The Hatchet’s opinions section is introducing a new type of content. In addition to columns and blogs, we will begin publishing personal essays.
The Internet has afforded journalists and writers the ability to publish virtually anything, and personal essays have become a staple of online culture. Perhaps the most widely read are The New York Times’ Modern Love essays, which have become so popular, they inspired their own podcast. But you can find pieces about writers’ personal lives and experiences on almost any news organization’s website.
Through essays, our opinions writers will be sharing some of their stories and experiences – about identity, hardships, triumphs, relationships and more. They will write about things that are unique to us, as college students, at a point in our lives when we’re finding ourselves and confronting new ideas.
But these essays are also an opportunity to fill the opinions page with more diverse perspectives and voices from around the GW community. Much like letters to the editor and op-eds, we will be taking essay submissions from students. Anyone interested is welcome to submit their idea for consideration, but anonymous submissions will not be accepted.
Personal essays have the power to make us think about ourselves and our lives in a unique way. And writing about your personal life is an act of bravery in and of itself. Opening up to readers with the hope that they can relate is a huge risk, but many writers have done it successfully.
Some of my personal favorites deal with highly personal issues. In “I choose to be fat,” Laura Bogart explores her struggle with her appearance, and how she now embraces her body to fight back against societal expectations. In “Swearing Off the Modern Man,” Jochebed Smith wonders what it means to be “chill” while dating in the 21st century, and considers how social media affects our love lives. In “I Don’t Know What to Do With Good White People,” Brit Bennett wrestles with her feelings about her white acquaintances who want to assure others that they’re such good people because they aren’t racist.
The goal of introducing personal essays into The Hatchet’s opinions section is to diversify the content we put out into the world. It’s easy to believe that as college students, we’re too young for others to see our feelings and experiences as legitimate. But our stories are important – and we should share them.
And if you’re interested in sharing your own story, feel free to submit an idea for a personal essay here. We look forward to hearing your voice and what you have to say.
Sarah Blugis, a senior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor.