Writing a "Leadership and Character NHS Essay" for the National Honor Society can be an intimidating endeavor in part due to the significance of the NHS, as well as the introspection necessary for completion of your essay. Don't worry, though. If you're writing for the NHS, then you've most likely written essays before. This one won't differ too much, at least in structure, from what you probably already know.
Writing Your Essay
Consider the traits of character and leadership you would like to examine in your essay. Try to think of people you admire and people who admire you (you might be surprised at the number of people who come to mind). After taking some time to think things out, write the word "Traits" as a subject heading on the top left side of a piece of paper. Draw a line down the middle of the paper, from top to bottom. Under "Traits," create a numbered list of the traits you come up with.
Think of why each trait is important and consider actions or situations in which you or someone you admire exhibited those traits through action. For instance, if you find kindness to be an important trait, find an example of kindness in action. On the top right side of your divided page, write the subject heading "Action" and list a corresponding action for each trait. If you think of multiple actions that correspond to a particular trait, write up to three in your "Action" list.
Write your introduction, the first paragraph of your essay, either on a fresh piece of paper or type it out on your computer. After considering and listing traits and actions, you have an idea of what you want to discuss in your essay. The first part of your introduction should introduce your reader to the reasons you consider leadership important. The second part of your introduction should include your thesis. Here you should explain why the traits you chose are important. You don't have to list all the traits you'll be discussing in the essay, but you should try to mention at least three. Finally, conclude your introduction with a sentence that prepares the reader for the body of your essay.
Construct the body of your essay, which should be three paragraphs long. Each paragraph should discuss one or two traits. If you choose two traits, they should complement one another or show that a certain person can be dynamic in character. For each paragraph, refer to your list of traits and corresponding actions. Once you have used a trait and action, check them off so as to not accidentally use them twice. Remember to conclude each paragraph in such a way as to prepare your reader for the next paragraph.
Write your conclusion. The last paragraph of your essay should remind the reader of your thesis and demonstrate how you succeeded in proving it. You may remind your reader of traits discussed, but be careful not to simply repeat what you already wrote. Remember that writing is a process. After you've finished your conclusion, your first draft will be complete. Review is carefully for mistakes and make corrections. Ask a friend, parent or teacher to review it as well. Remember: no essay is complete without review and correction.
If you read example essays to get ideas for your own, be careful not to plagiarize. This can even happen accidentally if you are not careful.
If you find yourself unable to think of traits or actions or you simply can't write, get up from your chair and stretch or go for a walk. Take a few minutes break. Physical activity and time away from the page or screen can help cure writer's block.
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