
  • Click here to read a former student's exceptional "This I Believe" essay that I provide as inspiration for your own. Click here to read an example of a student who chose to write the creative "This I Believe" essay. Click here for an example of Paul Farmer's "This I Believe" photoessay.
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This I Believe

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Celebrating Four Years Of 'This I Believe'

April 27, 2009 • During its four-year run on NPR, This I Believe engaged listeners in a discussion of the core beliefs that guide their daily lives. We heard from people of all walks of life — the very young and the very old, the famous and the previously unknown.

Saying Thanks To My Ghosts

April 26, 2009 • Novelist Amy Tan hasn't always believed in ghosts, but as a writer she's had too many inspirations that she can't fully explain. Now, Tan embraces her belief in ghosts and the messages of joy, love and peace they bring her.

Life Is An Act Of Literary Creation

April 23, 2009 • Mexican-American novelist Luis Urrea used to think that simply being a good observer would make his writing better. But over time, he's come to believe that being a good writer and a good person comes from paying attention to the world around him.

The Art Of Being A Neighbor

April 12, 2009 • A few years ago, Eve Birch was broke and living alone in a dilapidated mountain shack. But a community of people befriended her, shared what little they had with her and showed Birch the value of neighbors uniting to help one another.

I Am Still The Greatest

Muhammad Ali John Lair/Muhammad Ali Center hide caption

I Am Still The Greatest

April 6, 2009 • To be the "Greatest of All Time," boxing legend Muhammad Ali says you have to believe in yourself. It's a lesson his parents taught him and it has helped him in fighting Parkinson's disease.

Dancing To Connect To A Global Tribe

March 29, 2009 • Matt Harding has been to 70 countries to dance — badly — in front of a camera, and videos of his travels have become an Internet sensation. Harding believes interacting with so many different people challenges him to understand what unites humanity.

My Father Deserves Spectacular Results

March 26, 2009 • Environmental activist Van Jones is a special adviser to the Obama administration. He says his dad, who died last year, would have gotten a kick out of seeing Obama become president. But his dad had high standards, and there is much more work to be done.

The Beatles Live On

March 15, 2009 • Macklin Levine was born more than 25 years after the Fab Four broke up, but at 12, she has a deep appreciation for Beatles music. "As old as the songs are, you can learn a lot about yourself from the lyrics," she says. And the Beatles help her remember her Dad, too.

Finding Freedom In Forgiveness

March 5, 2009 • Jennifer Thompson-Cannino was certain that Ronald Cotton was the man who raped her in 1984. But she was wrong. After Cotton spent 11 years in jail, DNA evidence proved his innocence. Now, the two have a friendship based on their belief in forgiveness.

Work Is A Blessing

March 1, 2009 • When he was 12, Russel Honore got his first job helping a neighbor milk 65 dairy cows twice a day. Fifty years later, the retired Army lieutenant general believes hard work helps build character, strengthen communities and promote freedom.

Seeing Beyond Our Differences

February 26, 2009 • Scientist Sheri White says that despite differences in size, shape and color, all humans are 99.9 percent biologically identical. White believes we should embrace our similarities and honor the differences that make each of us unique.

Historical Archives

Reflections on race: essays from the archives.

February 23, 2009 • Dan Gediman, executive producer of NPR's This I Believe, explores the archives of the original series hosted by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s. He says the essays shed light on the realities of segregation at the dawn of the civil rights movement.

Gediman explores the 'This I Believe' archives.

The magic of letters.

February 15, 2009 • Chameli Waiba was raised in a village in Nepal and didn't attend school as a child. When she finally learned to read as an adult, Waiba discovered the power words could have to change her life, as well as the lives of others in her rural community.

How To Survive Life's Tests

February 9, 2009 • Kendra Jones assigned her students to write This I Believe essays and decided that she owed it to them to write one of her own. Jones believes toughness, steeliness and even meanness have helped her throughout her life.

Our Awareness Controls Human Destiny

February 8, 2009 • In an essay from 1951 for the original This I Believe series, Margaret Mead says she can't separate the beliefs she has as a person from the beliefs she has as an anthropologist. She says that humans have a responsibility for the entire planet.

A Hope For Bettering Humanity

February 1, 2009 • In an essay from 1953 for the original This I Believe series, Sir Charles Galton Darwin, the grandson of naturalist Charles Darwin, drew on his study of science to say he believed the future of humanity depended on the practice of eugenics.

Listening Is Powerful Medicine

February 1, 2009 • It took a scolding from an elderly patient to get Dr. Alicia Conill to look up from her charts and stop to listen. Conill came to understand the value of listening in the treatment process — especially when she herself became the patient.

America's Beauty Is In Its Diversity

January 29, 2009 • In sixth grade, Alaa El-Saad decided to start wearing the hijab , a religious head covering for Muslim women. Despite some trepidation, she found her classmates supported her choice. Now El-Saad believes being different is part of being American.

Thirty Things I Believe

January 18, 2009 • When Tarak McLain's kindergarten group celebrated their 100th day of class, some kids brought 100 nuts or cotton balls. Tarak brought a list of 100 things he believes. Now a first-grader, Tarak shares his top beliefs about God, life, nature and war.

Inviting The World To Dinner

January 12, 2009 • Every Sunday for 30 years, Jim Haynes has welcomed complete strangers into his Paris home for dinner. By introducing people to each other and encouraging them to make personal connections, Haynes believes he can foster greater tolerance in the world.

Pathways Of Desire

January 4, 2009 • Gina Parosa believes in letting her kids, pets and livestock make their own paths in life. But she also realizes that as a farmer and parent, she sometimes has to step in and set good boundaries — while still being flexible enough to change them.

This Is Home

January 1, 2009 • Majora Carter believes you don't have to move out of your old neighborhood to live in a better one. Carter was raised in the South Bronx and spent years trying to leave. But when the city proposed a waste facility there, she was inspired to fight for her community.

Health Is A Human Right

December 21, 2008 • As an infectious disease specialist, Dr. Paul Farmer has traveled the planet to organize and provide medical treatment for people living in poverty. He believes good health care is vital but just the first step in creating a world free of all human suffering.

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How to Write A ‘This I Believe’ Essay

Table of Contents

How to Write the Essay on ‘I Believe’

The ‘I believe’ is an essay that expects an individual to write about the particular beliefs that a person has. This topic does not necessarily need to be a religion as thought by many students. It is what can carry someone’s interests. Anything that comes to mind is applicable as long as it is a belief to you and in society like an essay on love and proof that love exists either personally or generally. Besides, it applies to writing about something which people do not believe in its existence. Similarly, the essay can be personal or based on research. In research, one is expected to support their ideas with references to the provided source. The written story should be accurate and have the ability to carry the readers easily. If possible, the writing should be able to bring the reader into believing the particular theme used despite their beliefs. The idea provided should have the emotional status of the user depending on the trait presented. If it is a funny story, the reader should be able to be carried in the capacity where they find themselves laughing without expecting it. In this case, the story will be real. Moreover, consider the particular moments for the creation, testing, or changing of your principles and ensure the story surrounds the essence of a person’s daily life values to the shaping of their beliefs. Besides, this essay should be a reflection of the life of an individual. One has to explain their faith critically in this article and after that relate to life including the personal beliefs one has experienced. A statement or the body in the explanation of this essay should be as brief as possible. The shorter the length, the greater the focus on the central belief in an individual’s life.

How to Start this I Believe Essay

Before beginning to write the essay construct a structure that guides the writing of the entire article. At the beginning of the piece, to be able to explain one’s belief quickly, the writers have to talk about the main idea just like in introduction of other essays where you state and explain your objectives in the article. It is always best when a writer quickly explains the core belief focused on in the piece. The introduction should only comprise the ‘I believe’ statement and a phrase to attract the reader.

How to Write Body Paragraphs for this I believe essay

The body structure which entails all the events in the paragraphs provides a detailed explanation using figurative language which should always have the letters ‘a’ and ‘e’ to enable the reader quickly see the story and provide a smooth flow in writing. Also under the body, one should create a paragraph about what they have learned from the belief and the effect this view on their lives into them growing into well-rounded people. Through identifying the picture, explain the application of this idea in one’s personal life in the future . The writer always has to remind the reader of the core belief they stated in the introduction and their hope to share this knowledge with the reader. Also, an explanation of why the reader should care about their personal beliefs and their teaching lesson to the reader entailing what the reader learns. When writing a “this I believe” assignment despite allowing a writer to write either the positivity or negativity in their beliefs this is what they believe in or what they do not believe in, it is always best to focus on one’s beliefs to compose an excellent essay.

How to conclude the Essay

It is not advisable to include religious belief statements, preaching, or editorializing when constructing the article. Also, always make the article about one’s yourself. Writing in the first person is allowed in this type of composition to bring out the personal belief perspective apparently.

Tips for Final Revision

Upon completion of describing one’s opinion, edit the piece to ensure the right word tone used lacks the editorial ‘we’ and provides an echo of one’s beliefs and original manner of speech towards people. The essay composed should be a personal story; not an opinion piece about social ideals. Review the written piece and compare it with the provided instructions to make ensure the correct answering of the questions. Remove any mistakes or spelling problems and ensure there is a flow in the writing of the essay. Also, ensure that the structure of the paragraphs has supporting detail and an explanation of the detail as per the stated point. In the writing of this section, the approach employed should not be direct. The sentences constructed should be simple. The essay after every sentence should leave the reader with suspense and an urge to know what comes next. They should not be able to predict the events because if they do the ‘I believe essay’ will be very annoying. Finally, the most important thing is to stay on topic. A person’s core belief in an article is the subject of the composition. For example, writing on a core belief as ‘love’ should be the only idea covered in the essay. Also, ensure that the formats used are per the required forms. In doing all this an excellent ‘this I believe composition’ will be poised.

Outline Example for this I Believe Essay

Introduction – Introduce the aim of writing the paper.

Thesis statement

  • Paragraph one – Introduce your first point on the “this I believe” paper.
  • Paragraph two – One should create a paragraph about what they have learned from the belief
  • Paragraph three – Explain the application of the specific idea in one’s personal life in the future.

Closing paragraph – Restate the purpose of the essay (What has the text shown us?).

this i believe essays should include made up stories

Examples logo

30+ This I Believe Essay Examples

This I Believe Essay Image

In the realm of personal expression and introspection, the “This I Believe” essay stands as a testament to the power of individual beliefs and narratives. Rooted in the context of personal experiences and convictions, these essays provide a platform for individuals to articulate their core principles, values, and perspectives. Through the use of various literary devices and elements , authors craft narratives that illuminate their unique outlook on life. In this article, we will delve into the definition of a This I Believe essay, present a step-by-step guide on how to craft one, address common questions, and explore the essence of this expressive form.

1. High School This I Believe Essay Example

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2. Sample This I Believe Essay Example

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3. Student This I Believe Essay Example

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4. Middle School This I Believe Essay Example

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5. This I Believe Essay Topic Example

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6. This I Believe Essay Life Example

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7. This I Believe Essay Overview Example

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8. This I Believe Essay Steps Example

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9. This I Believe Essay Friendship Example

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10. Sports This I Believe Essay Example

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11. This I Believe Essay Rubric Example

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12. This I Believe Personal Essay Example

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13. This I Believe Essay Writing Example

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14. This I Believe Essay Statement Example

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15. God This I Believe Essay Example

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16. This I Believe Essay Brief Example

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17. This I Believe Essay Thesis Statement Example

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18. This I Believe Essay Speech Example

19. this i believe essay college example.

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20. This I Believe Essay Lesson Plan Example

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21. This I Believe Essay Music Example

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22. Faith This I Believe Essay Example

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23. Reflection This I Believe Essay Example

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24. This I Believe Immigration Essay Example

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25. This I Believe Love Essay Example

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26. This I Believe Dream Essay Example

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27. This I Believe Power Essay Example

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28. This I Believe Essay Prompt Example

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29. This I Believe Essay Peer Review Example

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30. Elements of This I Believe Essay Example

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31. This I Believe Essay Transcript Example

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What is a This I Believe Essay?

A This I Believe essay is a written composition that encapsulates an individual’s personal beliefs, values, and philosophies. Often reflective and intimate in nature, these essays offer readers insight into the author’s subjective understanding of the world. They provide an opportunity to explore the depth of one’s convictions, making use of various literary devices and characteristics to convey a sense of authenticity and sincerity. Through the exploration of individual experiences and convictions, these essays aim to connect with readers on a personal and emotional level.

How to Write a This I Believe Essay

Step 1: choose your core belief.

At the heart of your essay lies your core belief. Choose a belief that holds personal significance and represents your worldview. This belief should be something you feel passionately about and can articulate convincingly.

Step 2: Develop a Compelling Context

Create a context for your belief by providing background information. Explain why this belief is important to you and how it has shaped your experiences and outlook on life. A relatable context will engage your readers and make your essay more relatable.

Step 3: Employ Effective Literary Devices

Incorporate literary devices to enhance the impact of your essay. Metaphors, similes, and anecdotes can help convey your belief in a vivid and relatable manner. Consider how these devices can strengthen your narrative and connect with your audience emotionally.

Step 4: Craft a Strong Conclusion

Summarize your belief and its significance in your life, reinforcing the message you want to leave with your readers. Reflect on the journey you’ve taken them on and inspire them to reflect on their own beliefs.

Can I write about a commonly held belief?

Absolutely. While it’s important to maintain authenticity, even exploring a cliché belief can be powerful when you provide a fresh perspective or personal context. Your unique experiences and reflections make your essay stand out.

Can I use proper nouns in my essay?

Yes, proper nouns can add specificity and authenticity to your essay. Mentioning specific places, people, or events can help ground your beliefs in real-world experiences.

How can I make my essay more impactful?

Focus on using strong verbs to convey emotions and actions. Instead of saying “I felt sad,” consider saying “I crumbled under the weight of sorrow.” This adds depth to your writing and engages the reader’s senses.

In the realm of personal expression, the This I Believe essay shines as a vehicle for exploring one’s deepest convictions. By carefully selecting beliefs, weaving context, employing literary devices, and crafting strong conclusions, authors can create narratives that resonate with readers on a profound level. Through the power of words, these essays bridge the gap between individual experiences and universal truths, reminding us of the strength and diversity of human beliefs. So, take the plunge into introspection and share your beliefs with the world through the art of the This I Believe essay.

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53 This I Believe Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

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50 I Believe Essay Topics

To better train students on how to present their personal opinions on subjective matters, teachers will assign what is known as an “I Believe” or “This I Believe” essay writing assignment.

Designed to provide the reader with insight into the writer’s character, these essays are typically written in first-person point of view. The writer shares their beliefs on a particular topic – ranging from religion and politics to more personal subjects such as love and happiness – and offers supporting arguments for why they hold these beliefs.

The Challenges of Writing “I Believe” Essays

This type of essay prompt is a welcome break from more detail-oriented or researched-based writing assignments for many students. However, “I believe” essay writing assignments aren’t always easy.

It can be challenging for students to articulate their beliefs in a clear and concise way that isn’t argumentative or offensive to the reader. Students may also struggle to explain their reasoning behind these beliefs in a thorough and not overly simplistic way.

Despite these challenges, “I believe” essays can be an excellent opportunity for students to share their thoughts and feelings on important topics and learn more about themselves in the process.

Tips for Writing “I Believe” Essays

If you’re given an “I believe” essay assignment, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Start by defining what it is that you believe. This may seem like a simple task, but it can be challenging to identify your core beliefs. If you’re struggling, start by jotting down a list of topics that are important to you – from politics and religion to family and friendship.
  • Reflect on why each topic is important to you. Think about the reasoning behind your choices and how these reasons evolved over time. After all, your core beliefs are likely to have changed or grown since you reached adolescence.
  • Determine which of your beliefs are the most important. Focusing on developing thought processes that support your beliefs. For extra help, consider sharing these thoughts with a trusted friend or family member for advice.

By reflecting upon your core beliefs and developing clear arguments to support them, you can craft a powerful “I believe” essay that will truly reflect your thoughts and feelings.

How to Write an “I Believe” Essay

To craft a well-written “I Believe” essay, students must forgo the typical essay structure of introduction, body, and conclusion.

Instead, the essay should be organized around a series of specific beliefs that the writer wishes to share. Each thought should be introduced with a clear thesis statement, followed by supporting arguments and examples.

The conclusion of the essay should wrap up the main points that have been made and leave the reader with a final thought to ponder.

Here is an example of how an “I Believe” essay might be structured:

Thesis: I believe that everyone has the right to love and be loved.

Argument: Everyone deserves to find love and experience happiness in their lives. This should not be limited by race, religion, socioeconomic status, or any other factor.

Example: I saw a video of a man proposing to his girlfriend at Fenway Park. She said yes and the crowd went wild! Now that is love. If they can find it, then so can we all!

Conclusion: Society should not stand in the way of love. Love is the most powerful force in the world, and we should all embrace it.

As you can see, the “I Believe” essay structure allows for a great deal of flexibility. Students can choose to focus on a variety of topics and can organize their essays in different ways. An “I Believe” essay can be an excellent opportunity for students to present their thoughts on important issues under a few simple guidelines. With a bit of planning and organization, this type of essay writing assignment can be a breeze!

What You Shouldn’t Do When Writing an “I Believe” Essay

To ensure that you are writing an “I Believe” essay and not another form of an argumentative or persuasive essay, avoid doing the following:

  • Don’t provide evidence or use statistics to support your position – this is not an essay that calls for research.
  • Don’t attack or criticize the beliefs of others – your goal is to share your own opinions, not to tear down those of others.
  • Don’t go off on tangents – stay focused on the main points you want to make.
  • Don’t speak objectively or in the third person – for example, don’t say “people believe that” or “studies show.”
  • Don’t use filler words and phrases such as “I think,” “I feel,” and “it seems like.”

Use any of these 50 “I Believe” essay topics to help you brainstorm ideas for your essay!

I Believe Essay Topics About Life

  • I believe that life is too short to spend time with people who bring you down.
  • I believe that laughter is the best medicine
  • I believe that we should make time for quiet reflection every day.
  • I believe that the only thing that matters in life is love.
  • I believe that we are all capable of change.
  • I believe that it is never too late to learn and grow.
  • I believe in the power of positive thinking.
  • I believe that we should always be kind, even when it is difficult.
  • I believe that there is no such thing as a coincidence.
  • I believe in the saying “what goes around, comes around.”
  • I believe that we are all responsible for our own happiness.
  • I believe that the best things in life are free.
  • I believe that it is essential to be grateful for what we have.
  • I believe that it is never too late to achieve our dreams.
  • I believe that we should surround ourselves with people who make us better.
  • I believe that you can either love or hate something; there is no in-between.

I Believe Essay Topics About Education & School

  • I believe that education is the key to a bright future
  • I believe that children are our future and should be treasured as such.
  • I believe that there is no such thing as a dumb question.
  • I believe that schools should do more to celebrate diversity.
  • I believe that homework is essential, but it should not be excessive.
  • I believe in the importance of having a strong support system while attending school.
  • I believe that standardized tests are not an accurate measure of a student’s knowledge.
  • I believe that it is vital to find a balance between work and play while in school.
  • I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to swim.
  • I believe in the importance of recess and physical activity in students’ lives.
  • I believe that there is no such thing as a bad grade.
  • I believe that teachers deserve more respect and better pay.
  • I believe that it is never too early to learn a foreign language.
  • I believe that education should be free for everyone.

I Believe Essay Topics About Friends & Family

  • I believe that family is the most important thing in life.
  • I believe that friends are the family we choose for ourselves.
  • I believe that it is essential to maintain close relationships with friends and family.
  • I believe that there is no substitute for quality time spent with loved ones.
  • I believe that family is not defined by blood but by love and commitment.
  • I believe that we should spend more time with the people we care about and less time worrying about material things.
  • I believe that it is better to have a few close friends than many superficial ones.
  • I believe that it is healthy for friends to grow apart.
  • I believe that competition between friends is healthy.

I Believe Essay Topics About Money

  • I believe that money cannot buy happiness.
  • I believe that it is essential to be happy with what you have, not what you want.
  • I believe that people are more important than things.
  • I believe that it is okay to splurge on something even if it means going into debt.
  • I believe that it is better to give than to receive.
  • I believe that money can’t buy everything.
  • I believe that the love of money is the root of all evil.
  • I believe in saving for a rainy day.
  • I believe in investing in oneself.
  • I believe in the saying, “money doesn’t grow on trees.”
  • I believe that rich people should be forced to pay more taxes.

These 50 I Believe essay topics are sure to inspire your own original beliefs and help you create a powerful and unique essay. When writing your I Believe essay, be sure to focus on the beliefs that are most important to you and that you feel passionate about discussing. The best I Believe essays are the ones that are personal and reflective, so don’t be afraid to share your own thoughts and experiences.

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Interesting Guide to Writing a “This I Believe” Essay

Table of Contents

A This I Believe essay is a particular type of writing that needs to contain a personal experience on a particular subject. These types of essays define a particular belief to the reader.

If you’re looking for This I believe essay guidelines , this article is a great resource for getting started on creating a personal essay. There are tons of points to consider as you write your essay to show your connection with the statement of your belief. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is a “This I Believe” Essay?

“This I Believe” is a popular type of essay genre that enables the author to communicate a personal belief. Through a narrative, the author explains the origin of that belief or a period when that belief was put into practice.

In these essays, people write about the core beliefs that drive their daily lives. Ultimately, your personal motivation will keep you steadfast in your work and get you through the toughest times.

The 1950s radio program with Edward R. Murrow introduced the essay genre, which NPR continued in 2004. Since then, numerous people have loved writing and reading these pieces.

Significance of “This I Believe” Essay

A “This I Believe” essay is a personal reflection on the writer’s life, their influences, and what motivates them. It is a time for the author to take stock of their thoughts and inform readers of their thoughts, feelings, and motivations.

These essays can reveal a person’s life passages, extraordinary moments, and inspirations. “This I Believe” essay allows the reader to get a feel for your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, and your perspective on the world.

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug

Write Using “This I Believe” Essay Guidelines

If you are writing a This I Believe essay, you will typically be giving your experience as a personal essay. In this essay, you will detail what you believe and why you believe it. Clarify the point you are trying to make. Keep in mind your intended audience and stay focused.

Here are some this I believe essay guidelines to help you craft a perfect piece of writing:

Tell a Captivating Story About Your Belief

Tell the readers when you came to your belief and how it affected you. However, keep in mind that it should be true. Be honest and genuine with your thoughts.

Your story doesn’t have to force others to share the same belief. Connect your writing to your life and be sincere about your beliefs. Only then you will have a good chance to dazzle readers with a compelling story.

Keep Your Essay Short and Concise

Restricting yourself to one page will keep your essay concise and readable. It’s recommended to keep your writing between 400-600 words. It shouldn’t be too long.

It shouldn’t take more than 3–4 minutes to read your completed document aloud. Thus, it’s crucial to include only the most relevant information while packing your writing with your ideas.

Make Sure You Mention Your Belief

When writing this I believe essay introduction , make sure to focus on your belief and describe it briefly in a few sentences. If you don’t mention your belief clearly, the paper might be confusing or fail to reflect the core idea you wanted to convey. You must concentrate on the most crucial details of your story as you need to keep your essay concise.

Write in the First Person Point of View

This I Believe essays should be about your own life, not someone else’s. So, you must use the first-person point of view.

Write an essay about your viewpoint without focusing on what other people ought to do. Your assignment is to share a true story from your life without equating it with any societal ideals or religious principles.

Be Genuine and Positive

One of the most important things while writing this essay is to be genuine and on a positive set of mind. Don’t say something you don’t believe. A This I Believe essay should not contain any editorializing, advertising, or religious content. If you focus on yourself, you’ll be able to articulate your sentiments.

A This I Believe essay is written in the first person point of view and includes informative, personalized details about the writer’s belief. The goal of the essay is to tell an underlying story that conforms to the above This I Believe Essay Guidelines. And the narrative leads from past experiences to the present. The readers understand the writer’s beliefs through their personal stories and life experiences.

Interesting Guide to Writing a “This I Believe” Essay

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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33 Storytelling Memorability: 6 Keys for Success

Writing that is simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and story-based will stick with your audience longer.

By Nikki Mantyla

On a Thursday night in January 2016, Jerry Seinfeld performed solo to a sold-out audience at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City. Over 2,700 people filled the long sloping rectangle of the main floor and the three rounded tiers of gold-leafed balconies lining its sides. Eighteen-thousand Bohemian crystals glimmered from enormous square chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. From the far back wall, two spotlights followed the legendary comedian back and forth across the stage as he paced inside their circle, telling his jokes. One of the spotlights smoothly drifted right or left as needed. The other wasn’t working so well.

Seinfeld stepped out of the faulty beam numerous times. He ignored it, continuing his set like a pro and doing what he does best: making people laugh. But an underlying tension increased the longer the problem went on. Adults fidgeted in their cushioned seats and muttered to their neighbors. If the jerky spotlight had been staged, Seinfeld would have referred to it by now. Whether the cause was malfunctioning equipment or the ineptitude of an operator, the issue should’ve been solved thirty minutes ago. It was detracting from the act.

Finally, Seinfeld made a choice to say something. He stopped and gestured at the back wall, asking, “What’s the deal with the spotlight? I’m sixty-one years old! How hard can it be? Look, I’ll tell you what I’ll do: I’ll face the direction I’m going to walk.”

The tangent bounced with Seinfeld’s characteristic high- and low-pitched cadence, sending the already amused audience into louder peals. After an exaggerated turn, he slowly lifted his foot and stepped forward, waiting for the spotlight to join him. When the beam lurched again despite his overt cue, Seinfeld threw up his arms like, “Really?” Everyone roared. Tension released into belly-deep laughter. Tears formed, stomachs cramped, lungs gasped. What had been distracting was now hilarious. He’d transformed the malfunction into a successful gag and a memorable part of the show.

As writers, we need to learn such alchemy in order to do things, be things, and make things in the world. Comedians like Jerry Seinfeld are masters of language, and that mastery allows them to make whole careers out of words and gestures that do something special: generate laughs. We can likewise harness the power of language to transform our writing situations into audience gold, whether we are creating impromptu wisecracks or funeral elegies, factual reports or fantastical stories. Any type of writing can be more effective if it catches and holds the attention of its audience—in other words, if it succeeds at being memorable.

How? Authors Chip and Dan Heath (one brother a Stanford professor, the other a teacher and textbook publisher) give a useful acronym in their book  Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die . They say memorable ideas are

  • Story-based

Examining these keys for “SUCCESs” via Seinfeld’s spotlight fiasco provides a lens for considering the ways language/writing can be a resource for doing more and being heard and making a contribution that’s remembered.

Key Takeaways

Stories can be used in any kind of writing. In Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die , Chip and Dan Heath give a simple model writers can follow using the S.U.C.C.E.S(s) acronym.

Simple: The writing should focus on a single core idea.

Unexpected: The writer can lead with a surprising fact that catches the reader’s interest. Some writing instructors call this unexpected element a “hook” because a surprising element can catch readers’ interest.

Concrete: Abstract ideas can be difficult for readers to grasp. Writers should use imagery, description, and concrete examples to help the reader visualize the story.

Credible: While in fiction, a good story can include all kinds of supernatural or fantastical, in nonfiction writing, writing should be believable.

Emotional: Connecting readers to a single individual case can be more effective than burying them with specifics. For example, researchers have shown that people are more likely to donate to a single person than to an entire region.

Story-based: Stories can move readers to action. In an argument essay, for example, a writer could consider starting and ending the essay with a story that connects the reader to the issue.

Consider the simplicity of Seinfeld’s response. He stopped. He focused his gaze at the origin of the spotlight. He took a direct approach. And he kept it concise. He could have gone into a drawn-out rant, venting anger instead of appealing to the audience. Instead, he kept his grievance simple and funny.

We can’t always be brief, but we can stay focused. Notice how the first four paragraphs of this article give only details relevant to the spotlight story. The anecdote avoids digressions about the weather or other parts of the show or the charity the ticket money supported. It sticks to only what’s needed to make the story stick with the audience. We can do the same in any genre. Selecting and maintaining a simple focus ties everything into one tidy, memorable package.

It’s also important to know that comedy thrives on irony—or in other words, the unexpected. The more unpredictable the punchline, the bigger the laughs.

“I’m sixty-one years old!” was unexpected on two levels. First, what did that have to do with a defective spotlight? Juxtaposition, in which you compare things that seem unrelated, can be a great tool for creating irony. Second, in American culture, we don’t expect an older person to blurt out his age, which doubled the element of surprise.

But how much does unexpectedness matter outside of comedy? We might be surprised. The human brain is programmed to dismiss what it already understands but perk up when startled by something new. Awareness of that unfamiliar thing might improve chances of survival, so our minds snap to attention. Writers who incorporate the unexpected in strategic ways—with a shocking statistic in a report or a fresh take on a classic recipe or an unheard-of position on a controversial subject—are more likely to hook their audience. Without such surprise, our chances of being memorable are low.

Masters of language also recognize that all external input comes in five tangible forms: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. The mind connects concrete input, such as a citrusy scent, to previous knowledge, like Grandma’s grapefruit trees, while abstract ideas often vaporize.

By gesturing at the spotlight and emphasizing his turn and step, Seinfeld gave the audience features to see. Written descriptions do that too: gold balconies, crystal chandeliers, adults fidgeting in cushioned seats. The marvel of language is that it can conjure images in our minds even without pictures and let us hear things even when the words are read silently, like how the direct quotes make Seinfeld’s voice come alive. The same is true with the other senses. For example, mentioning stomachs cramping and lungs gasping invites us to feel the audience’s physical response.

When instructors say, “Show, don’t tell,” this is what they mean. Telling is weaker because it gives a secondhand report: how it was a classy concert hall where nobody would expect crappy equipment, how Seinfeld griped about the spotlight, how everyone thought it was really funny. On the other hand, showing with concrete details means readers experience firsthand input and draw their own stronger conclusions.

What about when writers aren’t telling a story? Regardless of genre, concrete ideas are easier for people to grasp. We might not comprehend a blue whale’s thirty-meter length, but tell us that’s more than two school buses and we can picture it. It’s better to make details tangible.

What about the biggest aspect in Seinfeld’s favor—his reputation? The audience came because they love him, and they were prepared to laugh at anything he said. But even people who aren’t famous can still use credibility to their advantage.

One way is to borrow fame, as this article does by showcasing a celebrity. Take advantage of any impressive sources. Was the study done by Harvard? Is the quote from a renowned authority? Mention those bragging rights the way this article drops “legendary comedian” into the first paragraph and credits a Stanford professor and a textbook publisher for the SUCCESs acronym. Don’t just bury that validity in the citations at the end.

Writers can also buy cred by touting their own expertise: experiences with the topic, relevant places they’ve worked or volunteered, observations that sharpened their perspective, surveys or interviews they’ve done, classes they’ve taken, even their age. Being a sixty-one-year-old über-successful comedian is impressive, and maybe being an eighteen-year-old college newbie or a thirty-five-year-old returning student will affect the audience’s opinion too. Weigh possible credentials against the writing situation and include ones that will give it the best boost.

Seinfeld used emotion when he asked the spotlight person, “How hard can it be?” He gave voice to everyone’s frustrations, as if speaking collectively.

Projecting emotion is important but tricky. Good writers don’t want to overdo it, and they don’t want to use fallacious or unethical approaches, such as fear mongering. Done well, emotional appeals can have a powerful lingering effect. We recall how entertaining a comedian was even after we forget the jokes. We relive the wave of pity from a photo we saw of a shelter dog. We revisit the excitement of a thrilling solution we read in a recent proposal. Emotions last.

Aim for the kind of vibe that best fits the audience and purpose, and find effective ways to solicit those emotions. Choose details that summon the right mood, just as gold leaf and Bohemian crystals convey the classy feel of Abravanel Hall. Pick words that match the seriousness or humor, like how the spotlight “lurched” and everyone “roared.” Add colors, photos, or other visuals that correspond, such as Seinfeld’s memorably amusing snapshot above—perfect for an article about memorability via comedy.


Most crucially of all, tell a story. It’s one of the best ways to appeal to emotion—and appeal to humans. Think how quickly a sad story can make the audience teary or a silly one can make them laugh. Think how closely people listen when a story is told.

Some people assume storytelling is only for memoirs or fiction writing or movies, but in reality, stories are everywhere. This instructional article employed the story about Seinfeld to make several points, and even Seinfeld’s short bit follows a story shape:

The best story type for each piece of writing will depend on its situation and purpose and audience, but using miniature stories like the spotlight tale can be a great method for highlighting a writer’s subject in a memorable way. Writers also use the story-arc sequence—hook the audience, spell out the conflict, outline complications, reveal an epiphany, stage a climax, and grant resolution—in all kinds of genres to engage readers with the tension of waiting for resolution. Audiences love it, just as Seinfeld’s audience melted into laughter.

[For more on integrating story techniques, check out  “Adding the Storyteller’s Tools to Your Writer’s Toolbox,”   “Movies Explain the World of Writing,”  or  “The Narrative Effect.” ]

The twitchy spotlight never improved during that January show. Its glow continued to bumble across the stage like an intoxicated firefly. But as far as Seinfeld and his audience were concerned, the situation had been resolved by converting it into humor.

That’s the power of language to do things, be things, and make things in the world. That’s the power our writing can have when we master language/writing as a resource.

[For even more insight, check out the Heath brothers’ book  Made to Stick .]

Works Cited

Heath, Chip and Dan Heath.  Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die . New York: Random House, 2007.

Storytelling Memorability: 6 Keys for Success Copyright © 2020 by Liza Long; Amy Minervini; and Joel Gladd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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    I believe in saving for a rainy day. I believe in investing in oneself. I believe in the saying, "money doesn't grow on trees.". I believe that rich people should be forced to pay more taxes. These 50 I Believe essay topics are sure to inspire your own original beliefs and help you create a powerful and unique essay.

  18. Interesting Guide to Writing a "This I Believe" Essay

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    Explore. Featured Essays Essays on the Radio; Special Features; 1950s Essays Essays From the 1950s Series; Browse by Theme Browse Essays By Theme Use this feature to browse through the tens of thousands of essays that have been submitted to This I Believe. Select a theme to see a listing of essays that address the selected theme. The number to the right of each theme indicates how many essays ...