Date of Award


Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name

English Creative Writing-BA




Dr. Shannon Lakanen, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Dr. Shannon Lakanen, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Dr. Terry Hermsen, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Dr. Amanda Kline, Ph.D.


Essay, Imperfection, Perfection, Friendships, Body Image, Athletics

Subject Categories

Creative Writing | Nonfiction


I first became fascinated with the personal essay when I read Tina Fey’s autobiography, Bossypants. I become so immersed in her writing because of how much I related to it. Like me, Fey is of Greek and German descent. Little details like this resonated with me along with a number of other characteristics we both shared, such as our shared love for self-deprecating humor. I fell in love with her stories, because although they were specific to her, they still connected to my own life. Her essays made me feel something, and they also helped me realize that I wanted to create something that could help people understand themselves a little better, just as Tina Fey did for me.

For this collection I wrote essays with a central question in mind: “What is perfection and can we ever obtain it?” I am aimed to create an exploratory collection of writings attempted to abstractly answer this question through a compendium of own experiences, self growth and a little humor. Personal essays are not traditional research papers. They are personal stories and idea and thoughts strung together that attempt to create an understanding of life. Personal essays digress and do not always have solid conclusions.

I see a need for writings that delve into the topic of perfection, because of how relevant it is in present society. The idea of “not being good enough” has consumed my mind on countless occasions and I’ve seen the same happen to my friends.

I have chosen the form of essay to explore this theme because essay embraces imperfection. As mentioned, personal essays are not always structured, meaning they do not aim to be polished and precise. Instead they replicate our minds, constantly poignant and essentially imperfect. Phillip Lopate writes in The Art of the Personal Essay, “The mind works by contradiction. Personal essayists converse with the reader because they are already having dialogues and disputes with themselves.”

I challenged myself to be utterly honest with myself throughout the writing process. I focused on writing my essays based on what actually happened not what I wished had happened. It was important for me to do this while tackling the subject of perfection. I hope whoever reads this laughs with me (and quite possibly at me) and learns to truly appreciate the imperfections of life.