A reflective essay is a type of writing in which you (the author) interact with an audience and describe some moment or experience from your life. This “experience’ explores personal ideas, feelings, and opinions about the event and how it affected you.
Reflective writing allows an author to:
- Analyze and draw conclusions about what they have read, heard, or seen;
- Make connections between the text and themselves, or other texts and the world;
- Think about what they have learned and how they can or will use the newly acquired information;
- Write subjectively (from their point of view); Identify areas for further reading.
Table Of Contents
Writing A Reflective Essay
Reflection essays are usually requested by professors or teachers, as they allow you to share your experience about an article, lesson, or lecture. Reflections are very personal and subjective, but they must maintain a formal tone and should be well organized.
If you are reflecting on a certain text, annotate your initial emotions and thoughts while reading it. If you are writing about yourself or an event in your life, brainstorm by making a chart with three columns: past experiences, description, and reflection. This table should help you brainstorm and structure the introduction and the body of your essay.
Example: You are writing about your experience at an animal shelter.
Personal Reflective Essay
Personal reflective essays are papers that reflect your personality, your experiences, and your influences. Ultimately, they help the reader of your paper get to know you. Unlike other types essays that you’ve written before, they do not rely on facts or research. Instead, they are focused on you. Application essays or job resumes are, in a way, reflective essays too. One thing that separates a good essay from a bad one is organization; thus, start by building an outline.
The format of a reflective essay greatly differs from normal argumentative or research essays. A reflective essay is more of a well-structured story or a diary entry. An essay in APA format or MLA format is only applicable when it comes with an external text that you are reflecting upon. The typical reflection essay length will vary between 300 and 700 words
- Ask your instructor about word length to make sure you follow the instructions.
Here, it is important to avoid the academic style of writing. Stick to your feelings and original ideas. This essay is about you, not about the text. If your instructor asks you to format your paper in APA or MLA style, here are a few shorthands:
To start organizing your reflective essay, take a look at your brainstorming table. The ‘past experience’ and ‘description’ should constitute less than 10% of your essay. Limit listing events and tell events as little as possible. Instead, show the events in your reflection.
Your introduction should consist of:
- The hook: grab the reader's attention in a short preview of what you’ll be writing about.
- The reflective essay thesis statement should include that ‘past experience’ information; a brief statement of what your essay is going to be about.
- The structure of body paragraphs is best discussed in chronological events. Answer the bold questions in the ‘reflection’ section of the table; this should naturally create a linear storyline. No matter what you’re writing your essay about.
The body paragraph outline should look something like this:
- Expectation about the shelter
- First impression
- Expectations: "Thought it was going to be boring and mundane"
- Working experience
- Finding and rescuing Buffy
- Other experiences with rescuing animals
- Newly found passion and feelings toward the work
- A newly developed mindset about animal treatment
Must wrap your ideas up and demonstrate development. Feelings newly found discoveries, and most importantly, plans for the future are important factors of the conclusion.
Example: Buffy’s case inspired me to pursue a career as a veterinarian, hopefully, one day working in an animal shelter.
Ideas And Topics
The reflective essay is probably the one essay you can’t borrow a topic for, because the essay should be about your own experiences. However, here are some prompts to help you begin:
- An experience you can’t forget.
- Time you overcame a fear.
- The most difficult choice you had to make.
- A time your beliefs were challenged.
- Have you ever discovered something life-changing?
- The happiest moment or the most frightening moment of your life that far.
- What can people do to improve the quality of the world?
- Name a time you felt lost.
- Are you always making the right choice? Can you think of time you made a wrong choice?
- A moment in your life you would like to relive.
You may find it convenient to create a chart or table to keep track of your ideas. Split your chart into 3 parts.
- In the first column, write key experiences or the main points. You can grade them from most to least important.
- In the second column, list your personal response to the points you have stated in the first column.
- In the third column, write how much of your response to share in the essay.
How You Write
Watch what you are writing
A reflective paper is a very personal type of writing because it includes your feelings and opinions about something. Before including something in your paper, ask yourself is this information appropriate to include or not?
- If you feel uncomfortable about something personal, avoid including it in your essay, or write about this issue in more general terms.
Even though a reflection paper is personal, you should keep your mind organized.
AVOID SLANG: Use only correct spelling and grammar. Abbreviations like “LOL”, “OMG” or “ROFL” should be avoided in professional custom writing.
This is your story, so there is no need to drag someone else into your custom essay. Even if this person made the experience you are going to talk about, you must maintain professionalism and describe the actions, not the person. Additionally, you should frame those actions within the context of your writing.
Do Not Be Lazy
Review your paper sentence by sentence to eliminate all mistakes.
- Keep your sentences to the point. Avoid squeezing two thoughts into one sentence.
- Don’t leave sentences unfinished; make sure that all your sentences have a purpose.
Put The Cherry On Top Of Your cake
Use transitional phrases to shift between arguments and introduce specific details. The usage of transitions will make your paper look like it was written by essay writing service writers.
- The reflection provides the ‘big picture’ of the person’s experiences.
- The student interweaves information regarding specific artifacts and how these artifacts were beneficial. The student’s experience paints details that are unique.
- The reflection shows that the student has learned from their experience. Reflection reveals insight into personal goals
- Demonstrates an ability to reflect on own work and an adequate number of examples are provided.
- Reflection demonstrates personal perspective.
- The essay has no grammatical and spelling errors, is an overall organized paper.
- The reflection provides the pieces of the student’s experience. The essay is not written in a linear manner.
- The students essay consists of generalizations and is not unique or memorable.
- The reflection does not adequately demonstrate that the student has received knowledge from experience. The student does not state personal goals.
- The essay insufficiently reflects on own work.
- Reflection demonstrates universal perspective.
- The essay has many grammatical and spelling errors, the paper is incoherent.
Reflective Essay Example
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
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A reflective essay in middle school and earlier years of high school is typically not a serious type of essay. In your junior and senior years of high school, you will usually find that a more sophisticated format of the essay. The two most common places where you will be asked to write a reflective essay are college application papers and different kinds of reports (lab or otherwise) that require you to state your opinion, not just straight analysis. One thing that must be stressed is that an essay should demonstrate what the writer has learned. It also explains what things caused the author to change. A quick shortcut is to reflect on how you improved. In college application essays, you will want to know how to talk about what you learned from an event or experience.
A strong reflective writers will not only share the change but also give examples as supporting details. For example, if a writer discusses becoming more optimistic in life, then the writer would discuss how they took a positive approach and came out with a good outcome.
Essay/Term paper: Schizophrenia
Essay, term paper, research paper: Psychology
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By: Abe Jacobs
Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder. It is a disease that makes it difficult
for a person to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to
think logically, to have normal emotional responses to other, and to behave
normally in social situations. People with schizophrenia may also have
difficulty in remembering, talking, and behaving appropriately. Schizophrenia
is one of the most common mental illnesses. About 1% of the world
population has schizophrenia. In the United States, there are about 2.5 million
people with the disease. Schizophrenia is the cause of more hospitalizations
than almost any other illness. Schizophrenia most commonly begins between
the ages of 15 and 25. Although it strikes men and women equally, the
symptoms may appear later in women than in men. Very rarely, the
symptoms of schizophrenia can appear before the age of 12. Childhood
schizophrenia has a more chronic disease course and involves poor early
language development. People with schizophrenia can have a variety of
symptoms. Sometimes, these symptoms come on suddenly. Usually, though,
the illness develops slowly over months or even years. At first, the symptoms
may not be noticed or may be confused with those of other conditions. For
example, people with schizophrenia may feel tense, be unable to concentrate,
or have trouble sleeping. They often become increasingly isolated and
withdrawn as their grip on reality loosens. They do not make or keep friends.
They may stop caring about the way they look. Dropping out of school or
doing badly at work are other early signs of schizophrenia. As the illness
progresses, symptoms of psychosis develop. The person starts to act
strangely and talk nonsensically. People with schizophrenia may develop
paranoid delusions. Examples of this would be that they might see, feel, smell,
or hear things that are not really there. They may have physical symptoms,
like frowning or unusual movements, and may stand or sit in strange positions.
Some people become almost motionless. Others move around constantly.
The severity of symptoms will vary from one person to another. The
symptoms also tend to worsen and improve. When the symptoms are
improved, the person may appear to behave relatively normally, but usually
there will be repeated episodes of the illness that will cause symptoms to
reappear. Schizophrenia is a complex and puzzling illness. Even the experts
are not sure exactly what causes it. Some doctors think that the brain may not
be able to process information correctly. People without schizophrenia
usually can filter out unneeded information: for example, the sound of a train
whistle in the background or a dog barking next door. People with
schizophrenia, however, cannot always filter out this extra information. One
possible cause of schizophrenia may be heredity, or genetics. Experts think
that some people inherit a tendency to schizophrenia. In fact, the disorder
tends to "run" in families, but only among blood relatives. People who have
family members with schizophrenia may be more likely to get the disease
themselves. If both biologic parents have schizophrenia, there is nearly a 40%
chance that their child will get it, too. This happens even if the child is
adopted and raised by mentally healthy adults. In people who have an
identical twin with schizophrenia, the chance of schizophrenia developing is
almost 50%. In contrast, children whose biological parents are mentally
healthy â“ even if their adoptive parents have schizophrenia â“ have about a
1% chance of getting the disease. That is about the same risk as for the
general population of the United States. Some researchers believe that events
in a person"s environment trigger schizophrenia. Some studies have shown
that influenza infection or improper nutrition during pregnancy and
complications during birth may increase the risk that the baby will develop
schizophrenia later in life. Many believe that schizophrenia is likely caused by
a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors. Certain people
are born with a tendency to develop the disease. But the disease only
appears if these people are exposed to unusual stresses or traumas.
Schizophrenia is usually treated with antipsychotic medication. Some people
with schizophrenia also benefit from counseling and rehabilitation. They may
need to go to the hospital during an acute attack. The goal of treatment is to
reduce symptoms during acute attacks and to help prevent relapses. At this
time, there is no cure for schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications are very
effective in controlling the symptoms of schizophrenia. These medications first
became available in the mid-1950"s. They have greatly improved the lives of
thousands of people. Before that time, people with schizophrenia spent most
of their lives in crowded hospitals. With antipsychotic medication, however,
many people with schizophrenia are able to live in the outside world. Because
each person with schizophrenia has a unique mix of symptoms, no single
medication works best for all people. The ideal medication for one person
may not be the best choice for another. Although antipsychotic medications
do not cure the disease, they can reduce hallucinations and delusions and help
people with schizophrenia regain their grip on reality. Medication also
reduces the risk of they symptoms returning. If the person does have a
relapse of symptoms, medications may make the symptoms less severe.
People with schizophrenia can have a hard time communicating with other
people and carrying out ordinary tasks. Counseling and rehabilitation can help
people with schizophrenia build the skills they need to function outside the
sheltered setting of a hospital. However, these treatments are not very helpful
during acute attacks. Rehabilitation programs may help people with
schizophrenia develop skills such as money management, cooking, and
personal grooming, for example, needed for ordinary life. They may also
prepare the person to go or return to work. Individual psychotherapy may
help person with schizophrenia learn to sort out the real from the unreal.
Group therapy may help them learn to get along with others. Self-help groups
may help persons with schizophrenia feel that others share their problems.
The best way to prevent relapses is to continue to take the prescribed
medication. People with schizophrenia may stop taking their medications for
several reasons. Side effects are one of the most important reasons that
people with schizophrenia stop taking their medication. It is hard for people
to put up with unpleasant side effects for months or years. It is especially hard
when the person feels well. It is very important to find the medication that
controls symptoms without causing side effects. Convenience is also
important. Some medications need to be taken two, three, or even four times
a day. Others may be taken just once a day. People are more likely to
remember to take a medication once a day than several times a day. Some
people profer to get injections every month of long-lasting medication. Taking
medications regularly is the best way to prevent repeated illness and
Word Count: 1135
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