How to Write a Milestone Paper

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A milestone essay is a reflective description of the journey toward a significant personal accomplishment. The essay should describe how you achieved the milestone and include an explanation of the lessons you learned from the experience. Generate a list of important details by reflecting on the steps you took and the emotions you experienced while achieving the milestone to effectively develop the story of your personal accomplishment.

1 Outline the Milestone

Describe the milestone clearly by establishing a personal voice through narration. Briefly state the milestone and clearly explain how it happened. Indicate the emotions you experienced as you set out to accomplish your goal. For example, you might say, "I decided I wanted to graduate from high school when I learned I could be the first in my family to do so. I was overcome with uncertainty in the beginning but knew I truly wanted to reach my goal." Elaborate on why the goal was important and worth pursuing.

2 Describe the Milestone's Impact

Explain how the steps you took helped you achieve the milestone. Inform readers of the choices you made to reach your goal. For example, you might say, "Graduating from high school required more than hoping for the best. I had to take action. I had to attend school regularly, complete the homework and study for the tests so I could pass each class." Explain the tasks you had to complete to be successful, such as developing good study habits and organizing materials for each class. Describe the emotional impact of working toward and reaching the milestone. This will establish the personal relationship between you and the goal.

3 Share Your Perceptions

Discuss what you learned, improved upon or demonstrated about yourself through reaching the milestone. Share your perceptions of what you gained through your accomplishment. Talk about what you might do differently the next time you set out to accomplish a goal. For example, you might explain that while you were proud of yourself each time you passed a class, next time -- perhaps in college -- you will budget your time better so that you will be able to excel in your courses and not just pass them.

4 Look to the Future

When concluding a milestone paper, it's essential that you reflect on you achievement -- and its aftermath. Martin Hampton, a lecturer at of the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, notes: "Reflection is an exploration and an explanation of events, not just a description of them." Explain how your struggles to meet this milestone have helped you to see what changes you will need to make in the future to achieve new goals. Reflecting and learning from what you accomplished can help determine what worked and what didn't, as well as what changes you'll need to make to be successful in your future endeavors.

A graduate of West Virginia University, Kristine Alvarez has a career that spans more than 19 years within the fields of advanced placement English, advanced reading, gifted education and time as an adjunct professor teaching composition and research-based writing at WVU. Currently, she teaches English at Morgantown High School in Monongalia County.