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A Turning Point: An Event That Changed My Life Forever

Table of contents, the event: volunteer mission abroad, shifting perspectives and values, forging lasting connections, charting a new path.

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Essays About Life-changing Experiences: 5 Examples

Discover our guide for writing essays about life-changing experiences that combine three different elements: narrative, description, and self-reflection. 

Each of us has gone through life-changing experiences that shaped us into the individuals we are today. Because of how powerful they are, these events make for fascinating topics in writing. This subject doesn’t only let us tell our life stories, and it also pushes us to evaluate our behavior and reflect on why an incident happened.

Attract your readers by creating an excellent introduction and choosing a unique or exciting encounter. Paint a picture of the events that describe your experience vividly and finish with a strong conclusion.

5 Essay Examples

1. long essay on experience that changed my life by prasanna, 2. life-changing events: personal experience by anonymous on studycorgi.com, 3. my example of a life-changing experience by anonymous on gradesfixer.com, 4. life-changing experience: death essay by writer annie, 5. a life-changing experience during the holiday season by anonymous on studymoose.com, 1. life-changing experience: defined, 2. the experience that changed my life, 3. life-changing events and how they impact lives, 4. everyday events that change a person’s life, 5. the person who change my life, 6. books or movies that changed my life, 7. a life-changing quote.

“Experiences can be good and sometimes terrible that results in a positive or negative impact on one’s life. Life is full of many unexpected challenges and unknown turning points that will come along any time. People must learn and grow from every experience that they go through in life rather than losing yourself.”

In this essay, Prasanna discusses her father’s death as her most challenging life-changing experience. She was cheerful, immature, and carefree when her father was still alive. However, when her father left, she became the decision-maker of their family because her mother was unable to.

Prasanna mentions that she lost not only a father but also a friend, motivator, and mentor. That sad and unexpected experience turned her into an introverted, mature, and responsible head of the family. Ultimately, she thanks her father for making her a better person, and because of the devastating incident, she realizes who she can trust and how she should handle the real world. You might also be interested in these essays about choice .

“In life, certain experiences present challenges that change the way people relate to themselves and their families. Certain life events mark life-changing moments that alter lives either positively or negatively. It matters how people handle their relationships at such critical moments.”

This essay contains two life events that helped the author become a better person. These events taught them to trust and appreciate people, be responsible, and value family. The first event is when their best friend passes away, leading to stress, loss of appetite, and depression. The second circumstance happened when the author postponed their studies because they were afraid to grow up and be accountable for their decisions and actions.

The writer’s family showed them love, support, and understanding through these events. These events changed their behavior, attitude, and perspective on life and guided them to strengthen family relationships.

For help picking your next essay topic, check out our 20 engaging essay topics about family .

“I thought it was awkward because he looked and acted very professional. In that moment I thought to myself, ‘this person is going to have a great impact in my life!’. I was very curious to meet him and get a chance to show him my personality.”

This essay proves that you should always believe in yourself and not be afraid to try something new. The author recalls when they had many problems and met an extraordinary person who changed their life. 

When they were in sixth grade, the writer had life issues that caused them to be anxious about any future endeavor. The author then says they don’t usually open up to teachers because they fear their reactions. Then they met Mr. Salazar, a mentor who respects and values them, and the writer considers him their best friend.

“When the funeral was over and he was laid to rest, I had a feeling I can’t even describe. It was almost an empty feeling. I knew I had lost someone that could never be replaced.”

Annie never thought that she’d go through a life-changing experience until the sudden death of her father. Her thoughts and feelings are all over the place, and she has many unanswered questions. She says that although she will never wish for anyone to experience the same. However, her father’s passing improved her life in some ways.

Her mother remarried and introduced a new father figure, who was very kind to her. Living with her stepdad allowed her to explore and do things she thought she couldn’t. Annie still mourns the loss of her birth father, but she is also grateful to have a stepdad she can lean on. She gradually accepts that she can’t bring her birth father back.

“This story as a whole has really changed me and made me an even better person in life, I’m so thankful that this happened to me because now I have a greater appreciation for the little things in life.”

The essay shows how a simple interaction on a cold day in December can completely change a person’s view on life. It starts with the writer being asked a small favor of an older man with Alzheimer’s disease to help him find his car. This experience teaches the writer to be more observant and appreciative of the things they have. The author was inspired to spend more time with loved ones, especially their grandfather, who also has Alzheimer’s disease, as they learned never to take anything for granted.

7 Prompts for Essays About Life-changing Experiences

Everyone has their definition of a life-changing experience. But in general, it is an event or series of events profoundly altering a person’s thinking, feelings, and behavior. Use this prompt to explain your understanding of the topic and discuss how a simple action, decision, or encounter can change someone’s life. You might also be interested in these essays about yourself .

Essays about life-changing experiences: The Experience That Changed My Life

For this prompt, choose a specific memory that made you re-evaluate your views, values, and morals. Then, discuss the impact of this event on your life. For example, you can discuss losing a loved one, moving to another country, or starting a new school. Your conclusion must contain the main lessons you learned from the experience and how it can help the readers.

Various positive and negative life-changing experiences happen anytime and anywhere. Sometimes, you don’t notice them until they substantially disturb your everyday life. 

To begin your essay, interview people and ask about a momentous event that happened to them and how it influenced their way of living. Then, pick the most potent life-changing experience shared. Talk about what you’d do if you were in the same situation.

Some life-changing events include common things such as marriage, parenthood, divorce, job loss, and death. Research and discuss the most common experiences that transform a person’s life. Include real-life situations and any personal encounters for an intriguing essay.

It’s normal to meet other people, but connecting with someone who will significantly impact your life is a blessing. Use this prompt to discuss that particular person, such as a parent, close friend, or romantic partner. Share who they are and how you met them, and discuss what they did or said that made a big difference in your life. 

Movies like “The Truman Show” help change your viewpoint in life. They open our minds and provide ideas for dealing with our struggles. Share how you reached an epiphany by reading a book or watching a movie. Include if it’s because of a particular dialogue, character action, or scenes you can relate to.

Essays about life-changing experiences: A Life-changing Quote

While others use inspirational quotes for comfort and to avoid negative thinking, some find a quote that gives them the courage to make drastic changes to better their lives. For this prompt, search for well-known personalities who discovered a quote that motivated them to turn their life around.  Essay Tip: When editing for grammar, we also recommend spending time and effort to improve the readability score of your essay before publishing or submitting it.

essay on an event that changed my life

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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An Event That Changed My Life, Essay Example

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I have always had a strong interest in medicine and the desire to pursue a career within this field. This desire was galvanised after an experience I encountered during the summer of 2011.  This paper focuses on that experience and how it helped me to affirm the desired path for my chosen vocation. It was truly a life changing event for me and I believe the turning point in shaping the future of my life. Although the experience only lasted one month it made a profound impact on me and helped me to focus in on the right direction forward.

Background of the Event

The actual event took place at SARAS Stoneybrook University. It was July 2011 and the involvement in a summer program which enabled high school students to gain a firmer understanding of the benefits for adopting medicine as a chosen career path.  I took this course in the summer before my 12 th grade. The event helped me to interact with a peer group of likeminded people and provided not only a superb opportunity for socialising and networking but the ability to get a feel of other people’s ideas, motivations and commitments for the desire to have a career in the medical field.  The amazing this was the degree of flexibility and diversity that is available within this wide area of discipline.

The course was just a month in duration but it packed in a wide range of activities including both theoretical and practical applications.  The course not only dealt with individuals but provided the opportunity for teamwork and group thinking exercises. As such it was extremely interactive and dynamic.

The Decision

The event convinced me that Medicine was the right direction in order for me to develop my career. In the 12 th grade I made plans to develop this line of thinking and began applying to colleges and pre-med programs. Thankfully this effort was rewarded and I managed to obtain a six year combined pre-medical program leading towards an M.D. degree.  In addition to my decision to adopt this route, this equally aligned with my schools mission that supported and helped me in attaining this direction and goal.

Benefits of the Summer Program

There were a number of important benefits that I derived from attending the summer program in July 2011.  For example:-

  • I was freed from my normal working environment into a more liberated and relaxed environment that enabled me to focus at what medicine truly has to offer as a career option;
  • I was able to mingle with likeminded students and form a peer group that facilitated interaction and exchange of ideas. This helped in the exploration of the subject matter and the ability to discuss key points of motivation and drivers with a likeminded group of people;
  • The course providers at Stoneybrook University provided a blend of academic and practical work experience that enabled you to obtain a precise feel of what the profession is all about and what it has to offer;
  • A number of field trips provided close-up experience of medical practitioners in action and they participated in a number of group discussion sessions and as such provided a real feel of what it is like to work in this field;
  • There was a strong sense of community spirit and the concept of helping others and making a difference to their general wellbeing in life provides a strong incentive towards developing a career in this field.

The Stoney Brook University Course

The University outlines a clear set of objectives for the course “ This lecture and workshop series is designed to bring awareness to enthusiastic students on different aspects of basic, clinical and translational sciences and associated specialties of the biomedical field.  Scientists, physicians, allied health professionals, health administrators and other experts will be involved in educating the students about different topics, specialties, and also laboratory and clinical techniques. The interaction between these experts and the students will enhance the participant’s educational experience and gives the students an insight into different fields and careers of biomedical sciences .” (SUNY Medical Centre).

The objectives also emphasise the importance of subject matter experts providing important lectures and seminars to the students covering the diverse range of work and opportunities within the medical field.

Medical Programs

The American International College of Arts and Sciences is one specific example that offers pre-med programs for those wishing to pursue a career as a Doctor of Medicine “ Students with undergraduate degrees can also take individual courses in this program to complete their basic requirements or improve their grades to qualify for the M.D. program ” (American International College of Arts & Science).

I am extremely delighted that I have made this important decision and now looking forward to developing my own vision to become a Doctor and obtain my M.D. Degree. In the recognition that this is a long term commitment to study, a six year program, it is hoped that this will enable me not only to become a general practitioner of medicine but equally provide me the opportunity to discover the area of medical specialisation I wish to ultimately practice in.

The voyage in a long one and will involve a process of continued professional development and learning throughout my working life.  I am ready for this challenge and I move forward with a great deal of enthusiasm and conviction towards the interesting days of discovery that lie ahead.

Works Cited

American International College of Arts & Science. Pre Medical Program . n.d. http://test.auamed.org/pre-medical-program. 7 9 2012.

SUNY Medical Centre. Science And Research Awareness Series (SARAS) . 2012. http://anes.anesthes.sunysb.edu/Teaching/2012-SARAS-program.htm. 7 9 2012.

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IELTS Luminary - Free Tips, Strategies, eBooks and Detailed Essay Feedback . Overall, this is the best free IELTS and other test prep website.

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Describe an Event that Changed Your Life (or, Changed You) in a Good Way - IELTS Speaking Cue Card Model Answer

Describe an event that changed your life (or, changed you) in a good way..

You should say:

when it happened

where it happened

what the change was

and explain how you benefited from this change.

Describe an Event that Changed Your Life (or, Changed You) in a Good Way - IELTS Speaking Cue Card Model Answer

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Model Answer 1

A pivotal moment that redefined my life occurred during the summer of 2018, in the serene surroundings of a mountain retreat. This life-altering event was not marked by grand fanfare; instead, it was a quiet realization during a meditation retreat. The change was profound yet subtle – it was the embracement of mindfulness and a newfound appreciation for the present moment.

Before this experience, my life was in constant fast-forward, with my mind perpetually racing from one worry to the next. It was during a session of guided meditation, enveloped by the tranquil mountain air and the gentle rustling of leaves, that I experienced a profound sense of peace. This tranquility was not merely the absence of noise; it was an awakening to the beauty of the present.

This transformation has had lasting effects on my life. Embracing mindfulness has allowed me to approach daily challenges with calmness and clarity. Stressful situations, which previously overwhelmed me, now seem manageable as I have learned to maintain a composed and focused mind. This change has enhanced my interpersonal relationships as well; I listen more attentively, respond more thoughtfully, and appreciate the nuances of communication. Moreover, this shift has positively influenced my career, where the ability to remain present and composed under pressure is invaluable.

In essence, the change was not just in my actions, but in my perspective. The realization that living in the moment is not just a phrase, but a transformative practice, has been the cornerstone of this positive shift. This journey towards mindfulness has not only enriched my personal experiences but has also imbued me with a sense of serenity and purpose, attributes that have significantly enhanced the quality of my life.

Why this is a High Scoring Answer

This sample answer is an exemplary response to the question, "Describe an event that changed your life (or, changed you) in a good way," and serves as a model for those aiming to achieve high scores in the IELTS Speaking section. Here's a detailed breakdown of why this answer is effective:

1.    Comprehensive Coverage: The answer thoroughly addresses all aspects of the question. It clearly states the when (summer of 2018) and where (mountain retreat) of the event. The what (embracement of mindfulness and appreciation of the present moment) and the explanation of how the candidate benefited (improved handling of stress, enhanced interpersonal relationships, and positive career impact) are also well-articulated.

2.    Depth of Reflection and Personal Insight: The response demonstrates deep personal insight, reflecting on how the candidate's life was before the event and the transformative impact it had. The journey from a life in "constant fast-forward" to one of "mindfulness" shows a profound level of self-awareness, which is a key aspect of effective communication.

3.    Descriptive Language: The use of descriptive language, such as "tranquil mountain air" and "gentle rustling of leaves," paints a vivid picture for the listener, engaging them in the narrative. This ability to create imagery is a hallmark of advanced language skills.

4.    Cohesiveness and Fluency: The response flows smoothly from one point to the next, maintaining a clear and logical structure. This cohesiveness is essential for keeping the listener engaged and for conveying thoughts in an organized manner.

5.    Vocabulary and Grammar: The answer showcases a wide range of vocabulary and complex grammatical structures, without compromising clarity. Phrases like "profound sense of peace" and "embracement of mindfulness" are indicative of a high level of language proficiency.

For those looking to further enhance their preparation, our exclusive IELTS books (pdf download) delve into these aspects in greater detail. These resources are crafted to guide you through mastering the nuances of the English language, ensuring you can confidently articulate experiences and ideas just as effectively.

This sample answer exemplifies what you can learn and replicate with our expert guidance. Remember, your journey to achieving a high IELTS score is not just about learning the language; it's about learning how to convey your unique experiences and insights in a way that resonates with others.

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Model Answer 2

One transformative event that significantly reshaped my life's trajectory occurred in the autumn of 2016, amidst the bustling streets of New York City. This defining moment was not one of dramatic revelation, but rather a gradual awakening sparked by volunteering at a local community center.

The change was a deep-seated shift in perspective, from a self-centered worldview to one marked by empathy and a commitment to service. Prior to this experience, my life revolved around personal ambitions and material success. However, engaging with diverse individuals from various walks of life, all converging at this hub of community activity, opened my eyes to the broader spectrum of human experience.

The transformation was multi-faceted. On a personal level, I developed a profound sense of gratitude for the privileges I had taken for granted. This shift in mindset led to a more fulfilling life, where happiness was not solely derived from personal achievements but also from the joy of contributing to the well-being of others. Professionally, this experience broadened my horizons, inspiring me to pursue a career in social work, a field I had never previously considered.

Moreover, this volunteering stint honed my interpersonal skills, teaching me the value of active listening, empathy, and effective communication. These skills have not only made me a more compassionate individual but also a more adept professional, capable of building meaningful relationships and understanding diverse viewpoints.

In essence, this experience redefined my life's purpose. It instilled in me the belief that true fulfillment comes from serving others and contributing to a greater good. This newfound purpose has guided my decisions and actions, leading to a more enriching and rewarding life journey.

This sample answer is an excellent illustration of how to effectively respond to the topic, "Describe an event that changed your life (or, changed you) in a good way." It stands out as a high-scoring answer for several reasons:

1.    Fulfilling the Question Requirements: The speaker vividly recounts an event - volunteering in New York City - that brought about a significant change in their life. This directly addresses the topic, detailing both the event and its transformative impact.

2.    Depth of Personal Growth and Insight: The answer showcases a profound personal transformation from a focus on self to a dedication to service and empathy. This level of introspection and reflection on personal growth demonstrates a deep understanding of the subject matter, which is essential in conveying a compelling narrative.

3.    Rich and Descriptive Language: The use of descriptive and emotive language, such as "gradual awakening" and "deep-seated shift in perspective," enhances the quality of the response. This not only engages the listener but also shows mastery of language, a critical component of the IELTS Speaking test.

4.    Cohesive Structure and Flow: The response is well-structured, with a clear beginning, development, and conclusion. This coherence in storytelling ensures that the listener can easily follow and understand the narrative.

5.    Variety in Vocabulary and Sentence Structure: The speaker employs a wide range of vocabulary and varied sentence structures, demonstrating linguistic proficiency. Phrases like "multi-faceted transformation" and "instilled in me the belief" are examples of advanced language use.

6.    Relevance and Relatability: The narrative is relatable and grounded in real-life experiences, making it more impactful and genuine. Discussing the impact of volunteering on both personal and professional levels makes the response more comprehensive and relevant.

For those eager to craft equally compelling responses and enhance their IELTS Speaking skills, our exclusive IELTS books (pdf download) are an invaluable resource. They provide you with insights and strategies to articulate your experiences and ideas with clarity and confidence, mirroring the high standards demonstrated in this answer.

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Model Answer 3

A pivotal moment that irrevocably transformed my life unfolded in the spring of 2019, against the backdrop of the historic city of Rome. This life-altering event was my first solo international travel experience, a journey that not only spanned continents but also expanded the horizons of my mind.

The change was profound and multifaceted. Embracing the unknown, navigating through the labyrinthine streets of a foreign land, and immersing myself in a culture vastly different from my own, instilled in me an unshakeable confidence and an insatiable curiosity. Prior to this expedition, my world view was limited, shaped largely by my immediate surroundings and second-hand narratives. However, this solo voyage introduced me to the rich tapestry of global cultures, languages, and perspectives.

The transformation was both personal and intellectual. Personally, the journey fostered a sense of independence and self-reliance that I had never experienced before. Each decision, from choosing the next destination to overcoming language barriers, was a step towards self-discovery and growth. Intellectually, it broadened my understanding of the world, teaching me the value of cultural diversity and the importance of global interconnectedness.

Moreover, this travel experience refined my problem-solving skills and adaptability, traits that have proven invaluable in both personal and professional realms. It taught me to approach challenges with a calm and open mind, turning obstacles into opportunities for learning and growth.

In summary, this solo journey was not just a physical traverse across countries; it was a voyage into the depths of my own potential. It reshaped my identity, turning me into a global citizen, eager to explore, learn, and connect with the diverse tapestry of humanity that makes our world so rich and fascinating.

This sample answer excellently addresses the topic "Describe an event that changed your life (or, changed you) in a good way," and here's a detailed analysis of its strengths:

1.    Directly Addresses the Topic: The speaker immediately engages with the topic by describing their solo travel to Rome. This direct approach ensures that the listener understands the relevance of the narrative to the topic.

2.    Depth and Insight: The response reflects a deep level of personal and intellectual growth. The speaker talks about gaining "an unshakeable confidence and an insatiable curiosity," showcasing significant self-awareness and development.

3.    Descriptive and Vivid Language: The use of descriptive phrases like "navigating through the labyrinthine streets" and "the rich tapestry of global cultures" not only demonstrates a high level of language proficiency but also keeps the listener engaged.

4.    Clear Structure and Cohesion: The answer has a well-organized structure, flowing logically from the introduction of the event to its personal and intellectual impact. This clear progression of ideas is crucial for coherence and listener comprehension.

5.    Demonstration of Key Skills: The narrative illustrates important qualities like independence, adaptability, and problem-solving, which are highly valued in both the IELTS criteria and real-world scenarios.

6.    Cultural Awareness and Global Perspective: The speaker's reflections on cultural diversity and global interconnectedness show a broadened worldview, a key aspect of a high-scoring IELTS response.

For those aiming to achieve similar depth and proficiency in their IELTS Speaking responses, our exclusive IELTS books (pdf download) provide you with the tools and insights necessary for success. These resources, designed with you in mind, offer strategies to enhance your speaking skills, enabling you to articulate your experiences and ideas with clarity and confidence, much like the response given here.

In an IELTS Speaking exam, it's crucial to present ideas in a manner that is not only articulate and well-structured but also personal and reflective. This sample demonstrates how you can successfully achieve this balance, making it an excellent model for high-scoring responses.

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Life Changing Events: Personal Experience

If you are about to write a short narrative essay about something that changed your life forever, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our “childhood experience that changed my life” essay sample to get some ideas and inspiration for your paper.

Life Changing Event: Essay Introduction

Life changing experience: essay main body, life changing event: essay conclusion.

In life, certain experiences present challenges that change the way people relate to themselves and their families. Certain life events mark life-changing moments that alter lives either positively or negatively. It matters how people handle their relationships at such critical moments. 

Relationships, especially with family members, are the most important aspects of handling change. I have experienced life-changing events that turned me into a better person.

One such event occurred in my childhood, while the other occurred in adolescence. In both cases, my family was there to support and help me go through the tough times. Looking back at the influence of these events, I am always glad that my family was with me in overcoming the challenges. I am a better person because my family stood beside me and gave me strength and support in moments of weakness and helplessness.

The first event that had a remarkable impact on my life was the loss of a dear friend. This event changed my world and made me a better person. It taught me how to appreciate friends, family, and relationships. In childhood, I had a cousin who was my best friend.

Our friendship was so deep that we usually spent holidays and weekends visiting each other’s families. To my family, she was like one of the members. I was like one of her family members, too. We used to spend a lot of time together, playing, studying, traveling, and doing many other fun activities.

One day, while returning home from school, she got knocked down by a motorcyclist speeding off, trying to escape from a police officer. She was hit from behind and knocked her head on a large stone on the side of the road upon landing on the ground. When I received the news of the accident, I was devastated.

The morning after the accident, I visited her in the hospital and received the sad news that she was in a coma after suffering severe brain damage. I lost my appetite, could not sleep for weeks, and spent several nights crying and wishing she would be fine. She was in the hospital for six months. During that period, I became stressed and lost weight.

I missed school for many days, thus affecting my academics. Even though my family was also affected, the effect was greater on me because of our long-time friendship. Every day I woke up expecting to hear good news from my parents of her miraculous recovery, but that did not happen. As I became more depressed, I started to avoid social gatherings and experienced difficulty sleeping.

One morning, just after breakfast, we received news that she had passed away. At that moment, a hot flush of blood flowed into my head, and I fainted. The long period of endless waiting had come to an end. That morning was one of the lowest moments. I was rushed to the hospital, and the doctors said I had collapsed due to sudden shock. The grieving period was excruciating.

However, my family stood by me and offered consolation. My family members provided emotional and physical support and helped me overcome the incident. The event had severe emotional effects. My mum spent most of her time comforting me. I could cope with the situation because my family understood what I was going through, were patient, listened to me, and offered psychological help.

My parents were not angry at me for missing school. They allowed me to stay home until I was ready to go back. It took four months of grieving to get over the death of my cousin and best friend. This incident changed my life and brought me closer to my family. I now appreciate relationships and more. As a result, I am more loving, caring, compassionate, and appreciative of the people in my life.

The other defining moment that changed me involved a disagreement with my parents regarding joining high school. When the time came for me to enter high school, I was not prepared and wanted to stay home for a year before joining. My parents were concerned that I would lose a year of schooling since, at my age, I was not ready for a job. They feared I would have nothing to do for an entire year.

The reasons for delaying my entry to high school were fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. I was not ready to enter a stage of life where I was expected to be responsible for my life and actions. I refused to talk to my parents and other family members because I felt that they were imposing their principles on me. The truth is that I was afraid to enter a phase that would require me to be responsible for my decisions and actions.

I avoided my parents and always ensured they never got a chance to question me. My decision changed when my dad confronted me. Our discussion focused on the reasons that were informing my decision. At first, I was unwilling to tell my dad the truth, but as the debate progressed, I had no choice but to open up to him. I was afraid that he would be disappointed with me.

However, he assured me that it was normal to experience fear and anxiety, especially when making a life-changing decision. He narrated a story about how he had reacted the same way when his dad asked him to move out of their family house to find a place to live after joining college. Throughout the entire experience, my family was very understanding.

They helped me to overcome the fear and anxiety of embracing responsibilities. That incident changed my life, attitudes, and perspectives regarding life. My family has always supported me during tough times. That incident improved my relationship with my family and introduced me to adulthood. Whenever I face a challenge, I discuss it openly with my family because of the awareness that they are always ready and willing to listen and offer assistance. 

My elder brother introduced me to high school life and offered numerous tips on adjusting to the new environment. My family is my greatest source of joy and happiness. This incident taught me responsibility, trust, humility, and the importance of family. The aforementioned events changed my life tremendously because they played a crucial role in molding me into a responsible, caring, and compassionate person.

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Narrative Essay Sample: The Events That Changed My Lifestyle

Everybody has certain events that change their lifestyle, but for me, it was two major events that really changed the course of my life.

Well, let's start at the very beginning. When I was little I always thought about everything, and my parents said that I had a very big vocabulary and that I always thought long and hard about things. But I thought about the most though was what I was going to get to become a big sister.  I would sit all day praying for God to bless me with a little sister.

Well, I remember coming home from school one day in  kindergarten, and my mom was in the bathtub when she said “ come here  Arlee I have to tell you something.”  I ran into the room full of excitement just knowing what she was going to tell me. So she sat me down and she showed me a little picture, and I looked at the picture and asked what it was, and she said said “see that little dot, that's going to be your new sibling”.” we don't know if it is a boy or a girl yet but you're going to be a big sister”.

Most of my mom's pregnancy was very exciting, I was anticipating the birth of my sibling so badly and I couldn't wait to find out the gender, and when I finally did I was so happy. We contemplated over tons of names, the most popular being Ruby Kate, but in the end, we ended up just naming her Addee Claire.

I remember that day she was born like the back of my hand. We had to wake up at 4:30  And I remember the nanny being on TV And then having to rush off to the hospital. My mom had to stay in the hospital for a few days so I got to stay with my grandma and grandpa. On the first night, my cousin Peyton spent the night too and we went and had furs for dinner.  The next day we went up to the hospital and saw my little sister and we both got to hold her. She was beautiful. She was just the most pretty baby I  had ever seen, with a cute little pink bow right at the top of her head. That same night my cousin Gracie came over to spend the night with me and my grandma and grandpa are to keep me company.  The next day after that my grandma took me home.  

After addee was born everything was really good until one day it wasn't. My mom began to lose her hair and have body aches that were terrible. My dad took her to several doctors who all said the same thing, they didn't know what she had. They said it wasn't cancer but they didn't know what she had. They tested her for all sorts of things such as lupus, fibromyalgia, and other things too. They ended up saying that she did have fibromyalgia, and some other autoimmune disease but they still don't know exactly what it is yet.

A little bit after finding all of this out though, we got some pretty good news. My dad had a friend of his who knew a lady who couldn't quite take care of her little baby girl anymore. I was really excited to find out that we were going to have her stay with us for a while. Her name was Greenlee, she was very sweet. But I knew we couldn't keep her forever, and eventually, we had to give her to some of her relatives. My sister began going to all of the visitations my mom would get with Greenlee and they became pretty close.  But she doesn't quite remember her now. I actually remember once  Addee had told me she wanted a little sister just like Greenlee.  And after some discussion, we realized we wanted twins, so We immediately began to pray every day for twins. And it wasn't but five years later before I became pregnant again.  

I remember that day perfectly as well. I was sitting on the couch in our living room with my sister reading a book when I decided to go ask my mom what a word meant from the book that I didn't understand. When I walked in she called me over and told me the wonderful news. She said  I was going to be a big sister again. All I remember is just running in the living room crying because I was so excited to be a sister again. It was like the greatest moment of my life. 

We contemplated way more names this time considering we were waiting to find out the gender till the day of birth. Everyone said it was going to be a boy and my mom thought so too but I wanted another sister so I wasn't too happy about this idea at all. I  had told my mom I hoped she had twins, but she said because of her autoimmune stuff and the fact that she was 42 and had already had two cesexshons it was already going to be a high-risk pregnancy  .  and it was, she had to have the baby in Dallas instead of in sulfur springs where we were born.

I later found out that my mom wanted to have twins when she was a teenager but changed her mind, and  I also found out that I would have had another sibling before Addee but my mom had a miscarriage.   We went through the whole pregnancy just wondering the gender of the baby, me wanting a girl, everybody else wanting a boy. The day the baby was born my sister was sick and had to wear a mask so when we finally got to see the baby and found out it was a girl  (who we named Aynslee Grace) she kept tugging on my sister's mask and kept sticking her tongue out at her. 

Those events changed my life because they helped shape me into the person I am today and brought a lot of responsibility into my life. For example, becoming a big sister allowed me to learn skills such as patience, and many others that I can use when I become a parent myself.   Also, my mom having her autoimmune disease brought me different responsibilities, for both like having to watch my sisters on my mom’s really bad days and other things too. But those two events greatly changed my life for the better. And wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Change — The Moment that Changed Everything: Personal Experience


The Moment that Changed Everything: Personal Experience

  • Categories: Change Life Changing Experience Personal Experience

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Words: 520 |

Updated: 20 October, 2023

Words: 520 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Works Cited

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  • Kessler, R. C., & McLeod, J. D. (1985). Social support and mental health in community samples. In Social support: Theory, research and applications (pp. 219-240). Springer.
  • Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. Springer publishing company.
  • Liu, Y., & Huang, Z. (2019). Why do people procrastinate? A review of six main theories. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1460.
  • Luthans, F., & Youssef, C. M. (2007). Emerging positive organizational behavior. Journal of Management, 33(3), 321-349.
  • Peterson, C. (2000). The future of optimism. American Psychologist, 55(1), 44-55.
  • Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1993). On the power of positive thinking: The benefits of being optimistic. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2(1), 26-30.
  • Seligman, M. E. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. Simon and Schuster.

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essay on an event that changed my life

An Event That Had a Significant Influence on My Life Essay


A mother’s love has been proven throughout history and has been immortalized by sayings like “Nothing beats a mother’s love” and “No matter what a child does, a mother will always be a mother.” My mother is the epitome of these sayings and as I live and breathe, I will continue to attest to this. You see, I have not only felt my mother’s love but also seen it in action. I can remember everything that happened just this past June — June 18, 2003, to be exact, as if everything only happened a few hours ago.

That year, I was a carefree 11-year-old who had all the time in the world to enjoy the life ahead of me. Little did I know that everything in my life would change that night. The night that my 15-year-old brother was killed by a drowsy school bus driver as he stood outside my parent’s outdoor equipment business. That night, I came home from school to receive the bad news. News that changed my life literally from that very morning.

I had 15 special years with my brother and being in the 5th grade, he was my role model in everything that I did. He was my protector and guardian angel who was always there when I needed him. But now, I am 17 and 2 years older than him. I often find myself wondering as to how my night has turned out and what our relationship might be like at this point in our lives. Would we still be best friends and have each other’s backs? 6 years later my family and I have changed a lot and are still on the road towards a long and lonely grieving process.

Consequences of the accident

We were devastated by the accident. Our sense of security was crushed and we could barely function as individuals and as a family for the next couple of years after the accident. We each dealt with death in different ways. My father had to go back to work 2 weeks after my brother’s untimely demise. He had to go back to the place where my brother died to pay the bills. While my mother threw herself into investigative work trying to figure out how a drowsy bus driver from our school would have been allowing to drive a bus in his condition. She needed to understand why and how the accident happened to have some sort of closure. She refused to let my brother’s death be in vain. Something good had to come out of it and that she would make sure of that.

Everybody tried to dissuade my mother from finding out the truth. Everyone but me. You see, I know my mother, I knew she would not stop until she got some answers. Her investigation was not for naught. It may have taken her 4 years but, she discovered that the driver suffered from sleep apnea and would often sleep in the bus garage, was taking 5 different medications, had uncontrolled diabetes, and most importantly, was not certified to drive a bus due to his existing physical conditions.

Armed with this knowledge, she ran for the school board and won. Under her guidance, she revamped the entire transportation of our school district and started a chapter of the non – profit organization Victims of Irresponsible Drowsy Drivers (VOIDD). She has traveled extensively throughout New York to educate the public about the dangers of drowsy driving and what countermeasures can be implemented. Watching my mother’s determination and strength that pulled her through the most devastating experience of our lives was an experience for me. Although she had taught me never to give up on my passions and beliefs, I only took it to heart when I saw her practice what she preached.

My family crisis taught me how to be selfless and be there for others who need help and support. through my mother’s actions, I have learned that she will always be my mother no matter what mistakes I make and what changes happen in the family. She will forever be, the strongest lady I know.

I have come to learn that lives can change at the drop of a hat. Life has no guarantees and needs to be flexible. I learned how to accept things that I could not change, no matter how hard and painful it might be because of my brother’s death. His death taught me how to live and my family was eventually reborn after all the events that took place. We learned to laugh and be a family again even without my brother’s presence.

All my experiences in life have changed me as a person. I may only be in high school but I have been a long-term member of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and a soccer player for 12 years. I also take part in 4-H Community Service projects in honor of my brother’s memory and to show my mother that I too can be as strong as she is and that I respect everything she has accomplished in life with or without the support of her friends and family.

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Home / Essay Samples / Life / Experience / Life Changing Experience

An Event that Changed My Life Completely

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Essay on An Incident That Changed My Life

Students are often asked to write an essay on An Incident That Changed My Life in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on An Incident That Changed My Life


Life is a series of events. Some leave a deep impact on us. For me, it was my first camping trip that changed my life.

The Incident

I was ten when I joined the Scouts. Our first camping trip was a challenging experience. We were lost in the woods at night.

That incident made me brave. I learned to face challenges head-on. It also ignited a love for nature in me.

That camping trip was a turning point in my life. It taught me resilience and made me a better person.

250 Words Essay on An Incident That Changed My Life

Life is a continuous journey, marked by profound moments that shape our character and destiny. For me, one such incident stands out distinctly – the day I volunteered at a local homeless shelter. This event not only changed my perspective but also became a pivotal point in my life’s trajectory.

A Day at the Shelter

One cold winter’s day, I found myself in a bustling homeless shelter, surrounded by faces marked with hardship and resilience. The shelter, a beacon of hope for many, was a place where the less fortunate could find warmth, food, and a sense of community. My task was simple: serve meals and engage in conversation.

The Encounter

Among the many people I met, one man’s story struck a chord. A former engineer, he had fallen victim to circumstances beyond his control and lost everything. Despite his dire situation, he radiated positivity and hope. Our conversation was a stark reminder of life’s unpredictability, and it shattered my preconceived notions about homelessness.

Life-altering Realizations

The encounter made me reflect on my privileges and the transient nature of success. I realized that compassion and understanding were more valuable than material wealth. It also unveiled my passion for social work and ignited a desire to contribute to society more actively.

The day at the shelter was an incident that profoundly changed my life. It taught me to value humanity over materialism, and it guided me towards a path of social service. Life is indeed unpredictable, but it’s these unexpected moments that hold the power to redefine our purpose and transform our lives.

500 Words Essay on An Incident That Changed My Life

Life is a series of events, some ordinary and others extraordinary. Often, it is the extraordinary incidents that have the power to transform our lives completely. This essay delves into one such incident that not only changed my perspective but also my life’s trajectory.

The Unexpected Encounter

During my sophomore year in college, I volunteered at a local homeless shelter. One winter afternoon, I met John, an elderly gentleman with a warm smile and eyes that held a thousand untold stories. His welcoming demeanor contradicted the harsh reality of his life. He was homeless, yet he carried an aura of contentment that was inexplicably infectious.

A Lesson in Resilience

John was a retired teacher who had lost everything due to a series of unfortunate events. Despite his circumstances, he never lost his spirit or his love for teaching. He would gather the children in the shelter every evening and teach them with an enthusiasm that was truly inspiring. His resilience in the face of adversity was a lesson in itself.

The Life-Changing Conversation

One day, I mustered the courage to ask John how he managed to remain positive. His reply was simple yet profound, “Life is not about what happens to you, but how you respond to it.” He explained that he chose to focus on the things within his control, like his attitude and actions, rather than dwelling on his misfortunes.

John’s words resonated deeply within me. I realized that I had been living my life in constant fear of the future, letting my anxieties dictate my actions. This encounter with John made me rethink my approach to life. I decided to adopt his philosophy and focus on my responses to situations rather than the situations themselves.

This incident was a turning point in my life. It taught me that our perspective shapes our reality. I learned to embrace life with all its ups and downs, understanding that the power to overcome challenges lies within me. John, the homeless man with an indomitable spirit, changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. His resilience and positivity continue to inspire me, reminding me that life is less about the circumstances we find ourselves in, and more about how we choose to respond to them.

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A moment that changed me: I was told the love of my life was going to die

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The Research Room

  • Neuroscience

How Encephalitis Changed My Life

A personal perspective: when the immune system erroneously attacks the brain..

Posted February 22, 2024 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma

By Juliana Ortiz

One minute, I couldn’t stop babbling about starting high school; the next, I was in an ambulance speeding to Miami’s Jackson Hospital, where I was eventually diagnosed with NMDAR-antibody encephalitis—a disease most people have never heard of that forever changed my life.

It started in August 2014. I was 14 and a straight-A perfectionist . But this year was different. During my first week of school, I felt overwhelmed, nervous, anxious, and foggy. I kept telling myself it was just nerves, but people said I was acting odd.

Then, I failed my first test.

On August 22nd, everything changed. I always went home with my sister and her friends, but that day I didn’t show up or answer their calls. Everyone was furious. At dinner, it was clear something was wrong. First, I started tapping my spoon nonstop on the table. I couldn’t form a sentence. Then my body went numb, my eyes rolled back, and my mother called 911.

When the initial tests came back negative, the ER doctors said it was psychological. They told my mother to take me home and call a psychiatrist if it happened again. My mother, who is a physical therapist, said, “I know my daughter, and I know she’s not okay. I am not leaving until I know what

is wrong.” The doctors agreed to admit me, but the MRIs and CT scans were negative. A family friend, who knew someone with encephalitis, suggested my mother ask about brain inflammation. After a spinal tap tested positive, I received a diagnosis of NMDAR-antibody encephalitis, which primarily

affects young people. Some 40 percent of cases occur in people under 18, the majority of whom are female. [1] In this autoimmune disease, instead of recognizing and removing infections, components in the immune system react with the brain protein receptor N-methyl-D-aspartate, which helps

control thoughts, mood, and movement. Like me, people who come down with NMDAR-antibody encephalitis often have a mix of symptoms that include seizures, confusion, memory loss, hallucinations, and agitation that are often misdiagnosed as psychiatric disorders, delaying treatment.

The diagnosis was shocking. No one knew anything about this disease even though it affects people of all ages, and one person around the globe is diagnosed with encephalitis every minute. [2] It can be caused by an infection, such as COVID-19 , measles, the herpes simplex virus, or—as in my case—when the immune system erroneously attacks the brain. In some parts of the world, encephalitis is more common than amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), bacterial meningitis, and multiple sclerosis. [3] It is often underdiagnosed and becoming increasingly prevalent due to under-resourced communities, vaccine hesitancy, insect-borne diseases, and climate change . [4]

Though I was incredibly lucky to receive my diagnosis quickly, finding the right treatment took time. As I lay in the ICU on a feeding tube, the doctors tried plasma exchange, Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy (IVIG), heavy doses of steroids, antipsychotics , and hypertension medication to control my skyrocketing blood pressure. My three-month hospitalization was endless and terrifying. I had involuntary spasms and bit down so hard, I lost two teeth. During vivid hallucinations, I battled to escape and, even though I only weighed 90 pounds, it took four nurses to hold me down.

When I went home in October, I was aggressive, childish, and unable to control my emotions. I thought my parents were holding me hostage and tried to escape when they drove me to the doctor. Once the police pulled us over, and I told the officer I was being kidnapped. My recovery required speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, visits to a neurologist, and monthly IV therapy. I returned to school in February 2015, just six months after my diagnosis, but by sophomore year, I hit bottom. My psychiatrist diagnosed anxiety and clinical depression , but I refused medication and left school, entering a special online program instead.

What finally helped was starting to see a neuropsychologist twice a week. We built a holistic plan that incorporated cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation , breath work, and ways to cope. I began feeling more like myself and, slowly, started being social again. Instead of feeling things would never be the same, I saw encephalitis as something that made me a stronger version of myself. That is when I knew I was going to be okay.

It wasn’t until 2017 that I felt fully recovered. I graduated from high school on time in June 2018. My college essay was entitled A Tragedy Worth Living because that is how I see what I went through.

In June 2023, I graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in neuroscience and psychology. I currently work with Alzheimer’s patients as a neuropsych research associate at the University of Miami, a job that has brought joy to my life.

essay on an event that changed my life

When I struggled, there was nothing I wanted more than to connect with someone who had been through what I was going through. That is why I began volunteering for Encephalitis International, connecting with people and caregivers who are struggling with encephalitis. I know when people see me today, they find my story difficult to imagine because many people with encephalitis never fully recover. I also know the brain is powerful, and that timely diagnosis and treatment offer people with encephalitis the best chance of recovery.

Juliana Ortiz is currently applying for Neuropsych Ph.D. programs.

1 Florance NR, Davis RL, Lam C, Szperka C, Zhou L, Ahmad S, Campen CJ, Moss H, Peter N, Gleichman AJ, Glaser CA, Lynch DR, Rosenfeld MR, Dalmau J. Anti-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis in children and adolescents. Ann Neurol. 2009 Jul;66(1):11-8. doi: 10.1002/ana.21756. PMID: 19670433; PMCID: PMC2826225.

2 Jmor, F., Emsley, H., Fischer, M., Solomon, T. and Lewthwaite, P. (2008). The incidence of acute encephalitis syndrome in Western industrialised and tropical countries. Virology Journal, 5, 1-13.

3 Encephalitis – an in-depth review and gap analysis of key variables affecting global disease burden (2022). Dr Julia Granerod, Alina Etherington, Dr Nicholas Davies, Dr Benedict Michael, Professor Tom Solomon, Dr Ava Easton.

4 Granerod, J., Huang. Y., Davies, N., Sequira. P., Mwapasa. V., Rupali. P., Michael. B., Solomon. T., Easton, A. (2023). Global landscape of encephalitis: key priorities to reduce future disease burden. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 77(11), 1552-1560.

The Research Room

Ava Easton, Ph.D., with the University of Liverpool, Sarosh R Irani, DPhil, of the Mayo Clinic, and Jessica Fish, Ph.D., of the University of Glasgow, among others are researchers with Encephalitis International.

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Guest Essay

My Grandpa Redeemed Cans for Money. He Deserved a Raise.

a photograph of used aluminum cans stuffed in a clear plastic bag.

By Andrew Li

Mr. Li is a senior at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.

When I was in the fifth grade, my grandpa took me to my school’s dumpster. “You know the Coca-Cola and water bottles that people throw out?” he asked me in Mandarin. I nodded, spotting two empty Poland Spring bottles lying on top of a nearby garbage pile. He swiftly plucked them out and stowed them away in a plastic bag. “That’s 10 cents. Your turn,” he said, smiling as I ran to another trash can. Seconds later, I emerged victorious, holding a Pepsi can over my head as if it were a trophy.

My grandpa was a canner, someone who collects recyclable containers on the street and redeems them for money. In New York State, canning is possible because of the Returnable Container Act , passed in 1982, which calls for a 5-cent deposit on glass, metal and plastic beverage containers. Though the law was meant to reduce litter and encourage recycling, it has also had the effect of offering a lifeline to some New Yorkers. A new bill that is pending in the State Legislature offers a chance for us to significantly improve the welfare of canners like my grandpa.

There are an estimated 4,000 to 8,000 canners in New York City. Many of them turn to canning because they are unable to earn a steady income for a variety of reasons — because they are homeless, unemployed or recent immigrants, as my grandpa was.

It’s easy to see canning as sad and degrading. When I was in the fifth grade, I remember the looks of disgust and bewilderment on my classmates’ faces when I told them that picking through the trash was actually quite profitable. I quickly learned not to offer this observation. Nonetheless, I was raised to respect family members, especially my elders, so I was never embarrassed that my grandpa was a canner.

On the streets of New York, though, my grandpa endured scathing looks. And some of his family members looked down on him for doing work they saw as dirty and indecent.

But there’s a difference between being desperate and being pitiable. Though it’s no one’s first choice as a profession, canning offered my grandpa a chance to build a life and a family. He always took pride in his work.

When my grandparents left China for the United States, not knowing English barred them from most work, and they had to rely on what little money they could earn through odd jobs or, eventually, canning. Some people collect cans to supplement their savings and support their family members. My grandpa remembers spending hours every day picking up bottles just to earn enough money so that his family could sleep with full stomachs.

His top priority was making sure that my dad could attend college without taking out loans — a feat he was able to accomplish. Even after landing a construction job, my grandpa continued to can for 30 years, until the start of the pandemic, as a way of helping to pay the bills.

Since the Returnable Container Act was passed four decades ago, the benefits of canning have been dwindling. Five cents today is worth only a third as much as it was in 1982. To earn just $5, barely enough to afford a meal, you have to collect 100 containers. That’s 100 instances of finding and collecting, not to mention carrying everything you’ve gathered to a redemption center. Many stores also impose limits on the number and types of containers that can be redeemed, requiring canners to travel to more than one place to unload their haul.

The new bill would double the bottle deposit to 10 cents from 5 cents, as well as expand the kinds of containers that are redeemable. For many canners, a greater return would mean less time on the streets and more time to devote to education, family and working toward a more stable income.

Canning is no easy task, as my grandpa regularly pointed out. He frequently brought me along to help him carry and redeem the containers we collected. As a teenager, I had little trouble walking the half-mile route, picking out recyclables, but since my grandpa was in his 70s, he would have to stop and rest regularly. “You’re lucky,” he would tell me. “When you get to my age, everything is 10 times harder.”

Increasing the deposit on containers would also most likely be a boon to recycling. In 2020, New York recycled 5.5 billion containers , with redemption rates of 64 percent . Some of this is thanks to the long hours that canners spend picking up after other people, and in 2022, the rate reached 70 percen t. Still, this percentage can be improved, as demonstrated by Michigan’s 76 percent redemption rate and Oregon’s 86 percent , both of which offer 10 cents for containers. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the states with the highest redemption rates tend to have the highest deposits.

The benefits of doubling the bottle deposit are clear. It’s time to give canners the respect they deserve.

Andrew Li is a senior at Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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What is Presidents Day and how is it celebrated? What to know about the federal holiday

Many will have a day off on monday in honor of presidents day. consumers may take advantage of retail sales that proliferate on the federal holiday, but here's what to know about the history of it..

essay on an event that changed my life

Presidents Day is fast approaching, which may signal to many a relaxing three-day weekend and plenty of holiday sales and bargains .

But next to Independence Day, there may not exist another American holiday that is quite so patriotic.

While Presidents Day has come to be a commemoration of all the nation's 46 chief executives, both past and present, it wasn't always so broad . When it first came into existence – long before it was even federally recognized – the holiday was meant to celebrate just one man: George Washington.

How has the day grown from a simple celebration of the birthday of the first president of the United States? And why are we seeing all these ads for car and furniture sales on TV?

Here's what to know about Presidents Day and how it came to be:

When is Presidents Day 2024?

This year, Presidents Day is on Monday, Feb. 19.

The holiday is celebrated on the third Monday of every February because of a bill signed into law in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Taking effect three years later, the Uniform Holiday Bill mandated that three holidays – Memorial Day, Presidents Day and Veterans Day – occur on Mondays to prevent midweek shutdowns and add long weekends to the federal calendar, according to Britannica .

Other holidays, including Labor Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day , were also established to be celebrated on Mondays when they were first observed.

However, Veterans Day was returned to Nov. 11 in 1978 and continues to be commemorated on that day.

What does Presidents Day commemorate?

Presidents Day was initially established in 1879 to celebrate the birthday of the nation's first president, George Washington. In fact, the holiday was simply called Washington's Birthday, which is still how the federal government refers to it, the Department of State explains .

Following the death of the venerated American Revolution leader in 1799, Feb. 22, widely believed to be Washington's date of birth , became a perennial day of remembrance, according to History.com .

The day remained an unofficial observance for much of the 1800s until Sen. Stephen Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas proposed that it become a federal holiday. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law, according to History.com.

While initially being recognized only in Washington D.C., Washington's Birthday became a nationwide holiday in 1885. The first to celebrate the life of an individual American, Washington's Birthday was at the time one of only five federally-recognized holidays – the others being Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.

However, most Americans today likely don't view the federal holiday as a commemoration of just one specific president. Presidents Day has since come to represent a day to recognize and celebrate all of the United States' commanders-in-chief, according to the U.S. Department of State .

When the Uniform Holiday Bill took effect in 1971, a provision was included to combine the celebration of Washington’s birthday with Abraham Lincoln's on Feb. 12, according to History.com. Because the new annual date always fell between Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays, Americans believed the day was intended to honor both presidents.

Interestingly, advertisers may have played a part in the shift to "Presidents Day."

Many businesses jumped at the opportunity to use the three-day weekend as a means to draw customers with Presidents Day sales and bargain at stores across the country, according to History.com.

How is the holiday celebrated?

Because Presidents Day is a federal holiday , most federal workers will have the day off .

Part of the reason Johnson made the day a uniform holiday was so Americans had a long weekend "to travel farther and see more of this beautiful land of ours," he wrote. As such, places like the Washington Monument in D.C. and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota – which bears the likenesses of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt – are bound to attract plenty of tourists.

Similar to Independence Day, the holiday is also viewed as a patriotic celebration . As opposed to July, February might not be the best time for backyard barbecues and fireworks, but reenactments, parades and other ceremonies are sure to take place in cities across the U.S.

Presidential places abound across the U.S.

Opinions on current and recent presidents may leave Americans divided, but we apparently love our leaders of old enough to name a lot of places after them.

In 2023, the U.S. Census Bureau pulled information from its databases showcasing presidential geographic facts about the nation's cities and states.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the census data shows that as of 2020 , the U.S. is home to plenty of cities, counties and towns bearing presidential names. Specifically:

  • 94 places are named "Washington."
  • 72 places are named "Lincoln."
  • 67 places are named for Andrew Jackson, a controversial figure who owned slaves and forced thousands of Native Americans to march along the infamous Trail of Tears.

Contributing: Clare Mulroy

Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at [email protected]


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