First and foremost, we need to clear out what is a reflective essay and what does it deal with. Thus, it is a form of academic essay writing that depicts, examines, evaluates writer’s personal experience from the past and determines how it may influence personality, worldview, traits, skills or career development in future.
As a rule, a reflective essay is considered the easiest among all. A writer is free to be as creative as she wants, plus first person singular pronouns are to be used most of the time. But still reflective essays have their proper requirements and writing rules of thumb that must be followed in order to succeed.
Remember about analytical nature of a reflective essay
Reflective essays are meant to cover two basic goals:
1) to set the scene of a certain event in the past that had influenced the writer so much she decided to write about it and share experience;
2) to present the evaluation of the event and received experience.
First off, a writer dwells upon some past experience. For example, how during childhood years she was uncertain as to whether pick dancing classes or violin. Then comes a description of the event. How she talked to friends and parents asking for advice, how she visited guest lessons, what she liked about dancing teacher and what she disliked about a violin teacher, vice versa. What she found peculiar about a dancing study room, what she found strange about violin study room, etc. Finally, there goes a reflection that tells readers about student’s personal feelings, emotions and implications made. What was the final student’s choice and why? These are the things to tell in a reflection part of the essay.
Essential checklist before writing a reflective essay
Read instructions carefully, identify the key goal of your assignment
Think of a couple of solid topics to reflect upon based on your life experience, find the one that might resonate with your audience the most
Set the scene answering such questions as Who, Where, When, How, Why
Clear out the lessons learned and experience gained on the basis of a certain event
Think how you can relate your personal experience to literature sources given in the task (if any)
Dwell upon the lessons learned, tell why you have chosen a particular event and, most preferably, how it’s related to your academic life, career choices, attitude, personal traits, etc.
Introduction, Main body and Conclusion in a nutshell
A personal reflection essay undergoes a classic three-item pattern: intro, body copy and conclusions. However, there are characteristic features always to remember about. Thus, your introductory part has to contain information on what your essay is about, what it focuses on, why the topic under discussion is important, and how exactly it will be developed.
Main body consists of three parts as well: 1) description of an event or experience; 2) evaluation of an event or experience; and 3) analysis of an event or experience. In the end, the conclusion provides the summary of issues unraveled in the body. It also briefly reminds readers about the purpose of your reflective essay and suggests a required course of action, where necessary.
As you can see, how to write a reflective essay is easy, if you have a strong topic up your sleeve and a brief knowledge regarding essay’s structure and main cornerstones.