Beginning with a careful reading of Joan Didion's "On Self-Respect" (1961), and through ongoing considerations of other personal essays, this advising tutorial asks students to reckon with the essential value of their own mind—their thinking—in developing a narrative voice that can develop over a lifetime. We ask: What happens when we hand our thoughts over to our voice? Why do we believe what we believe? Do we have the courage to sound like ourselves? We will explore the use of electronic learning portfolios to create our own personal essays by archiving and commenting on drafts and revisions, primary source material, writing prompts, and published essays both required and not. Readings will include Didion, Leslie Jamison, Zora Neale Hurston, Zadie Smith, Cheryl Strayed, Francine Prose, and Marilynne Robinson.