Writing a Personal Reflective Essay
In this type of writing, your purpose is to engage your reader with more than just a re-telling of a story. You must reflect on your experience and really outline how you have changed as a person and how your life has been affected or impacted.
This is writing about something that has happened in your life and has really impacted on you for good or bad.
- Something that has changed your life - birth, death, illness or an issue.
- Something that really annoys you - racism, bigotry or social inequalities.
- You will be writing about your memories of an event or experience which you had significant feelings about before, during and afterwards.
- You are not re-telling the story.
This is perhaps the more difficult segment. When reflecting you really need to think about yourself and how the personal experience changed you.
- You are reflecting on memories of your feelings, expressing them, reflecting on them with thoughts and opinions, and considering them with the power of hindsight (looking back).
- What have you learned about yourself?
- How have you grown? Developed? Changed?
- Statements such as: "Looking back", "I can see now" can all start the reflective thinking process.
A reflective essay:
- Explores some aspect of the world.
- Presents your thoughts and feelings on it
- Discusses how you think it has affected the person you are today.
- Describes the person you are/your opinions of yourself.
Take your notes and use those to write your final draft. Here are some tips:
Introduction: Either start with a vivid description of the place, your experience, or a summary of what you are reflecting about. End with your thesis idea. Sometimes you may want to put a question first and then the answer
Example Thesis: Why was I feeling so peaceful while walking down this beach? I realized it was because the beach had always been a place of rest to me.
Body: Each of the questions you've answered can be a paragraph in the body of your essay. Take your notes and expand them. Add more details and examples from your experience and your life story.
Conclusion: Explain and expand on your thesis idea. Tell how this experience taught you something new or how it helped you to understand something. Another way to conclude is to suggest where you might like to go from this point in thinking about your thesis idea.
Example Conclusion: I sent my photo of "For Rhonda" to my friend along with a text letting her know how much I appreciate her help in letting me know that we can always find places to relax and renew in the midst of our busy lives. Now, I want to find a way to help Rhonda have a day off of her own, and I'm hoping someday we can take a trip to the beach together.