In this first project, you will write a short essay about a belief or passion that you hold deeply. To prepare yourself for your graduate program, reflect about an experience, a belief, or particular part of your life experience that has influenced your professional direction, and maybe even resulted in your arriving here! This project will refresh your writing skills as you prepare for the next courses in your graduate program. This assignment is probably one of the few times in graduate school when you are asked to write from the first person, and it is a good place to start. However, don’t get too comfortable. Organizing complex and divergent thoughts to write a short personal essay requires prewriting, perhaps outlining, and applying the mechanics of writing an essay paragraph- by- paragraph. Writing a paper paragraph- by- paragraph requires that you understand how paragraphs are built. You will start each paragraph with a topic sentence, add supporting sentences, and conclude with a sentence that provides a bridge to the next paragraph. Your essay is intentionally limited to 500 words to ensure that you organize your thoughts and ideas to tell your story concisely. Polishing these skills will serve you in your personal and professional life.