When learning how to write a reflective essay for university, a student should learn the act of self-reflection and the right essay structure.
Have you ever had a written assignment that seemed easy and hard at the same time? If not, reflective essays are one of those essays that you may have to write in your lifetime. Reflective essays are a summary of a life experience or life event. With the right guideline, a student can learn how to write a perfect reflective essay for university. The guideline will constitute the right structure to follow, how to create an individual reflective report example, relevant reflective essay topics, and instructions to abide by when writing your essay.
Why write a reflective essay?
When instructors require students to write a reflective essay, the intention is for the students to think about what they are learning in class. Through the deep-thinking, students can delve into a deeper learning experience. Reflective essays are also useful outside the school assignment scope. Different professionals write reflective essays in the course of their work for varying reasons. Here is a brief breakdown of the purposes of reflective essays:
You can only understand yourself and the progress you are making in life by reflecting about your life. There is a lot you can learn about yourself when you undertake regular self-reflection and express your thoughts in a self-reflective essay. Not only will you be in a position to analyze your life, but also the process of learning about yourself will play a key role in your emotional growth. A look at personal development reflective essay examples reveals a lot about what one can achieve with a reflective essay.
Instructors will require you to write a reflective essay as a response to a particular assignment or lecture. That way, an instructor can see what students understand about what they are taught. Reflective essays are also effective ways for students to interact amongst themselves and with the instructor.
Professionals in varying fields write reflective essays in the course of undertaking their daily tasks. Reflective essays are effective for both employees and employers to understand how to carry out their jobs effectively. A few examples of these professionals include:
Students in medical school undertake practical lessons in their course to prepare them for the roles they will carry out in the future. Reflective essays about their practical medical sessions involve the description of patients and the thoughts that a medical student has concerning a patient regarding effective treatment. Also, they can reflect on how the interaction with the patient was. That will be helpful in understanding what worked and what failed to help a student interact with patients better.
Professionals who help in providing care to patients such as nurses serve as the bridge between doctors and patients. Often, medical practice is not void of emotional stress for these medical workers, and it affects their performance. Reflective essays are effective in helping medical assistants cope with the pressure they face on a daily basis.
Reflective essays give doctors the opportunity to fine-tune their medical practice. Doctors endeavor to provide quality healthcare services that cause patients to trust doctors more. Their reflection can be based on the effect of their words, actions, voice tone, and body language on a patient. Every activity by a doctor should be to convince a patient to adopt sound medical advice.
On the daily, teachers interact with different students with varying levels of learning. Reflective essays are a good tool for teachers to analyze their teaching patterns and the results so that the benefit all the students. You will notice that some teaching patterns work well with some students while some don’t. Teachers can then use the reflective essays that students write for the university to plan their lessons according to student behavior and learning pattern.
Individuals who own and run businesses need to track their progress from time to time. They can analyze their business operations with clients and customers by writing a reflective essay. The essay may be helpful in them coming up with brilliant ways of presenting their products or service to customers.
Steps to follow when learning how to write your reflective essay for university
Here are the steps that you need to undertake when learning how to write your reflective essay for university:
Choose an idea that you will talk about
In some cases, an instructor will issue you with a topic idea that your reflective essay will be about. If you have not been given a topic to write your reflective essay for university on, you can always get inspiration online and look for topic ideas.
Analyze your subject
Once you have a topic idea in mind, you should proceed to think about the subject. If your subject is an experience, it would be best to try and rethink about the experience that you had.
When thinking about your subject, it is best if you put your thoughts in writing. It is far easier to expound on your thoughts once you have them down on paper. Write down anything and everything that comes to your head when thinking about the essay subject. Describe the subject, any smell, sounds, and taste that you associate it with. You can write your thoughts in words, phrases, or sentences. Whichever you choose, these writings will be helpful in structuring the body of your reflective essay for university.
The whole point of a reflective essay for university is for you to reflect on a particular subject. If you do not know how to reflect, it would be best that you consider using reflection questions. The answers to these reflection questions will be a good starting point for your reflection. The reflection questions you can ask yourself are many but here are a number of them:
- What did you notice?
- How do you feel about a particular thing?
- Has the subject changed you? If so, how has it changed you?
- What would you have done different?
- What was the experience like?
- Did the experience affect other people who were involved?
- What are the lessons that you picked?
Answer the reflection questions
Select several questions that relate to your subject topic and generate genuine answers. Write down your answers and set them side to side with the thoughts you had written down. Compare and contrast the two, and the result will be helpful in writing your reflective essay.
Angles you can take when writing a reflective essay for a university
You are the central focus of a self-reflection essay for university. There are three approaches you can use when learning how to write a reflective essay for university. These approaches are:
There is no doubt you interact with different people daily. Some people like family members have been with you all your life while you may have met some people as you went about life. When writing an essay about yourself and you are focusing on your relationships, you should pick a person who knows you too well. In addition, the person should have had an impact on your life. Regardless of who you choose, be sure that you explain the HOW and WHY of the relationship you have with them.
Life is made up of different experiences that shape a person. Some memories are exciting, while others are not the best. You can write your reflective essay on a good or bad memory. Whichever experience you choose to base your essay on should be one that you are comfortable sharing. Reflective essays are not like any assignment; you need to explain what happened, why the experience is important to you, and how the experience shaped your life. It is easy to get carried away and make your reflective essay a narrative one, and you will have missed the whole point of a reflective essay.
Every person is a product of their character traits. It is these character traits that distinguish one person from another. When writing an essay about yourself, and you choose this angle of explaining your character traits, pick a character trait that you most identify with. When giving your explanation about your trait, you need to show the trait manifests in your life. You will also need to show how that character has developed in your life. If you are unsure about a character trait you possess, ask a family friend or a friend about how they would describe you. You will be surprised to know that your friends and family members know you well than you know yourself.
The reflective essay outline
The general theme in a self-reflective essay is a personal opinion on a certain subject. This kind of essay mostly applies to creative arts but is not limited to that. One may be required to write a reflective essay on a book or movie. Unlike other kinds of essays, self-reflective essays do not require a writer to conduct deep research. In a similar manner, the author does not need to provide references to support their opinions.
The first paragraph of your reflective essay for university should be a preview of the issues you will be discussing in your essay. It is important that you come up with a thesis statement that summarizes your reflection points. You should, however, not give too many details and make the reader stop reading the essay in the introduction. Instead, give the reader a gist of what to expect in the essay and encourage them to keep reading.
The body of the reflective essay for university will be a discussion of the subject that you have chosen for your essay. As stated above, you can either talk about an experience, an event, or a relationship that has shaped you. It is important that you expound your experiences so that you do not leave the reader hanging. When drafting your ideas for the essay, separate the body in different points that you will cover in your essay. Each idea or point should be in one paragraph. Also, ensure that you arrange your ideas in a way that there is a flow in ideas. Remember to use transitional words and phrases to connect your paragraphs.
How you end your reflective essay for university is as important as how you begin your essay. The conclusion should be a summary of the ideas you have discussed in the essay. The purpose of an essay conclusion is to ensure that the essay sticks in the mind of the reader. Remind the reader why you chose the particular essay subject and what the essay subject means to you. Check out reflective essay conclusion samples to know how to conclude your essay well.
What are some of the examples of essay topics for reflective essays for university?
There are numerous essay topics that your reflective essay for university can be about. Here is a guide on different essays topic that one can write about. These topics are in different categories and are as follows:
Reflective essay topics on events
Events are good reflective essay topics as there are details about an event that can influence your life. You can write about a regular life event such as a birthday party or a one-time life event such as your wedding day. Reflective essay topics on events include:
- A birthday party
- A special date you had
- Your engagement or wedding day
- A time you got lost in a new place
- The first day you bought a car
- Your first day as a homeowner
- A visit to the museum
- A day out with family or friends
- Your first day in a new town
- Your first day in university
- An annual event such as Thanksgiving or Easter
Reflective essay topics on essential places
The places you need to include when writing a reflective essay about a topic should be a place that evokes emotions and memories. Some topics you can use for creative writing reflective essay examples are as follows:
- Your favorite holiday destination
- Your favorite restaurant
- Your first workplace
- A visit to Madison Square Garden
- Your last visit to your grandparents’ place
- Watching movies at a cinema
- Your child’s first visit to an amusement park
- Which is your favorite hanging out spot?
- Your first day in college
- Your go-to bookstore
Reflective essays topics on nature
Nature is wonderful, and there are moments that one can derive meaning from. You can create a memory or allow your imagination to take you to a beautiful experience. Some essay topics that involve nature include:
- Watching the sunset
- Picking wild fruits
- Walking in the woods alone
- Mountain climbing experience
- Watching birds flying
- Sitting on a mountain and watching the ground below
- Swimming in the ocean
- The day you went hiking
- Walking in the desert
- Boat riding on a lake
- Playing in the rain
- Running in the forest
- Skiing down a hill
- Smelling a wildflower
- Playing football on the beach
Reflective essay topics on relationships
Human beings are relational beings, and relationships make life more meaningful. Writing a reflective essay on relationships will help you reflect on your feelings and the connections you have. Such essay topics include:
- The day you adopted a child
- The birth of your first child
- The day you met your fiancée
- The day your parents said they were proud of you
- A day you felt embarrassed about yourself
- A family reunion
- The day you confronted your employer
- The day you reunited with a lost relative
- Your child’s first day in school
- The day you first punished your child
Reflective essay examples for high school
Students in high school may have to write a reflective essay during their time in high school. Here are some of the essay topics that they may write about:
- A childhood memory
- The first kiss
- Their favorite dish
- Their first vacation as a family
- A holiday’s visit to a relative
- Their first car experience
- Their first date
- Their best friend
- The scariest moment in life
- Their favorite hanging out spot
Reflective essay topics for college students
College students will have to handle reflective essay assignments in the course of their study. Some instructors will give the students the essay topic for the reflective essay, while other instructors will let students pick the essay topic by themselves. Some of the essay topics that are suitable for college students include:
- Is school a waste of time?
- Should college students be punished?
- How does one keep meaningful friendships in college?
- The effect of social media on college students
- What challenges do first-year students face?
- Have you ever cheated on your exams?
- What are annoying character traits among instructors?
- Can a college student excel in exams without studying?
- What is your favorite course?
- What are the lessons you have learnt in college?
How to write a reflective essay on writing experience?
If you have to write a reflective essay on your writing experience, there are a number of things that you must include in your essay. You must mention what you were writing about and the purpose of writing. After that, you need to narrate the writing experience; the steps you took and the results you obtained. Also, you need to highlight the significance of the writing experience and the lessons you picked from the experience.
Additional writing tips
Other extra tips you can use when writing your reflective essay include:
Be careful of what you are including in your essay
A personal reflective essay is about yourself. You will be expressing your opinions and feelings about a subject. When writing a self-reflective essay for other reasons except for self-growth, you should consider examining what you are writing. Ask yourself whether what you want to include in the essay is something you are comfortable writing about and letting others know about. If you are uncomfortable about including certain elements in your essay, avoid it altogether.
Although a reflective essay is personal, you should be professional in your writing. Use correct grammar and spelling and void the use of slang in your essay. The sole focus on a reflection essay is to express your experiences and reflections. You should not include another person’s details. If there is a person who played a significant role in your experience, mention their actions instead of themselves.
Review your work
As is the good norm, you should not hand in your essay to the instructor before conducting a thorough review. The review involves reading your essay a number of times before handing in the work. During the review process, you will be checking out whether there are any errors that you can eliminate. The ideas in your essay should flow logically, and the essay should be free of fluff.
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