Longer essays may also contain an introductory page that defines words and phrases of the essay's topic. Most academic institutions require that all substantial facts, quotations, and other porting material in an essay be referenced in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of the text. This scholarly convention helps others (whether teachers or fellow scholars) to understand the basis of facts and quotations the author uses to support the essay's argument and helps readers evaluate to what extent the argument is supported by evidence, and to evaluate the quality of that evidence. The academic essay tests the student's ability to present their thoughts in an organized way and is designed to test their intellectual capabilities.
I’m breaking my own rules here as this wasn’t just a collection of essays, (it also featured Keegan’s short stories), but with good reason. Published posthumously after Keegan was tragically killed in a car accident just five days after she graduated from Yale in 2012, The Opposite of Loneliness showcases the small but perfectly formed body of work Keegan left behind. Despite her youth, her writing already demonstrated a talent and skill beyond her years; essays such as “Even Artichokes Have Hearts,” in which she laments the fact that 25 percent of her peers would be lured into working for corporate consulting and finance firms, initially published in the Yale Daily News before being picked up by the New York Times ; the piece she wrote for the graduation issue of the same Yale paper (and from which the published collection takes its name), which went viral on the Internet after her death; “Stability in Motion,” a piece about her first car that now can’t help but take on a darker undertone; and a surprisingly moving profile of a bug and rodent exterminator, “I Kill For Money.” To return to the question I posed at the beginning of this piece, if not every story is automatically worth telling, the flipside of this is that if Keegan’s work proves anything it’s that sometimes the briefest of experiences can fuel the best writing.