Many things we face in life, or will face, have been already experienced by countless folks before us. Many of these are classic tales in literature, and we can learn from these vicarious conflicts.
Example: Jack London's To Build a Fire. Many boys learn the lesson of survival preparedness from that story.
Shakespeare's Hamlet. The lessons in the consequences of corruption and vile relationships are remembered by many.
What young woman seeking romance and happiness can not learn for Anne of Green Gables? or from Jane Austen's novels Emma or Pride and Prejudice?
Think of how young Gandi was influenced by Harishchandra. Gandi said in his later life he often thought of himself as being in the footprints of Harishchandra.
How many military leaders have been influenced by Caesar's epic The Conquest of Gaul?
Now poems as literature work the same way. Countless heart throbbing young folks have swooned at the words of Elizabeth Brownings Sonnets. Remember Crossing the Bar, by Tennyson?
I would start your essay with what we are as humans, devoid of knowledge, and we seek knowledge through insight, and the experiences of others, vicarious or not.
Here is an idea. Most people will never have the opportunity to climb to the top of Mt.Everest, swim in the Red Sea, dance the samba in Rio....but we can go there in books. We can share these experiences and even more important we can see how others have responded in experiences we have had.