Publication Date

Fall 2019


Elise Damasco was awarded First Prize for this essay.

For this year's contest, students were asked to respond to the following prompt: This year the shared intellectual theme at IWU is “Fact or Fiction.” In Educated, Westover writes: “Everything I had worked for, all my years of study, had been to purchase for myself this one privilege: to see and experience more truths than those given to me by my father, and to use those truths to construct my own mind. I had come to believe the ability to evaluate many ideas, many histories, many points of view, was at the heart of what it means to self-create.”

How do you know something is true? What is something you once believed was true, that you later learned was not? Are you willing to take someone else’s (a parent, a teacher, a religious leader) words as truth? Why or why not? In your essay, please feel free to respond to any one (or more) of these questions.


This is a reflection on the theme of "fact vs fiction," inspired by Tara Westover's memoir Educated.



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