Personal Narrative Speech Essay Sample

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Specific Purpose: To inform my audience about how my move from California to Atlanta in my childhood contributed to my personal growth as an adult.

Central Idea: At first instance, change can be shocking but it is change that contributes to your growth as a human being.

Hello everyone, my name is Niah Whitmore and today I will give a brief speech on a personal life experience I would like to share with you. Imagine being born and raised in a community where your entire family lives. Over the years you have made great friends from elementary school until your sophomore year of high school. Your parents tell you in the start of your junior year, that you will be moving across the country to a place that you never been to and where you will know no one. How would you feel? Going to an environment in which is unfamiliar to you and in your last 2 years of your grade school experience? It would be upsetting, wouldn’t it? Like many things in life, change is inevitable but it is change that contributes to your life experiences which is what I plan to talk about today, specifically my experience in my childhood and early adult years.


1. Moving to Atlanta in my Junior year of high school from California, far from all of my friends and family 

A. In my junior year of high school, my parents were relocated to Atlanta for a transfer in my mother’s position with Cisco Systems. It was a great opportunity for her to establish herself professionally and financially in a way she didn’t feel she could accomplish in California.

B. All of my close family and friends that I had made from a child to an early adult would be lost, just like that. I had no family or had even been to Atlanta to visit prior to moving.

C. Immediately, I felt resentment towards my parents for not considering the uprooting to my childhood this move would cause me. I couldn’t see past my own wants and needs or how this was a great opportunity for my family as a whole.

2. Life Experience living in Atlanta vs. California

a. Living in the South in my early adulthood was much different than being born and raised in California. It was very different socially, racially and culturally. Atlanta isn’t diverse like California is at all.

b. My junior and senior year of high school was terrible (in my opinion). I had no friends, I was terribly shy and I didn’t talk or dress like most of the students in my school. The kids were very mean and taunted me, saying things like “You talk like a valley girl” and other ignorant comments. Mostly from people that looked LIKE ME. For me this was strange, especially coming from California where I had friends of all different races and cultures.

c. My college years were better. I became more outgoing and willing to embrace my new environment more. I learned to ignore ignorant statements from people and embrace being different while willing to accept my new environment at the same time.

d. The more I explored Atlanta and the more I progressively allowed myself to release the resentment of being there as opposed to California, I could fully appreciate what the South had to offer. There is a lot of history there, specifically African American history (which also happens to be this month  ) that I was exposed to in large magnitudes which I feel you can be somewhat removed from living in California.

3. Still Loving California and wanting to go back

a. Over the years I established myself in Atlanta as a young adult by having a successful career in Finance, owning my first home at the age of 23 and building a good network of friends, mostly people that had moved from California to Atlanta.

b. I would frequently come back to California to visit my close family and my childhood friends. While I felt that Atlanta provided me many material things I didn’t feel I could obtain in California, there was really no place like home.

c. As the mortgage industry started to crumble in 2004, my career in finance was coming to a volatile place. I was unable to stay gainfully employed since many of the places I went to work, couldn’t remain in business due to the real estate slump. My relationships were negatively affected by all of this also. I found myself at a turning point. Stay in Atlanta and continue to find stable employment to maintain all of these things I have acquired or return to California where a large part of me always wanted to remain.

4. Embracing change and stepping out on Faith

a. After my last layoff I finally decided to look for employment back in California. It was a struggle looking for work in the Bay Area when I was currently living in Atlanta. I decided to sell my house and put everything in storage to fully relocate myself in the bay area until I could permanently transition.

b. The same course of action my mother took in moving her family to Atlanta and sacrificing their happiness so she could establish herself to put them in a better position, was exactly what I was doing for myself in trying to return back to California.

c. After 9 months of renting out a room in a friend’s house in San Jose, I finally secured full time employment (the same place I work now) and found an AMAZING apartment 6 months later.


Initially when my mother moved our family out of California, I couldn’t see the change and how it would be better for all of us. At times in the moment of change, we need to step outside of ourselves and see the bigger picture. I truly believe you don’t TRULY experience life until you step out of your comfort zone. For me, Atlanta had been my comfort zone for many years and I knew if I really wanted to be happy professionally and personally, I would have to make that change. Embracing change and taking the first steps is what life is all about, and I couldn’t be happier!

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