The idea of writing a critical essay on something in my desired field (creative non-fiction) is killing me. I don’t have any old college papers that qualify. Any pointers?
I'm sorry... I don't exactly know how to go about answering this question because I'm unsure what you mean by "a critical essay on something in my desired field (creative non-fiction)." Are you talking about the writing sample that you're going to submit to a creative nonfiction program? Or about the sample of academic writing that you need to submit in order to apply for a teaching assistantship (as is the case with some programs)?
If you're talking about the writing sample for a creative nonfiction program, an old academic college paper is not the thing to submit. Think memoir, think biography, think literary journalism. If you're talking about the academic essay you need to submit to apply for a TA position... I'm not sure why you'd think none of your old college papers qualify; don't you have anything written for a humanities course that could demonstrate the proficiency of your prose and sharpness of your critical thinking skills?
Hope this helps--I've been trying to answer this not having a very clear picture of what the question was; maybe you can elaborate.