Reflective Essay: an Ultimate Guide to Make the Grade
So, you have received a task from your professor to write a reflective essay. This is one of those papers that, at first glance, seems very easy, but in fact, it is quite difficult to write. Not every student is ready for a critical analysis of life experience in the written form. But if you use the right guidance, you can greatly facilitate this task. A reflexive essay is somewhat reminiscent of diary entries. The only difference is that you write not for yourself, but for the audience. This means that you need a clear sequence and a good structure. To do this, you can use your writing skills obtained in the process of preparing other student papers.
Leverage our recommendations to create an amazing reflective essay and impress your professor!
What should you write about?
The next thing you should do is think about what your paper will be about. You must share your experience with readers. Remember that a reflexive essay is not just the story of some story from your life. It is rather an analysis of a specific situation, its premises, and its consequences.
Before you begin the writing process, think about some really important events in your life. What has positively affected you? What left a negative imprint? Perhaps some events had both of these effects? You can write not only about real experience. It can be an imaginary story, a place, or a person who has had a great influence on you, etc. If you are writing an academic essay, most likely, your professor will entrust you with a specific task. For example, it will sound like this: “Write about an event in your life when you faced an important choice.” Do not forget to write about the consequences of such a choice and draw conclusions.
How to learn to reflect?
In this case, this is the core of your essay, so it is very important to pay enough attention to the reflective process. This means that you will spend a lot of time alone with yourself, analyzing your feelings and memories.
Choosing a topic for your paper, it is very important to allocate some time for reflection. Write down everything you remember about your experience. Remember five feelings, use a large number of adjectives. At the stage of brainstorming, you can take short notes; the main thing is that they are understandable to you. This will help you clear your memory and answer the following questions:
- What information about you turned out to be new to you?
- Has your personality evolved because of this? How?
- Did it affect you rather positively or negatively?
- Remembering this time, would you make another decision?
- Why do you think you made that choice? Was it right or wrong?
- What prospects did you gain as a result? What were the consequences?
These questions are the basis for your reflexive process. The more questions you come up with, the better ideas you will come up with. In the future, you will be able to use reflection not only for student papers but for the analysis of any important events in your life as well. This is what will help you grow and reach new levels.
Choose the right format for your paper
The main task of a reflective essay is to analyze the life experience. Think of this paper as a platform to share your story, as well as analyze the changes and lessons that you could learn from your experience.
You can choose any format you like for writing a reflective paper. This can be a diary entry, an educational journal, etc. This is what helps to track the development and change of your thoughts over time. The format may depend on the requirements of your professor, as well as your readers. For example, if the essay is academic, it must meet certain standards. Wider essays for journals can be written in free form. Here are a couple of ideas for the format that you can use:
- Focus on personal growth. This type is often commissioned by professors in order to teach students introspection. Writing such papers helps to grow emotionally, to better understand yourself and your behavior.
- Orientation to the literature. This is a special kind of assignment for students of philological specialties. You can analyze a literary work, present a summary of it, and then apply it to your own life experience.
Craft a good plan
Here is a very useful tip from professional writers: don’t start writing essays without a well-thought-out plan. This will help make your essay more consistent, structure your ideas, and get a good grade.
This is a particularly important step when you start writing a reflexive essay. Not everyone can retell their life experience. But when you develop a detailed plan and adhere to it, you will get the necessary result. Here are a few of the benefits of this idea:
- The outline of the essay will allow you to define a list of the main details that you plan to include in your text.
- Think of the plan as a map. You outline in advance a few key points that you will be guided by when writing. This will help your readers better understand your paper. And you will not miss any important information.
- It will save you time. Knowing what you want to write, you will avoid frustration over a sheet of paper. This will free you time to edit and format paper.
As with other student papers, your essay should start with a good introduction. This is the part of the essay that catches the attention of readers. It’s important to use a good hook that will attract an audience from the start. For example, you can choose some exciting aspects of your reflective story. You will also need a thesis statement that summarizes the essence of your paper. Do not forget about a brief overview of your experience. Information should be neither too little nor too much. Then you are definitely interested in your readers.
Your next step is to plan the body paragraphs of your paper. In fact, this part may become the most difficult. We recommend that you pay a lot of attention to preparation and planning. Here are a couple of tips to help you prepare a really good body:
- Use the chronology. Work through all your ideas in the sequence in which they occurred in time. This approach will ensure the systematization and consistency of your paper. Do not think that your paper must be linear. But the chronological order will not allow the use of random memories. State important elements of your story that will help you see the big picture.
- Make sure the body of your paper contains conclusions. It is important not only to generalize your life experience but also to use personal reflection. You need to analyze how this experience has affected your life and what lessons you could learn. Such a reflection will emphasize the features of your personality, your ability to adapt to specific situations, or find a way out of them.
Finishing your reflexive essay, read this paper several times to think through its summary and what you learned in the end. Try to highlight the most important points regarding how your approach to life has changed and why. Think about how it affected your character and skills. For example: what conclusions can be drawn about your skills in finding a way out of problems? What conclusion can be drawn about how you behave in specific situations? Is there anything you can change? What have you already done for this? Keep in mind that you should not provide evidence of this. This is the information you should use in body paragraphs. In conclusion, use only the main conclusions.
So, now you have all the basic information that will help you create an awesome essay. Below you will find some more tips that will make you a professional!
How to write a top-notch reflective essay
If you have already encountered writing tasks, you know how difficult it can be to sit in front of a sheet of paper or a keyboard. Some students may sit for several hours thinking about writing their work.
But if you put enough effort into developing a good plan and preparing enough information for your essay, you should be well prepared. This will simplify the writing process. And here are some more ideas for this:
- To understand the tone, structure, mood of your essay, you should read examples of other students or professional authors. This will help you get a complete picture of the final result.
- Do not waste time thinking about the first sentence or paragraph. Just start writing. You can always edit already written text. Of course, your first draft may be bad. But the sooner you start, the faster you will make your essay perfect.
- Use the free flow method for your writing. As soon as you have any thoughts in your head, write them down. But make sure that they meet the intended plan.
- Use specific words that describe your feelings. This will help readers imagine themselves in your place. Choose your words carefully so that your feelings cannot be misunderstood.
- Write in the first person, because your essay should be very personal and appropriate to your character.
- If you need to, check your plan periodically. When working on an essay, remember to remember your key goals.
- Try to start the introduction with a quote or a short joke. These hooks are guaranteed to attract the attention of readers.
- Be honest with your audience. A reflective essay should not look modeled. These are your real feelings. If you are not ready to be sincere, just choose a different topic for your paper. Readers are guaranteed to feel the falsity, so avoid it.
Some final notes to consider
Always remember what the main task of a reflexive essay is. During the writing process, you need to demonstrate the path that you have gone and what lessons you have learned from this.
This is not a situation where you can conduct research, collect authoritative opinions and sources. In this case, the process begins with you: you need to make an effort to analyze your feelings and thoughts and structure them. Remember that your views and values are fundamental to this type of paper. You can even use such an essay as a kind of therapy. It will help to find out your strengths and weaknesses, find things that you need to pay more attention to.
Do not avoid professional help. If you understand that you do not have enough time to write a good reflective paper, this is not a reason to despair. You can order essays online using any modern gadget. Just attach the requirements from your professor to the order. Indicate the number of pages, topic, and deadline. As soon as the writing service selects an author for you, you can discuss the final version of your essay with him or her. You remember that reflective paper must be personal. Stay in touch with the author to keep track of the writing process. The final result will exceed your expectations!