How to start off on a personal college essay?

How to start off on a personal college essay?
Well for the topic of my college essay, I’m trying to focus on my experience of having 3 surgeries in a row for 2 months, which caused family issues, but I’m not exactly sure what colleges are looking for in the essay?

As you don’t include what their essay question asks for this is not easy to answer. If you do choose to focus on your health issues and their impact on your family, I would suggest that you keep the tone upbeat. Emphasize how you overcame the odds, met the challenges, worked through the issues. In other words, no sob stories. No “woe is me, I’ve been through trauma and drama.” They won’t care. They are looking for your ability to come through, not how much you’ve suffered.
They will want to know that you can face challenges and still succeed academically. So paint yourself a winner, not a whiner.