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A reflective essay is simply an essay that examines a writer’s personal life experiences. As the writer of a reflective essay, you must write about certain experiences by exploring how they have influenced your life, affected your development, and gained from those experiences. Here are tips on how to start writing your reflection essay.
1. Create the primary theme
While a given topic may have several themes, it is best to focus on the central theme when writing a reflective essay. Generating one is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is first come up with a topic, then write a summary of it. By the time you are done, you will have picked up something from it. Your experience and lesson while writing the summary of the topic are what will give you a theme.
It will be easy for you to loop in the reader into your perspective and understand your reflection better with the theme.
2. Write down something memorable
Remember that as much as your reflection essay’s tone should remain formal, you should include personal experiences. For this reason, you can write down experiences and things that have influenced you before that are related to your topic.
3. Link your opinions to your experiences
This involves analyzing ideas and experiences and bringing them together to shed more light on your theme. There are many subjects that you can base your themes upon. You can write reflection essays on books, projects, courses, and even interviews.
The Format of Reflective Essays
Reflective essays might assume slightly different formats depending on the intended audience. For instance, writing a reflective essay for a collection of essays or a magazine will differ with writing a reflection essay for an academic audience or university course. The former has a broad audience base, and not all need to go to college; hence, you should keep it simple. The latter audience has a full range of knowledge. Therefore, they can be addressed depending on the subject being tackled without worrying much about their understanding level.
Reflection essays usually take the format utilized in most writing forms, which encompasses the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. While organizing your essay, you should realize that writing allows you to deepen your learning process. Reflective writing seeks to provide you with the opportunity to boost your insight from work by reflecting on your work. It would help if you also consider the perspectives of others and theories relating to what you are writing about.
Reflection Essay Structure
The first part of your reflective essay should always be the introduction. In this section, you should share indirectly or directly with your readers concerning your essay’s primary focus will entail. More often than not, writers of essays tend to be a little indirect regarding the topic or what aspect of their lives the writing will highlight. Such an approach is highly discouraged in reflective essay writing. As a student, your lecturers expect you to be more direct or straightforward while explaining what facet of your life experiences that you will talk about.
Your reflection essay’s body should carry the bulk of what you have to say concerning the issue or issues you are reflecting about. In this section, you should explain how your life has changed or what you have learned from your experiences. The things that have caused changes in your life have to be described in this part of the essay. For instance, as a student, you might be asked to write about what you learned from your English or communication skills classes and the most significant challenges in that class. In such a case, you need to describe the knowledge you have acquired in the class, if any, and include some of the difficulties you came across. Usually, reflection essays require that students share how the different lessons and assignments enhanced their skills, knowledge, and understanding.
As a good reflective writer, you should not only describe the changes you have undergone but also provide with examples or cases supporting the details. If you are asked to write about a case example has made you more optimistic towards life in general. The response should include factors influencing your optimism, including examples to support your claims. You can also include an incident or incidents that led to your views.
Although reflective writing is usually based on personal experiences, it necessary and essential that sometimes you draw from other types of evidence and sources. This should help you to better expound on your experiences in the reflection essay. The evidence you use in the essay can derive from placement, personal reflection, and your academic environment. You should also use credible sources if you decide to use sources other than individual reflection.
The conclusion part of the reflection essay sums up your experiences, life changes, and effects of these, among others, on your life. You can also provide a brief overview of what you expect in the future, or how your past could have been modified. Your conclusion can also be general or specific. A general conclusion sums up your experiences and the analysis you have undertaken in the reflection essay in a general manner. A particular conclusion presents your own unique, specific, personal experiences or situation and ways of working that you arrive at from the reflection.
Other Essential Tips in Writing a Reflective Essay
A student who wants to be a good writer of reflection essays should consider the following tips:
- Always stay alert to the purpose of writing the essay and state the same if it is suitable
- Practice by reflecting on what you learn from various incidents, and ways that you do something different in another situation and time
- Practice reflective writing a particular experience through multiple perspectives of different people and situations
- Incorporate ethical, moral, socio-political, and historical contexts in your reflective essay where relevant.