Suppose you go hiking up a nearby mountain trail and you encounter an odd old man who talks about the possibility of life after death and many bizarre topics that leave a lasting impression on your mind. Since it was a chance encounter and you are most likely never to meet that oddball in your life ever again, you might feel tempted to write about what that transpired during your hiking trip in your journal right after you reach your dorm. That is basically what a reflective essay is. It is, in the most literal of the senses, the reflection of something that is personal to you, like a dream, vision, memory, experience or anything from your life that has proved to be meaningful to you.
While reflective essays are much more personal in nature than the other types of essays that professors usually like to assign, learning the art of mastering one is comparatively easier too. However, it would be unwise to go about the task of composing one without proper planning for. A reflective essay has a lot of potentials that can be uncovered only if you proceed the right way.
A reflective essay is a personal account of an event, memory or a dream in your life that has helped you learn some of the greatest lessons in life and inspired you to reflect more on it. While reflective essays have a personal tone, you should always be taking care of the structure and formatting of the essay carefully before you plan to write it.
Before you start planning for the writing stage of your reflective essay, you should ideally be asking yourself these questions and see if the event/ occasion/ dream/ memory can successfully answer those. If you find answers to the reflective questions that you pose, then you can say that you have a fairly good topic for your essay.
Some of the questions that you should be ideally asking yourself before writing an essay are as follows.
Once you have answers to these questions, you will know that you are ready to prepare for the planning stage of your reflective essay. But before that, you should take a look below for an idea of what the structure of an ideal reflective essay looks like.
The introduction of your reflective essay necessarily consists of the following elements.
As for the body paragraphs, you need to have the following outline in mind.
You can add to the body paragraphs as per the nature of the object of your reflection, but remember that you should be discussing about one point of view or aspect about the event/ dream/ memory in one paragraph and move on to the next when you want to introduce a different angle/ perspective/ factor/ point of discussion.
For the conclusion of your reflective essay, follow the structure as explained below.
Simply because a reflective essay requires little or no research hours in the library, it is foolish to think that you can dive right in into the task. With proper planning and determined execution, you will be able to write a remarkable reflective essay that leaves everyone in awe. In order to make your reflective essays stand out from the rest of your class, you can follow these tricks in planning and preparing for your essay.
Carefully select the topic of your reflective essay for this holds a lot of potential in making your essay a truly splendid one. Since a reflective essay focuses on your personal experiences, it is best to take some time off for yourself and go for a walk or swim while thinking about the topic. You can choose a childhood memory that you will never forget or some event that took place after you came to college – the playground is entirely yours at this point. Choose a topic and try to recall it as much as you can in the days preceding the writing stage for your reflective essay.
The next step is to create a reflective essay chart for a well worked out plan for your essay. This chart will essentially be the blueprint of your essay so you should be attentive when preparing it. This is kind of similar to jotting down the primary ideas in your essay journal for other kinds of essays, but this time you have to do the same thing in a chart format.
Divide the page of your journal into three separate columns and jot away. In the first column, enlist the events or occurrences that took place (ranked from most important to the least). In the second column, write how each of those made you feel or the thoughts they evoked in you (in as much detail as you can). In the third column, skim and note the sections that you wish to include in your reflective essay. Voila! Your chart is ready to be put to use!
Now that you know how a reflective essay should look like, it is time you prepare the outline of your essay. Following the structure that we provided, you can create the outline of your essay, deciding what goes where as you go. You should take note of your reflective essay chart while preparing the outline of your essay. Create the initial outline and give it a read to see whether the chronology of your essay makes sense. Modify the parts that need to, and you will have a revised and final outline of your reflective essay with you.
The entire task of writing gets almost half as easy when you have a clear outline prepared for your essay. You should ideally develop a regular habit for your essay writing and stick to it when assigned the task of completing an essay that matches the high standards of your academic institution. You can schedule a few hours every day in your routine as the writing hours and simply settle in a comfortable chair in a well-lit room to get cracking on your essays. Just go about filling in the portions of your reflective essay outline according to the plan, and you will have a completed essay in no time.
Finally, do not forget to edit, revise and proofread your essay after you have completed writing it. Give it a rest for a few days after you finish writing it and go for a party or catch up on some movies in the meantime. Come back to editing and revising your essay a few days later with a refreshed mind and new outlook. You will be able to identify the errors even better and modify the essay in the parts where it became a bit lacklustre. Editing and proofreading with a rejuvenated mind always help in the effective execution of the process that results in flawless essays that are sure to impress.
As part of the basic overview on how to master a reflective essay, you got to know how to go about writing one and the ways to structure a reflective essay. No need to get all perplexed the next time your professors assign one. Just follow these pro tips, and you will be able to write an impressive one in no time at all. Here's wishing you good luck with your essays!
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