Reflective Essays: Learn the Things That Are to Be Reflected

  • ManagementPaper
  • Apr 15, 2021

The description of an experience or an event, analysing the proper meaning of that experience and the learnings that can be retrieved from it are the processes that are included in the reflective essay. They are called reflective as these types of essays reflect the writer’s past and allow him to analyse it being from the present scenario.

In reflective essays, you have to open up about your varied emotions and thoughts in order to paint a real picture of their individual and personality traits and the history they have experienced. A vivid description in brief and the various facets of the incident must be included in a chronological order so that your readers can feel your pulse and go through the same incident or experience while reading your essay. You must well express your reactions, feelings and thoughts through your essay.

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What Are the Things That You Can Write on In Reflective Essays?

Generally the reflective essay contains the following things as the subjects:

  • A true incident or experience
  • Something that has been hovering in your imagination
  • A special place or an object
  • Something that you have heard, smelled, tasted, touched, seen, watched or read.

The Various Parts of a Reflective Essay

The structure of a reflective essay is quite similar to that of different types of essays. The entire essay is divided into three prominent parts: essay introduction, essay body and essay conclusion.

The essay introduction: The subject has to be identified in the very first paragraph of your essay known as the introduction. You also have to provide the readers with a generalised overview of the essay topic’s impression on you. A thesis statement must also be included in your essay introduction which may be an anecdote, a rhetorical question or a bold statement. This will be the focus of your essay and throughout your essay you have to keep the readers reminding of what you have stated in the thesis statement. For example: “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.”

The essay body: The body contains the various paragraphs where you will be narrating the actual happenings that took place in your experience or incident. All these occurrences must be mentioned in a chronological order, that is, in the way the events took place. In the first paragraph for the essay body, explain to your readers about one specific reason for why the essay topic left an indelible impression upon you. Then explain to them why the experience was so memorable to you. As these are reflective essays, speculation can be done and so there is nothing right nor wrong for this genre of essays. In the second paragraph for the essay body, again explain your readers about the second reason for why the essay topic left an indelible impression upon you. Then explain to them why the experience was so memorable to you. In the third paragraph for the essay body, explain your readers about the third reason for why the essay topic left an indelible impression upon you. Then explain to them why the experience was so memorable to you.

The conclusion: This is the final paragraph of your essay and you must structure the important facts in an organised manner to make the readers have a good experience and lso leave an impression upon them. You have to summarise the various crucial points in the essay body and link them back to the thesis statement. You must also prove the validity of the thesis statement. Do not add any new information in this paragraph. Try concluding a reflective essay with some final reflective thoughts. For example- “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 in the midst of 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.”

Writing Your Reflection Essay

  1. Choosing an idea for your topic. The essay will be revolving around the topic and hence it has to be made quite attractive to get hold of the attention of your readers. Craft it well with decorative words and phrases making a proper sense. For example- “I’m visiting my mom who lives near the beach that I went to a lot growing up, so I’m going to write about that.”
  2. Studying your subject well. In order to write well on your essay topic, research well. Even if it is a reflective essay and mostly a kind of narrative essay, yet you have to imagine various possible ideas to make your academic piece. Think of how vividly can you paint the picture and present them like a real life scenario to your readers. For example-  “I went to walk along the beach today and just enjoyed the sand, water, and wind. I thought about many other beach walks I’ve taken, and filled my mind with memories of other beach trips.”
  3. Brainstorm ideas as much as possible. Always consider your subject and think every possible thing that can be used to describe it. Make the description original and vivid and try appealing to the senses of your readers. You may think about how smells, sounds, tastes, sight and touch and express with the help of sensory experiences. Use sense-describing words and write them down in phrases or in words. For example-  “I see the roll of the waves coming in a roar up to the shore. The waves beat over and over on the beach. Each wave is the same and yet every wave is unique. I saw the sun covered by a cloud which reflected the light so that rays spread out in all directions. The salt smell of the spray felt fresh and clean.”
  4. Use reflection questions to get your answers. These questions will help you understand your approach towards the essay. For example- “I picked the questions: What did I notice? What does this event mean to me? How did this place shape my life?”
  5. Before you start writing on the topic, think about the facts that you have learnt from the mentioned experience or how the incident impacted you. For example- “What I learned from this trip to the beach is that I need to remember that in the midst of being a caregiver to my mother, my husband, my five kids, my students and my friends, that I also need to care for myself and create a space for myself where I can rest and renew.”

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