“To my mind, the character of Thor from “Thor: The Movie” reflects my personality. He is brave and honest compared to his greedy and selfish brother, so I adore the God of Thunder most of all!”
It is an extract from a reflective essay of an 8th-grade schoolboy. More complex reflective essay examples are available. In this article, students who wish to learn how to highlight their personality will discover effective writing tips and top reflective essay topics.
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A reflection essay seems easy as you don’t have to defend one’s point of view or convince the reader of something. It has its challenges, so we recommend finding quick online help with academic assignments in the shape of professional writers & editors!
What Is a Reflective Essay Assignment?
A good question to start with is, “What is a reflective essay?” A reflective essay is a type of academic writing, in which the student has to test personal life experience/position towards a particular topic. Unlike in argumentative writing, the student does not have to defend the personal position. It does not require a complicated, professional language with some terminology. Do not define something - focus on sharing personal life experience, skills, development, and the most vivid examples to illustrate the topic.
The format of this essay depends on the target audience. A reflection essay student writes to meet the college writing standards has a different structure from the one a magazine writer should preset to reach the issue’s audience. Each reflective paper has a similar outline.
How to Write a Reflective Essay: Critical Elements
Personal writing helps students to stress their individuality by highlighting various skills, knowledge, behavior, feelings, and even mood. A reflective essay shows how the person changed over time and what factors played an important role in those metamorphoses.
Keep on reading this section to learn how to write different parts of the paper about yourself.
Preparing Reflective Essay Outline
The first thing every student needs to understand how to write a reflective essay is an effective, detailed outline. It has 3 typical sections:
- Body Paragraphs
The assignment of this type does not require any references – the only person to refer is the student who decides to share his thoughts & ideas.
Find 3 main reasons to include an outline of this type of writing!
- An outline assists in laying out the details the student wants to leave after narrowing down the draft before working on the final paper. It prevents from concluding the essay by realizing something is missing.
- An outline provides a clear, concise roadmap, which prevents the writer from taking curvy paths and facing dead ends. It shows the way like a compass in the woods.
- An outline helps to save a plenty of time.
- An outline helps the potential readers, including teachers & classmates, to avoid falling off the main point when reading the essay partially.
Things to Discuss in Introduction to Reflective Essay!
Start with stating the primary focus of the personal reflection. Avoid being indirect and covering a range of topics; stay direct and concise by underlining the basic purpose of sharing a life experience.
“Giving a preview of the most exciting part of the story is a clue. The target reader may lack time to read the full piece from cover to cover. “There are many things I have learned from Marketing class. The most valuable lesson I have obtained is checking the effectiveness of 2 different approaches or services through utilizing a so-called A/B testing.” It will make the reader think what is special about this specific method. The reader will go on reading the body paragraphs to find out!”
Professor Hemsworth, History & Anthropology teacher and academic writer at NerdyMates
Another way to attract attention in the introductory paragraph is to come up with the intriguing hook sentence like statistics, fact, quote, metaphor, rhetorical question, or joke. It depends on the mood of the reflective essay.
Working on Reflective Essay Thesis
Some people may say that a reflective essay does not need a thesis. However, the example shared in the previous section talking about introduction is an example of the inspiring thesis statement. Include at least a summary of the primary idea. The best idea would be to focus on previewing the peak of the plot development or highlighting the most valuable lesson learned.
“Now I realize the value of sports in the life of every student. The swimming courses I visit since 13 are the great example of the way to support positive thinking and healthy body.”
How to Write a Conclusion for a Reflective Essay?
The body paragraphs interpret the way the author evolved or what he/she has absorbed from a particular life lesson (mention 3 different lessons). The student should mention the circumstances that forced him to pass a certain way. If you study a subject like English Literature or Arts, the paper’s prompt may ask you to describe how you changed as a field professional during the course of study. It is important to choose a specific interval of time to list the improvements. Compare & contrast the initial skills to the knowledge you have today. It is a great idea to tell the audience the ways various tasks, challenges, and lessons made the author grow since the beginning of his education.
Check this awesome example of a reflective essay:
There is no need to conduct research to collect the supporting evidence. The author alone is responsible for defending every stated claim with the help of vivid examples that describe the topic the best. Example: In case the student has become more professional in the field of writing, he should list the causes of those changes (new English teacher, more practice at home, part-time job related to the field of writing). Who knows – some of the ideas may be used by other students to succeed!
The last challenge is to prepare an impressive, inspiring, and powerful conclusion, which will make the target readers want to develop the same positive way! Write a conclusion regarding the way you have changed over a given period of time. Share some forecast by looking ahead: how the experiences listed in the essay would influence further personal development. By looking at the past events, decide which of them was the most important. The good idea is to compare & contrast past and future events to stress the gaps between the obtained skills and experience, possibly gained in the future.
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30 Exciting Reflective Essay Topics to Explore Yourself!
It is time to cover the list of reflective essay topics. The top students and their college professors recommend personalized, interesting ideas that could give a hint to other adolescents.
Good Reflective Essay Topics
- Personal trait the author likes most about himself
- The greatest phobia the student has faced
- The ways to overcome adversity
- The methods to do homework fast
- The biggest strength of the author
- Student’s greatest achievement to date
- Most vivid holiday memory
- Lessons learned from the first official date
- Describing the situation, in which the student faced a complex moral dilemma
- Discussing the biggest ethical issue in life
Personal Reflective Essay Ideas
- Surviving blindness of the example of close friend
- Staying alone for the first time in a life
- Sharing room on campus with another student
- Living under one roof with parents
- Previous summer job experience (ice-cream seller, waiter, etc.)
- What was the best winter location to celebrate Christmas?
- Who does the student admire out of the female celebrities?
- What kind of relationships does the author have with his/her mom?
- Traits to look for when choosing a partner
- The most helpful thing an old man told me
Reflective Essay on English Class
- The most hurtful thing the student heard in his life
- Describing the period of deep, personal depression
- Things that make the author laugh
- Discussing the loudest & most exciting gig
- Attending guitar lessons
- Launching personal small business
- The process of studying foreign languages
- The impact of technology on the personal development
- The tastiest food based on personal investigation
- Favorite book/movie/author/band (do not confuse such type of reflective essay with the movie review)
Reflective Essay Examples from Successful College Students
No recommendations, tips & tricks help the students to understand the way a particular assignment should look like in the end as effectively as the examples. The article contains one of the up-to-date reflective essay examples from a college student.
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The person explains personal progress with the help of Facebook experience. It may sound a bit commercial. The writer has a right to promote what he likes in the reflective essay. Do not forget to combine the description of the tools that helped you to develop with the personal experience & real-life examples.
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All people remember some remarkable events in their life. It sometimes happens that a particular situation or moment may change our whole life. It should be noted that any item may have a significant influence on you. It can be a picture, a place, or even your memories. Such issues are usually explored in reflective papers. We would like to help you choose a great subject for your work. That is why we have made a list of superior reflective essay topics. We are sure that you will find them useful.
“What is a reflective essay?” Students, who have never written such type of paper before, often ask this question. If you take the following list into consideration, you will select a suitable subject for producing your work. Thus, you will not encounter any difficulties with writing a thesis statement. By the way, do not forget to provide detailed information about the matter when preparing your piece of writing.
- What did you learn from a particular situation that happened in your life? Did it help you avoid making the same mistakes?
- Talk about a significant event in your life.
- Have you ever been impressed with something?
- Talk about the skills you need to do something.
- Has something changed your thinking? What was it?
- Do you like reading books with deep philosophical content?
- Have any dramatic events caught your attention? What were they?
- Talk about the turning point in your life. Describe your feelings.
- How can you apply knowledge gained at college to your job.
- Explain how something has changed your future plans.
- What do you often think about? Why does this issue provoke a lot of thoughts?
- Analyze the problem of religion, race, and gender in society. It is necessary to admit that this is rather an interesting topic for your reflective essay.
- Talk about the ways you can help people sharing your experience.
- Have you ever participated in different activities? What did you learn from such experience?
- Has anything ever deeply affected you?
- Has anything ever aroused profound emotions? What was it?
- Would you like to change anything in your life?
- Do you want to change yourself in any way?
Top-notch reflective essays can be produced when describing some events. It does not matter whether these are everyday events or some solemn occasions. It is a great way of preparing an original paper no matter whether you are experienced writer or not. It is very interesting to describe birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. When writing about some precious moments, you can show how something has changed your life.
- Talk about your everyday life. Describe the process of studying, making breakfast, cleaning the house and other activities.
- Describe your feelings when creating a design for your house.
- A memorable play.
- A visit to the zoo or theater.
- The importance of celebrating Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and other holidays.
- Have you ever lived in the regions suffering from floods, storms, or hurricanes? Describe your feelings.
- Moving to a new city.
- Talk about marriage. Why is this event considered remarkable?
- Describe a terrifying nightmare or a pleasant dream.
- Tell about a memorable trip.
- Have ever taken care about a sick person? Share your experience.
- Your first salary, car, apartment.
- Receiving a valuable gift.
- The day when there was no electricity, water, or gas.
- Undertaking special activities. Describe any kind of sports.
- Voting for the first time.
- Defending the rights of another person.
- Preparing for an important event.
- Describe your birthday party or that of your friend.
- Talk about the day you have skipped a school.
- Do you go to church. Talk about your feeling after the religious ceremonies.
- The day when you have surprised somebody. Has anybody ever surprised you greatly?
- Have you ever lost precious things, i.e. wallet, jewelry, etc.?
- Describe how you got lost in a strange place.
- A party organized by your neighbors. By the way, there are a lot of useful reflective essay prompts on writing a paper on this topic.
- Talk about the time spent at the hospital. Describe your experience of visiting a dentist.
- Have you ever been proud of yourself for doing anything?
- Eating something you do not like.
- The first day at new school. Describe an occasion when have been robbed.
- The favorite perfume.
- Swimming in the ocean.
- A hiking tour.
- Climbing the mountains.
- A hunting trip.
- Going to the cinema.
- Watching the ocean.
- A memorable walk in the valley full of beautiful flowers.
- How to survive during a hurricane or another natural disaster.
- A rainy day.
- Meeting a bear or snake.
- Walking in the jungles.
- Climbing a rock.
- Playing with your pet.
- A tornado is moving to the city.
- Have you ever thought about crossing the desert?
- Walking on the seashore.
- Playing in the mud. A good reflective essay can be produced on this topic.
- Describe the feelings of watching the sunset.
- Gathering mushrooms and berries in the forest.
- The dunes of sand in the desert.
- Describe how the birds build their nests.
- Visiting a historical place.
- Looking down from a high rock.
- Running outdoors.
- Meeting a wild animal.
- Looking into the water from a high bridge.
- A successful expedition to the mountains.
- Skiing from high hills.
- Watching the birds flying.
Topics Related to Places
It is known that some places may arouse deep emotions. People can think about them again and again. If you want to write a paper about a certain place, you should consider the following reflective essay ideas. They will help you start your work.
- The best place where you had a vacation.
- Talk about your favorite shopping center.
- Would you like to visit a coffee shop?
- You native town. Describe the arousing feelings when visiting it.
- Talk about your favorite ice skating rink.
- Going to an amusement park.
- Your school. What do you feel when talking about it?
- Your favorite online resource, i.e. website, blog, social network, etc.
- Describe your working place.
- A great bookstore. Why do like going to it?
- Tell about your bedroom. Does it look like that in your childhood?
- Your grandparents’ house or that of your friends.
- Talk about your working area no matter whether it is a house or office.
- Your favorite restaurant. Why do you like it most of all?
- The playground from your childhood.
Topics Examining Relationship
It is obvious that relationships evoke the most pleasant or painful memories. That is why exploring this issue can be a fascinating reflective essay topic. Besides, writing papers on this subject may help us understand ourselves better. Consider the following ideas for your academic work:
- Falling in love. Describe this precious moment.
- A stressful situation. Tell how you helped your friend feel better (or describe how your friends helped you relieve stress).
- Describe the moment when someone has talked about your positive qualities.
- Adopting a daughter, son, or sister. Express your opinion about adoption.
- Going on a pleasant journey with the best friend.
- A heated discussion. Is it easy to make you feel nervous?
- Being afraid of someone. Describe your feelings.
- Saying “sorry”. Is it hard to admit being wrong?
- Describe a moment of being punished unfairly by your parents.
- Have you ever wanted to own anything that did not belong to you?
- Talk about the period of life when something or someone has disappointed you greatly.
- An argument with your teacher or boss.
- Discuss an embarrassing situation in your life. Describe your feelings.
- The funniest moment in your life. Describe it in details.
- Being a child. What are the sweetest memories in your childhood?
- The first time of going out with friends without parents.
- Talking about the mistakes made by your relatives, i.e. parents, grandparents, friends, etc.
- Describe your feelings when helping people (or when people help you).
- Keeping secrets. Have you ever revealed somebody’s secret?
- Analyze your first public speech.
- Have you ever lied to anyone? Talk about the moment when the truth has come out.
- Losing memory. Describe the situation when your friend’s brain has been affected by dementia.
Key Steps to Writing Unique Papers on Reflective Essay Topics
- Take a close look at the list of subjects for producing works. Choose the one that you are interested in.
- Start the paper with describing your personal experience. Make readers fell themselves participants of your narration.
- The above-mention item is going to be your thesis statement.
- Remember to structure your work properly.
- Write a logical conclusion. You need to show what lesson you have learned from your personal experience. Tell whether experience helps succeed in life.
- It sometimes happen that students do not know how to continue to write their works. In case some difficulties arise, you may always use a handy sample paper. It will help you understand how to move on.