Creating any kind of papers requires a lot of patience, time, and good writing skills. If you have been assigned to prepare a reflective essay and have no experience in coping with such an academic assignment, our tips will guide you on how to craft an A-grade thematic essay or any other paper. Keep reading to know everything. In this post, you will find a lot of useful information on how to structure your academic papers, information to cover, and hacks that can make the whole process easier for you. Prepare to find a lot of useful things to prepare quality work.
Starting with the explanation of what is a reflective essay, we will provide you with most popular ideas for essay topics and give you some examples for inspiration. Don't worry if it is your first experience with this kind of writing! If you want to know how to prepare a good reflective essay, we will reveal secrets of winning essay writing. We have gathered best ideas, samples, and tips here. Read our article to improve your writing skills and overcome your writing block!
Reflective Essay Writing – What Makes It Special?
You may wonder what is a reflective essay and how it is different from the major academic papers. Unlike in other types of works, a reflective essay implies that an author reflects on his personality, emotions, and experience, describing people, places, or things from his personal life. The writer tells the audience who he is and how he makes his way. This kind of paper does not contain any research; it's more personal, similar to the dairy in its format, style, and concept. This is what reflective essay definition presupposes.
Although being “diary” writing and containing personal thoughts, a reflective essay should have a good structure. It will help the one to read it easily, without missing out on any important point outlined in it. You may think that it's not complicated to create such a paper. It will not be a problem for those who have experience in reflective essay writing. If you cannot boast of excellent writing skill, we suggest following our guide with the important information for successful reflective essay crafting.
How to Choose a Reflective Essay Topic?
If you have to prepare a reflection essay, the first thing you need to do is to choose an interesting topic. It should make readers interested and involved in your piece. At the same time, you should be interested in a theme you tell about; otherwise, you will not be able to cover it successfully. Let's define how to select a good subject for your reflective essay.
If you are going to work on a paper, you need to remember that it should reflect your past experience and have something important to the reader. In a piece, you are to describe your own feelings and thoughts giving the reader the same sensation you experienced.
Choosing a reflective essay topic – General recommendations
Picking a theme for your piece is an important task that can make a success of your work easy to reach. It sometimes happens that you have no idea on what to tell about. This is where our guide will be of great value to you. Read our recommendations on how to select the good reflective essay topic; follow the below steps to pick the theme that will bring success to your piece of writing.
- Choose your topic idea. The theme of your self-reflective paper should be close to you; otherwise, you will not have what to say to your audience in a reflective essay format. Find examples of easy argumentative essay topics here.
Example: I traveled with my best friend; we went to spend some time in a place we grew up being kids.
- Study your topic. Just relax, close your eyes, and try to relive that experience; remember the things you saw and sounds you heard. Try to recollect small details and explore the topic.
Example: I and my best childhood friend walked along the beach in California, where we spent much time being kids. Fresh wind, a smell of the ocean, and feeling of happiness filled my head with a lot of memories.
- Brainstorm your idea. It's time to describe your experience in detail.
Example: We came to the beach and went along water barefoot; the ocean was calm that day, and I was looking at small waves coming to shore. My friend asked me to take pictures. We were laughing like kids, running to water and making splashes. It was a happy day of coming back to childhood; we took a pile of pictures of us on the beach.
- Ask yourself reflection questions. Depending on a theme of your paper, these questions may sound like “what did I hear?”, “how did this event affect my life?”, “how did I feel?”. You can ask other questions related to your own situation. We recommend you provide a response to 3-4 questions to cover the topic fully; the more questions you ask, the more detailed reflective essay you will produce.
Example: What did I hear? – I heard the sound of waves and screams of seagulls. I heard voices of people on the beach: parents played with children, kids were screaming and laughing trying to fly a kite.
How did this event affect my life? – I have left that place long ago, and now I came here with my friend being adult. I have a lot of memories from my childhood connected with the beach; this trip to my motherland reminded me of my childhood and my family.
How did I feel? – I will not forget that feeling of excitement when I saw those familiar places; when I saw the ocean, felt warm sand by my feet, smelled the fresh air. I had tears in my eyes when I came to ocean holding a hand of my best friend like it was 15 years ago.
- Define the main idea. Think about things you learned from this experience and identify the thesis of your writing.
Example: I learned from my trip that adults have a lot of significant memories from their childhood that can make them happy. No matter if you feel stressed about your job and overwhelmed with problems, there is a memory from your past that can make you smile for a while. Every person has a place in their heart where they keep sweet, nice, and happy memories.
Reflective essay topic examples
If you have no idea of what to cover in a reflective essay, we have prepared a collection of effective essay topics that can bring some inspiration and learning to you. Use them as your source of inspiration and to your understanding.
- How I met my best friend, and why we became friends?
- An interesting situation that has changed my life.
- The biggest failure happened in my life (we suggest providing a story about how you deal with it).
- The most exciting moment I have experienced.
- My biggest fear (a good idea is to describe the situation and how you came over it).
- The greatest love of my life.
You can either use any of the suggested topics for a reflective essay or invent a new one that is closely connected to your life and experience you lived.
Reflective essay writing on English class
If you are writing a reflective essay on English lesson, we suggest describing something you have learnt at school or mentioning skills you have developed. You can define things you liked and disliked in studying at school. Don't forget to talk about things that have impressed you, mention the most important moment you have experienced, and analyze how it has affected your life.
Steps of Reflective Essay Writing
Having chosen the topic for your reflective essay, it's now the time for you to think about the structure of the piece. Following the structure is of utmost importance in a reflection essay format. If you organize your paper well, it will be much easier for people to read and understand it. We suggest following a standard structure pattern. In other words, your piece of writing is to include an introduction, main part (body), and conclusion. You need to prepare each part in accordance with specific rules and make sure all the paragraphs are smoothly connected within the whole writing. Use a reflection essay outline not to miss out any main point in your work.
How to write a reflective essay outline?
Before you start working on your paper, you need have a clear plan of an essay structure; it's impossible to prepare a good piece without planning every step of yours. These are main functions a reflection paper outline performs.
- It allows you to keep all details well-organized and structured; you won't forget anything important during writing.
- It is your guide map that helps to navigate through the entire paper.
- Your outline serves as the plan of your work, and you can save a lot of time when having a detailed outline.
How to write a reflective essay introduction?
The introduction should be a starting point of your work. Here, you are to provide background information related to the topic, show its importance/ purpose, and place your thesis statement. Use the introduction to grab your readers' attention and make him interested in further reading. It is important to highlight the most exciting facts in this part to hook your audience from the very beginning.
Here are several ways of how to start your reflective essay in a catchy way:
- Put a brief quote to make people interested in reading the entire paper;
- Start with a question.
- People love to feel intrigued - use an anecdote or shocking information to grab attention.
How to write a reflective essay thesis?
A thesis statement is the most important element of an essay. It contains the main idea of your writing and guides the reader on what the piece is going to be about. In other words, a thesis is to be a one-/ two-sentence summary of your paper focus. In our case, it's your certain experience that affected your life. Place a thesis in the introduction and assure all the main points discussed in the paper body address the main idea of your thesis. It would be a good idea to restate a thesis statement in the concluding part of a reflective essay. You will make the reader remember your thesis well.
How to write a reflective essay body?
As its name suggests, the body is the most informative part of your writing. Here, you need to talk about the main points supporting your thesis. There are no rules on how to create a body; no limitations on word count. The only thing you need to be aware of is that all the information should be divided into paragraphs, with a single paragraph to support only one idea.
In this part, you need to describe your experience. Tell about a lesson you have learnt and the way it has affected your life. The most important thing here is to spend plenty of time on writing this part to ensure anything has been missed out.
- Ensure you have provided a detailed description of each point.
- Try to put things chronologically, imagine you are telling a story to your readers. Pay attention to the logical sequence.
- Emphasize how situation affected you, mention experience you have got; focus on things you have learnt.
How to write a reflective essay conclusion?
This is a brief part of your essay where you need to make a short summary of everything written above. Provide your readers with a short list of main points earlier outlined. Restate a thesis statement here to fix the result. In the conclusion, you can one more time answer the questions:
- how the lived experience changed your life;
- which lesson you have learnt;
- how you have solved the problem.
Use Reflective Essay Examples to Become a Writing Guru
During writing your paper, it's good to read some reflective essay examples; you can search for thousands of works online. They will be a source of your inspiration and a practical guide on writing techniques and approaches.
How to work with essay samples and what can you learn from them; follow our tips to understand the approach and use them as a reflective essay template.
- Pay attention to how the author starts the reflection essay. Think if you want to read more after viewing the introduction.
- Mark for yourself descriptions the writer uses; see how he describes nature, feelings, experience, etc.
- Pay attention to the conclusion; how the author finishes his writing, what wording he uses, how he restates a thesis? This information will help you in the future.
While reading paper samples, be attentive to details; only in this way, you will learn something new. They say the more you reflect, the more aware of yourself you become.
Expert Reflective Essay Writing – Tips to Follow
A reflective essay is the best way to tell readers about your experience and feelings. It is a good approach to letting them experience a situation you have been going through. We strongly recommend you to be attentive to small details when you describe everything around; don't forget to tell about your feelings at the moment. Gather all details, bring them together in an interesting story the reader can't just miss.
After you pick up a topic, start with drafting an outline and try to include there all important facts you want to present in your future work. Afterwards, you should formulate a thesis statement. After you decided on a paper structure and its intended message, you can draft your paper. Keep in mind that it's better to work on an introduction at the end; after you finish other parts of your piece, it will be easier for you to prepare a winning intro.
Proofreading and editing your work is another important step. Having finished a reflective essay, put it away for a while and switch your attention to something else. Re-read the ready-made work in a few days after you wrote the last sentence of it. You may use online software to check grammar errors, but you are the one who can correct logical mistakes in the paper. Ask your friend/ colleague/ relative to read your reflective essay. This is a good way to get someone's opinion and critics; any successful paper requires a lot of attention, time, work, and patience. That's why you have to plan your time beforehand and prepare to work step by step.
Let a Pro Write a Reflective Essay for You
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