Reflective Essay Examples 2021 See Topic Ideas, and Writing Structure : Current School News

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Reflective Essay Examples 2021 See Topic Ideas, and Writing Structure

Filed in Education by on April 12, 2021

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Reflective Essay: Reflective writing helps us to think more about ourselves, who we are, and how we have changed. Read on to find out more about what a  is and how reflective essays are written! Where would I begin? Where would I end?

Reflective Essay Examples

Thoughts frantically spasmed their way through my mind as I envisaged the treacherous journey on which I was about to embark. But before I proceed, take note of these few points.

Reflective essays are those sorts of essays that seem oh so easy, and yet oh so hard to write, all at the same time. To put it simply, reflective essays constitute a critical examination of life experience and with the right guidance, they aren’t very difficult to put together.

A reflective essay is akin to a diary entry, except that others will be reading it so it needs to have a great deal of coherence and a good structure. In that regard, a reflective essay is much like any other essay out there.

Reflective Essay: Format of a Reflective Essay

A reflective essay is an essay in which the writer examines his or her experiences in life. The writer then writes about those experiences, exploring how he or she has changed, developed, or grown from those experiences.

The format of a reflective essay may change slightly depending on who the audience is. For example, writing a reflective essay for a college course and an academic audience will have slight changes in how the essay is organized from writing a reflective essay for a magazine or a collection of essays, which has a broader audience, without people who have necessarily gone to college. However, some major elements go into a typical reflective essay: introduction, body, and conclusion.

Structure of a Reflective Essay

Reflective essays always have an introduction, where the speaker shares, either directly or indirectly, what the overall focus of the reflection will be. Many popular essay writers might be a bit indirect about their main topic, or about what part of their lives they will focus on.

However, an academic writer should be more direct in explaining what aspect of his or her experiences that he or she will talk about.

The body of the reflective essay explains how the writer has changed or what the writer has learned. It also explains what things caused the writer to change.

For example, many academic writers are asked to reflect on how they improved as writers over the semester or quarter. Those writers often share how different assignments and lessons made them stronger writers.

A strong reflective writer will not only share the change but also give examples as supporting details. For example, if a writer discusses becoming more optimistic in life, then examples should be given of what made this change, such as sharing an incident in which the writer took a positive approach to resolve the incident.

In the conclusion of a reflective essay, the writer sums up how he or she has changed or the effect of those changes. The writer also might look ahead or look backward.

If looking ahead, the writer shares how he or she thinks the experiences in the essay will change him or her in the future.

If looking backward, the writer will note how different he or she was in the past. Often, the writer will compare past and future selves to emphasize the difference.

Sample Reflective Essay
Author: Prefers to remain anonymous

As an English major I have learned to appreciate the peaceful, yet exhilarating moment when my mind engages with an author’s thoughts on a page. As Toni Morrison says in The Dancing Mind , “[reading is] to experience one’s own mind dancing with another’s.” In my early days as a college student, I wanted to know the “true” meaning of a work or what the author intended, however, I have now realized this would void literature of its most noteworthy complexities. Individual interpretations bring varied insights to a work and it is also interesting to point out messages the author may not have realized s/he included in the piece.
I have always been a thinker, but throughout my coursework, I have greatly sharpened my critical analysis skills. Instead of focusing on proposed meanings or biographical background, I have learned to continuously ask “why” on many different levels. I challenge myself to dig into a text as deeply as possible and unpack every detail to develop a satisfying close read. Also, by reading multiple novels by the same author I have learned to identify different writing styles and make connections that weave texts together; this helped me develop a deeper understanding of the novels. When I look at one of my freshman level novels and see clean pages, I realize that I did not actively read the book. I guess you could say that I have learned to read with a pen, which has drastically taken my writing to a new level because I am able to connect back with my initial insights marked on the page.
Writing had always been one of my strengths, but it was challenging to take that initial step past the high school, five-paragraph essay form that constricted my ideas for so long. Moving past this form, however, has greatly opened my mind. My thoughts are now able to be more complex because I have learned how to sustain a logical argument in an organized manner. My writing has become increasingly more concise and I no longer have room for added “fluff” or “padding.” Another improvement is my ability to point out multiple complexities within a text, instead of sticking to one-sided arguments in my papers. Furthermore, learning how to find peer reviewed journal articles and order books through interlibrary loan has significantly widened the scope of my research, which has lead to more scholarly papers with credible references. My writing is so much more interesting than it used to be.
It is difficult to identify gaps in my knowledge as an English major, only because I feel like I have learned so much. I feel that I have largely expanded my literary analysis and writing skills, but I need to be prepared to teach high school students their required literature. I think it would be useful to identify commonly taught novels in our local high schools and study them myself. By studying the required literature and thinking about how to teach it, I will have a sturdy foundation to work from once I am in the classroom.

What Can You Write About?

What Can You Write About?

The most common subjects a reflective essay include the following:

  • A real experience
  • Something you imagined
  • A place or a special object
  • Something you’ve read, watched, seen, touched, tasted, smelled, or heard.

Topic Ideas for a Reflective Essay

The above subjects might have already sparked an idea of what you would like to write about. If not, below are some topics, or prompt, ideas for a reflective essay.

Places You’ve Been

  • The beach, mountains, countryside, or desert
  • A special hideaway or special room
  • The house you grew up in
  • A relative’s home

Life-Altering Events

  • A special date
  • Failing or succeeding at something
  • A time you learned something new
  • A new experience
  • A time you overcame one of your fears
  • An important memory
  • A significant conversation

Recurring or Significant Thoughts

  • A dream or daydream
  • A conversation you wish you had or something you wish you had done
  • A story you’ve told about yourself
  • An embarrassing moment
  • The person you’d like to be
  • A strong emotion

Impactful Experiences

  • A book, movie, T.V. show, song, play, or another form of media
  • Social media post
  • Magazine or article
  • A concert
  • A vacation

Important People

  • Your grandmother and/or grandfather, mom and/or dad, aunt and/or uncle, nephew and/or niece, or siblings
  • Your best friend
  • Someone who hurt you
  • A special teacher or life coach

Reflective Essay: How Do You Organize a Reflective Paper?

The organization of a reflective essay is very similar to other types of essays. An outline of a great reflective essay is laid out for your use below.

Introductory Paragraph

  • Your first paragraph should be an introduction in which you identify the subject and give the reader a general overview of the impression it made on you. Your introductory paragraph should also include a thesis statement that will serve as the focal point of your paper.
  • Example Thesis: “Why was I feeling so peaceful while walking down this beach? I realized it was because the beach had always been a place of rest to me.”

Body Paragraphs

  1. In the first body paragraph, write about one reason your subject made the impression on you that it did. Then, write about why. This is a reflective essay, which means you can speculate. There are no right or wrong answers in this type of essay.
  2. In the second body paragraph, write about the second reason your subject made the impression on you that it did. Then, write about why.
  3. In the third body paragraph, write about the third reason your subject made the impression on you that it did. Then, write about why.

Conclusion

  • Recap your thesis statement and the reasons you provided in the body of your essay. Sum up your article with some final thoughts on your subject, and some closing reflective thoughts.

Example Conclusion: “I sent my photo of “For Rhonda” to my friend along with a text letting her know how much I appreciate her help in letting me know that we can always find places to relax and renew amid our busy lives. Now, I want to find a way to help Rhonda have a day off of her own, and I’m hoping someday we can take a trip to the beach together.”

If there is anywhere you do not understand, do well to drop a comment in the comment section of this article. Do well to share this article with your friends.

CSN Team.

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