Not long ago we discussed the intricacies of writing a narrative essay and today we will continue to discover the best ways to complete your school papers. This time we turn our attention to reflective essays. If they cause you undue stress, read on and learn why it is important to learn to write reflective essays and how to do it.
Why Should You Learn To Write Reflective Essays?
Like many other assignments, reflective essays are supposed to provide you with valuable skills you will be able to use in the future. To provide you with necessary motivation at the beginning of the writing process, take a look at a list of the useful effects of this particular type of essay:
- You learn to understand yourself better. We rarely pause to analyze even the most significant events of our lives. As a result, we hardly know our own weaknesses and strengths. So when you are asked to write a reflective essay, do not brush it off. Spend some time contemplating your choices, values, experiences. It is a good exercise designed to put even the most unpleasant episodes in your life in perspective.
- You gain experience before writing an admission essay. Most colleges and universities require an application essay. It is usually a reflective paper that allows you to showcase your personality and let the admission board learn more about you than your school transcripts say.
- You learn what to say in a job interview. HR managers can ask the most bizarre questions, but many of them require you to present your ability to analyze yourself. If you can outline your weakest and strongest character traits in an essay, you will feel much more confident when applying for a job.
Now that you have the much-needed motivation, lets choose the topic for your reflective essay.
Which Reflective Essay Topic To Choose?
Remember, that YOU are the main topic of any reflective essay. However, there are so many aspects of your life to discuss. You can choose the one that is the most interesting to you, the one you feel comfortable revealing to your readers.
To help you decide on a topic, we have assembled a list of popular options:
- Your choice of a role model
- One accomplishment that makes you proud
- The origins of your greatest fear
- Your best or worst character trait
- An experience that changed you
- Qualities you look for in a friend
- Your experience with overcoming adversity
- The lowest point in your life
- Your main weakness and the ways you deal with it
- The biggest success you have achieved
It is important to keep the focus of the reflective essay on your own experiences, feelings or achievements. You dont have to generalize your ideas or enforce the arguments with proof. Reflective writing is ultimately subjective, even intimate. Its for this reason, the reflective essay is one the few academic papers that actually allows you to use the first person pronoun I.
How To Create An Outline For A Reflective Essay?
When you dont know, how to structure your essay, it is always good to go back to the basics. Once you have some ideas about what you are going to write, formulate a thesis statement. It should cover the main point of your paper. Add something intriguing into the mix to hook the readers from the start, and your introduction is almost ready.
I hate my dog. I was adamantly against the idea of getting a dog, but my parents insisted. He turned out to be everything I knew he would be: loud, needy, and messy. But Jimbo is the main reason I got rid of the fear of dogs. Now I realize that the little ball of fluff brings too much joy into my life that it simply can not coexist with the crippling fear I have developed after a vicious dog attack I have experienced as a child.
The main body paragraphs can be structured in many ways. You dont have to spend hours on research or scour the library, instead, you need to devote some time to navel-gazing.
If you want to describe a past experience, the best choice would be to go in a chronological order. Simply describe the main points of an event and add your personal analysis for every paragraph. Describe the conclusions you made after each interaction or move.
However, if you describe a character trait, a weakness, or your greatest achievement, you should concentrate on the analysis. You can compare your own perspective to popular stereotypes to offset your unique take on ordinary things. You can also list the reasons why you think this particular quality or achievement is so important to you. Provide the examples of good or bad consequences caused by your actions or character traits.
Popular culture leads us to believe that seeing the good in people is a desirable ability. I find myself firmly opposed to the idea since it brought me nothing but bad choices and heartache. I realized that when I see the good in people, it blinds me to their flaws and deceit until it is too late and I can no longer protect myself against their attacks.
The conclusion should reinforce your thesis statement and tie the whole essay together. You can once again underline the analysis you made in every main body paragraph and make an overall conclusion. Make sure not to copy the thesis statement verbatim.
When I got into the car accident, I went through all the main stages of grief in a span of six hours it took to settle the mess. Once again, I was reminded, that Im only human and prone to making mistakes. I realized, how strong I can be when faced with an angry man twice my size. But most importantly, I learned how important it is to get back on my feet and go on, even after making a stupid mistake.
When you think about it, a reflective essay is one the most enjoyable academic assignments you can get. It allows you to think, write, and talk about yourself. And isnt that something everyone enjoys doing? So just choose the topic you like, follow our advice, and you will create an excellent essay worthy of praise.