Step-by-Step Guidelines to Writing a Comprehensive Reflective Essay
“Reflection is one of the most underused yet powerful tools for success.” (Richard Carlson)
A reflective essay helps people to understand their own attitude to any feeling, activity or object. This sort of academic writing seems to be easy but difficult. Sometimes, it’s really hard to critically examine a life experience and then correctly commit it to paper. That is why let’s overview the main types of such essay composing, the formatting principles, the core requirements for its structure and tips on how to make the creating process easier.
Why Should Students Write a Reflective Essay?
This type of essay is intended to explore the experience, to point out all possible effects from this, and discover ways to improve it. It teaches the youth of thoughtful and deliberate thinking. Composing reflectively trains students on how to think deeply and profoundly. It also helps to better prepare yourself for avoiding fatal mistakes in the future life.
Reflection is a way of human’s response to personal behavior, situation, event. It also can be determined as a brain activity when conscious thinking takes place.
What Do Students Write about?
If you’ve received an assignment to construct an essay with the reflective description of the issue, you can opt for:
- your own experience;
- an imagined experience;
- something you’ve dreamt, heard, or read;
- a familiar person;
- a special event or place;
- an extraordinary emotion you’ve experienced or want to pass through.
There are hundreds of topics to choose from. Take into consideration whatever subject you opt for, the after-effect should be presented.
Essential Types of Reflective Essays
Below are the possible types of composing such a paper:
Educational. Teachers usually ask students to evaluate their work in order to discover whether they understand their course. With this type, an active interaction with your coursemates is possible.
Literature. It allows to better penetrate the world of a piece which can be related in some way with your life.
Professional. This type is commonly used by social workers to check their behavior on a particular situation. Such an essay is able to step up their job.
Personal. It allows you to analyze your own weaknesses and find the ways to perfect yourself in any aspect of life. Have you grown emotionally thanks to this experience?
Once you’ve selected what to reflect, start brainstorming. Write down each and every detail you know about the subject, all the emotions it triggers and everything that can help you present it vividly. Gather as more information as possible – adjectives, phrases, sentences. Later you will have an opportunity to make a well-thought paragraph from those pieces.
How to Write an Essay
Once you’ve gathered all the possible information, make the accurate list of the questions for reflection. It’s an effective way to start reflecting. They may sound like:
- What feelings does this event cause?
- What have you learned from this experience?
- Why do you think that it has had a positive impact on your life?
- Was this event a useful experience?
- Do you want to pass through this event again? Why?
The questions may differ, but the main point remains constant. They are intended to study up on your personal experience.
How to Structure a Reflective Paper
Thankfully, this kind of essay doesn’t greatly differ from other academic works. See for yourself:
Intro. This section should tell the reader the subject depicted, the main focus of the essay, and why it’s important to analyze this. Try to make this part catchy, outstanding and engaging to grab the reader’s attention from the first sentence. Use the past experience information out there. For instance, last year I realized that my heart started beating faster because of a deep and all-consuming feeling – love that later has fundamentally changed my life.
Main Body. This section consists of the description of the problem, its careful evaluation, and finally the analysis of the essay subject including all the pros and cons of your statement. Specify what caused this and in what this resulted. It would be a huge plus for your paper if you add a careful comparison or contrast. Try to avoid chaos in your work using a chronological approach. It will prevent your work from a mess because chronology helps to set things straight.
The body should have the tone of proper critique. Don’t try to only summarize your experience since you must analyze it. The reader should get the feel that you can cope with a difficult situation. The whole part should be saturated with your personality, particularly your attitude toward the topic. Do not try to plagiarize another author’s opinion or reflection on the same subject.
Conclusion. It’s high time to summarize the issue explored. Try to briefly remind what your piece has started (the purpose of your topic). Then include a sentence on how emotions have changed. Write a suggestion about: what would you do if you were in the same situation.
Tips on Writing a Reflection Essay
- If writing is not your cup of tea, ask for help. Reach out to professional services that will make this task for you.
- If you don’t know how to analyze your subject, opt for Kilb’s learning cycle or Driscoll’s reflection model.
- Whatever topic you select, your own experience or attitude has to be shown.
- Discover who you are and how you’ve changed.
- Remember that your essay is not a mix of third-party thoughts. You’re smart enough to include your own opinion which is unique and profound.
- The writing process is not as easy as people say, but you will 100% handle with this assignment due to a carefully prepared plan.
- Prior to starting composing your paper, read other examples to get familiar with the tone and format of this kind of essay.
- Don’t waste time on the intro. You always can return to the initial sentence and remake it to stand out and impress the reader. Maybe, you will memorize an anecdote or quote.
- Always stick to your plan.
- Use the first-person narrative with a very reflective tone.
- Be honest with your audience.
- Though a reflective paper shows just personal experience, add valuable sources to prove your understanding of the issue from another point of view.
To construct a perfect essay is easy, just ask for professional help.