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Reflective essay writing in the first person

Where would I begin? Where would I end? Thoughts frantically spasmed their way through my mind as I envisaged the treacherous journey on which I was about to embark. A reflective essay is akin to a diary entry, except that others reflective essay writing in the first person be reading it so it needs to have a great deal of coherence and a good structure.

In that regard, a reflective essay is much like any other essay out there. In this guide, we explore in detail how to write a great reflective essayincluding what makes a good structure and some advice on the writing process.

The purpose of writing a reflective essay is to provide a platform for the author to not only recount a particular life experience, but to also explore how he or she has changed or learned from those experiences. The format of a reflective essay may change depending on the target audience. Reflective essays can be academic, or may feature more broadly as a part of a general piece of writing for a magazine, for instance. For class assignments, while the presentation format can vary, the purpose generally remains the same: Here are some typical examples of reflective essay formats that you may have to write: A focus on personal growth: A type of reflective essay often used by tutors as a strategy for helping students to learn how to analyse their personal life experiences to promote emotional growth and development.

The essay gives the student a better understanding of both themselves and their behaviours. A focus on the literature: While the format of a reflective piece of writing may change, there is one element that will mostly remain the same, and that is the structure. You may be relieved to know that, much like any essay, a reflective essay is typically comprised of an introduction, body and conclusion. What do I write about?

As you go about deciding on the content of your essay, you need to keep in mind that a reflective essay is highly personal and aimed at engaging the reader or target audience. You need to be able to reflect more on this later on your experience by showing how it influenced your subsequent behaviours and how your life has been particularly changed as a result.

As a starting point, you might want to think about some important experiences in your life that have really impacted you, either positively, negatively, or both. Some typical reflection essay topics include: If you are writing a reflective essay as part of an academic exercise, chances are your tutor will ask you to focus on a particular episode — such as a time when you had to make an important decision — and reflect on what the outcomes were.

Note also, that the aftermath of the experience is especially important in a reflective essay; miss this out and you will simply be storytelling.

Writing a Good Reflective Essay: from Introduction to Conclusion

You need to really think about how the personal experience you have chosen to focus on impacted or changed you. Use your memories and feelings of the experience to determine the implications for you on a personal level. Write down everything you can remember about it, describing it as clearly and fully as you can. Keep your five senses in mind as you do this, and be sure to use adjectives to describe your experience. A great way to do this is to pick out some reflection questions which will help you think deeper about the impact and lasting effects of your experience.

Here are some useful questions that you can consider: Do you think these were the right choices? Was it a useful learning experience? What specific skills or perspectives did you acquire as a result? These signpost questions should help kick-start your reflective process. Remember, asking yourself lots of questions is key to ensuring that you think deeply and critically about your experiences — a skill that is at the heart of writing a great reflective essay. Consider using models of reflection before, during, and after the learning process to ensure that you maintain a high standard of analysis.

For example, before you really get stuck into the process, consider questions reflective essay writing in the first person as: Are there any possible challenges to keep in mind?

  1. Read those that are typical for your educational institution and meet your goals. Example of a Good Formatting In order to compose an effective reflective paper, you should read some reflective essay examples.
  2. As all other essays, this work should be written in a specific format. Self reflective essay do not require much research like other type of research.
  3. A focus on the literature.
  4. It can be considerably different from other typical essay outlines, mostly because of the varying subjects. As you work through your essay, present your thoughts systematically, remembering to focus on your key learning outcomes.
  5. Conclusion In the conclusion of your reflective essay, you should focus on bringing your piece together by providing a summary of both the points made throughout, and what you have learned as a result. Be extremely critical about your experience and your response to it.

What knowledge is needed to be best prepared to approach the experience? Is the process working out as expected? Am I dealing with the accompanying challenges successfully? Is there anything that needs to be done additionally to ensure that the learning process is successful? What am I learning from this? Your writing will be so much more coherent, your ideas conveyed with structure and clarity, and your essay will likely achieve higher marks.

An outline allows you to establish the basic details that you plan to incorporate into your paper — this is great for helping you pick out any superfluous information, which can be removed entirely to make your essay succinct and to the point.

Think of the outline as a map — you plan in advance the points you wish to navigate through and discuss in your writing. Your work will more likely have a clear through reflective essay writing in the first person of thought, making it easier for the reader to understand.

It can be considerably different from other typical essay outlines, mostly because of the varying subjects. But what remains the same, is that you need to start your outline by drafting the introduction, body and conclusion. More on this below.

  1. A reflective essay is akin to a diary entry, except that others will be reading it so it needs to have a great deal of coherence and a good structure.
  2. The incorporation of other sources into your essay also helps to show that you are aware of the multi-dimensional nature of both the learning and problem-solving process. Consider using models of reflection before, during, and after the learning process to ensure that you maintain a high standard of analysis.
  3. Keep your five senses in mind as you do this, and be sure to use adjectives to describe your experience. Writing your essay As with all written assignments, sitting down to put pen to paper or more likely fingers to keyboard can be daunting.
  4. Is there anything that needs to be done additionally to ensure that the learning process is successful? This kind of approach will ensure that your work is systematic and coherent.

Introduction As is the case with all essays, your reflective essay must begin within an introduction that contains both a hook and a thesis statement. Refer back to the opening quote of this article — did it grab your attention and encourage you to read more? The thesis statement is a brief summary of the focus of the essay, which in this case is a particular experience that influenced you significantly.

Body Next up is planning the body of your essay. They key here is to put plenty of time and effort into planning the body, and you can draw on the following tips to help you do this well: Try adopting a chronological approach.

This means working through everything you want to touch upon as it happened in time. This kind of approach will ensure that your work is systematic and coherent.

Lay out the important elements of your experience in a timeline — this will then help you clearly see how to piece your narrative together.

  • Talk about new strengths and weaknesses in relation to the experience you have gained;
  • Jot down quotations or other important statements you may want to include;
  • Writing about a personal experience in an essay is a way to express your thoughts and reflections about that event.

Ensure the body of your reflective essay is well focused, and contains appropriate critique and reflection. The body should not only summarise your experience, it should explore the impact that the experience has had on your life, as well as the lessons that you have learned as a result. The emphasis should generally be on reflection as opposed to summation.

A complete guide to writing a reflective essay

Conclusion In the conclusion of your reflective essay, you should focus on bringing your piece together by providing a summary of both the points made throughout, and what you have learned as a result. Try to include a few points on why and how your attitudes and behaviours have been changed. Consider also how your character and skills have been affected, for example: What can be concluded about your approach to specific situations? What might you do differently in similar situations in the future?

What steps have you taken to consolidate everything that you have learned from your experience? Keep in mind that your tutor will be looking out for evidence of reflection at a very high standard. Congratulations — you now have the tools to create a thorough and accurate plan which should put you in good stead for the ultimate phase indeed of any essay, the writing process.

Writing your essay As with all written assignments, sitting down to put pen to paper or more likely fingers to keyboard can be daunting. But if you have put in the time and effort fleshing out a thorough plan, you should be well prepared, which will make the writing process as smooth as possible. The following points should also help ease the writing process: But make sure you stick to your plan. As you work through your essay, present your thoughts systematically, remembering to focus on your key learning outcomes.

Remember that reflective writing has a descriptive component and so must have a wide range of adjectives to draw from. Be more specific — this will make your writing more engaging. Remember that this is a reflective task, and is the one place you can freely admit — without any repercussions — that you failed at a particular task. When assessing your essay, your tutor will expect a deep level of reflection, not a simple review of your experiences and emotion.

Showing deep reflection requires you to move beyond the descriptive. Be extremely critical about your experience and your response to it. In your evaluation and analysis, ensure that you make value judgements, incorporating ideas from outside the experience you had to guide your analysis. Remember that you can be honest about your feelings without writing in a direct way.

Use words that work for you and are aligned with your personality. Looking back, how successful has the process been? Think about your opinions immediately after the experience and how they differ now, so that you can evaluate the difference between your immediate and current perceptions. Asking yourself such questions will help you achieve reflective writing effectively and efficiently.

It helps keeps your writing dynamic! Think about possible sources, like newspapers, surveys, books and even journal articles. Generally, the additional sources you decide to include in your work are highly dependent on your field of study. Analysing a wide range of sources, will show that you have read widely on your subject area, that you have nuanced insight into the available literature on the subject of your essay, and that you have considered the broader implications of the literature for your essay.

The incorporation of other sources into your essay also helps to show that you are aware of the multi-dimensional nature of both the learning and problem-solving process.

Example reflective essay If you want some inspiration for writing, take a look at our example of a short reflective essaywhich can reflective essay writing in the first person as a useful starting point for you when you set out to write your own.

Some final notes to remember To recap, the key to writing a reflective essay is demonstrating what lessons you have taken away from your experiences, and why and how you have been shaped by these lessons. The reflective thinking process begins with you — you must consciously make an effort to identify and examine your own thoughts in relation to a particular experience. Remember that central to reflective essay writing reflective essay writing in the first person the examination of your attitudes, assumptions and values, so be upfront about how you feel.

Reflective writing can be quite therapeutic, helping you identify and clarify your strengths and weaknesses, particularly in terms of any knowledge gaps that you may have.

If you are still having difficulties with starting the writing process, why not try mind-mapping which will help you to structure your thinking and ideas, enabling you to produce a coherent piece. Creating a mind map will ensure that your argument is written in a very systematic way that will be easy for your tutor to follow.