A self-reflective essay is a short paper where students have to tell about a certain experience which influenced them in a positive or negative way. We will use this definition further. Sometimes a professor might ask students to write about their academic growth resulted by projects and assignments or tell about an event from their lives which had an impact on them.
The task itself might seem easy. And to some extent it is. Isn’t it great to review a certain event which helped you to change? However, this is an academic paper, therefore your essay must be structured and well-thought. The real challenge is to provide a critical immersion in the experience that changed you.
How to structure a self-reflection essay
In general, this type of text does not differ much from other types of essays. However, certain differences exist, let’s cover those.
Introduction. An introduction to a self-reflective essay should give an impression of what you intend to describe in your text. This paragraph should contain a thesis which underlines the main ideas of your reflection and therefore give your audience an idea of the text without getting deep into details. Also, your goal is to motivate your audience to read further. Use triggers which will describe the breathtaking moments of your narration.
Body paragraphs. Some students say that this is the toughest part of self-reflection essay writing. No matter how much you are eager to describe a certain experience, you must be very precise and short. You may use a chronological approach and tell about a certain event step-by-step. By doing so, you will stay focused and also will not omit important moments.
Make sure you are critical towards your story since you must not just retell what has happened in the past, but also investigate its impact. This is a reflective essay, remember? The trick here is to give your reader an idea of who you are and how you behave in different circumstances.
Conclusion. While giving your reflection on a certain experience, you must show how it pushed the changes and your growth. By the moment you come to the conclusion, your reader should already understand how the experience you are describing has influenced you. So, there is no need to write about that again. What you can do is share how you intend to utilize the lesson in future, for instance, in your personal or academic life, relationships and so on.
Although, do not forget that your conclusion must possess classic elements. You must summarize the main points of your essay. Also, you should stress once again what you have learned from this situation or event and say how your behaviors are now different.
Tips on how to write self-reflection paper
Once you got the theme for your text, you must spend time on remembering each aspect of the situation or event you intend to describe. Make notes about everything that comes up to your mind. This can be ideas, memories, feelings, perceptions.
Once you’ve recalled every important moment from the past, start reflecting. Put questions to yourself and analyze your experience:
- What have you found out about yourself because of that experience?
- Do you think you became different? How?
- How can you describe the effect it had on you?
- If you could have turned back the time, what would you have done in another way?
- Why, in your opinion, you behaved like that? Was that behavior good?
- What is your opinion about that experience? What habits did you get?
That is just a short list of questions which can help you push the reflection flow. Keep on asking yourself all the time you are working on the paper and you will end up with a great one.
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