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How to Write a Reflective Essay With Sample Essays

Reflective Essay: Samples and Tips for Writing a Reflective Essay

What Is a Reflective Essay?

Reflective essays begin by describing an event or experience and then analyzing its significance and what may be gathered from the experience. A reflective essay is one in which the author examines a past event through the lens of the present.

Reflective essays necessitate that the author be completely honest about their innermost feelings and ideas in order to convey their unique history, character, and personality features. A vivid summary and description of the experience should be provided to make the reader feel as though they, too, have been there. Include a description of your feelings, thoughts, and reactions as well.

A Reflective Paper: How Do You Organize It?

Like other types of essays, the structure of a reflective essay follows a familiar pattern. The following is a sample outline for a powerful reflective essay.

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Introductory Paragraph

Begin your essay with a brief description of what you’re going to be writing about and how it made you feel. The thesis statement, which will act as the main focus of your paper, should be included in your first paragraph.

This is an example of a thesis statement: “During my stroll along the beach, why did I feel so at peace? For some reason, the beach had always been a place of peace and serenity in my life.”

Body Paragraphs

1st body paragraph: Write about one of the reasons your subject matter left an impression. Then, explain why you think that way.

In a reflective essay, you are free to ponder your own thoughts. It’s impossible to have a right or wrong answer in an essay like this.

2nd body paragraph: You should reveal on the second reason why your subject affected you. Then, explain why.

3rd body paragraph: Describe in detail the third and final reason why your subject matter affected you in this way.


Restate your thesis and the supporting evidence you outlined in the body of your paper, if applicable. Close your article with some concluding comments and reflections about your topic.

Example of a Resolution: “As a thank you, I sent my friend “For Wendy” as well as a text message expressing my gratitude for her assistance in reassuring me that there are always areas for relaxation and renewal in our hectic schedules. For now, I’m hoping we can take Wendy on a trip to the beach together, and I’m looking for a way to help her get some time off.”

Is There a Right Way to Compose a Reflective Paper?

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Step-by-step directions for writing a reflective essay, also known as a reflective paper or a reflection paper, are provided below.

  1. Choose a Topic Idea

To begin the process of creating an excellent reflective essay, you must first select a topic.

For example, “I’m seeing my mother, who lives near the beach where I spent a lot of time as a child.”

  1. Study Your Subject

Close your eyes and recall, read, watch, listen, or envision your subject matter. Imagining or reliving your subject will help you remember it better.

Take this as an example: “Today, I went for a walk down the beach and took in the sights, sounds, and smells of the sand, sea, and breeze. Reflecting on earlier beach walks I’ve been on, I was filled with memories of previous vacations.”

  1. Brainstorm

Make a list of everything you know about your topic. You want to be as descriptive as possible, so consider scents, noises, and tastes in addition to what you see. Try to express these sensations in terms of vivid adjectives. Look up terms that describe what you’re trying to say. These can be written in full sentences or in short phrases, as desired. If you can, write down as much as you can. You’ll be able to make this into a paragraph later on.

For example: “As the waves wash in, I can hear their thunderous roar as they approach the shore. There was nothing but sound and motion on the beach as the waves rolled in and out. Despite the fact that each wave is distinct, they are all the same. The sun was obscured by a cloud that reflected its rays, allowing them to shine in every direction. The spray’s salty aroma was energising and revitalising. My toes slipped into the sand as the chilly foam of the wave’s edge brushed across them. I carried my sandals in one hand as I walked. I photographed the sand, the birds, and the waves, then embarrassedly shot a selfie against the waves.”

  1. Pick Reflection Questions

Select at least three questions from the following list to respond in your own words.

What did I find out?

What was my reaction to this?

Was there a reason why I felt this way?

In what ways was this special to me? What was it like for the people who were there? Why?

How has this impacted my life?

Is there anything I could have done differently that would have been more effective?

What am I supposed to make of this?

Is there any way this reminds me of something else I’ve gone through?

How can I put this to good use in the service of others?

What are the implications for the rest of my life of this event?

As a person, how often does this happen to me?

Was this a blessing or a curse in disguise?

Which events in the future were predicted by this experience?

Is my experience similar to or different from that of others?

Who taught me what?

What can I do with what I’ve learned?

What lessons can I learn from this experience that I can use to my academic work?

What advantages does this have for my professional life?

Was there anything about this event that tested my social skills?

What new insights into my own heritage have I gained as a result of reading this? or are you from another country?

Emotionally, what was the significance of this? or is it emotionally challenging?

Is there any connection between this experience and what I believe about God or religion?

What questions did I have as a result of this experience?

What alterations have been made to my thinking as a result?

How have I come to accept that someone else was correct?

How did this come as a surprise? How did this measure up to my standards?

Is it something I’d like to do again?

It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Specifically, how and why did this influence me and my life?

I’m not sure why I reacted the way I did to this.

For example: “Here’s what I came up with for my notes: What am I supposed to make of this? How was my life influenced by my time in this location?”

  1. Respond to the Issues You’ve Selected

After you’ve read through the questions, answer them. Don’t make this into an essay or a perfectly formed statement. It’s important to jot down as many thoughts as possible at this point.

Reflective Essay Topics:

You may already have an idea of what you want to write about based on the above topics. If not, here are some suggestions for a reflective essay topic or prompt.

Places You’ve Been

  • “The beach, mountains, countryside, city, or desert”
  • “A special hideaway or special room”
  • “The house you grew up in”
  • “A relative’s home”

Life-Altering Events

  • “A special date”
  • “Failing or succeeding at something”
  • “A time you learned something new”
  • “A new experience”
  • “A time you overcame one of your fears”
  • “An important memory”
  • “A significant conversation”

Recurring or Significant Thoughts

  • “A dream or daydream”
  • “A conversation you wish you had or something you wish you had done”
  • “A story you’ve told about yourself”
  • “An embarrassing moment”
  • “The person you’d like to be”
  • “A strong emotion”

Impactful Experiences

  • “A book, movie, T.V. show, song, play, or another form of media”
  • “Social media post”
  • “Magazine or article”
  • “A concert”
  • “A vacation”

Important People

  • “Your grandmother and/or grandfather, mom and/or dad, aunt and/or uncle, nephew and/or niece, or siblings”
  • “Your best friend’
  • “Someone who hurt you”
  • “A special teacher or life coach”

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