Below we offer an example of a thoughtful reflective essay that effectively and substantively captures the author's growth over time at CSUCI. We suggest that you write your own essay before reading either of these models-then, having completed your first draft, read these over to consider areas in your own background that you have not yet addressed and which may be relevant to your growth as a reader, writer, or thinker.
Any reference to either of these essays must be correctly cited and attributed; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a failing grade on the portfolio and possible other serious consequences as stated in the CSUCI Code of Conduct.
Scroll down for more examples!
Sample Reflective Essay #1
Author: Prefers to remain anonymous
As an English major I have learned to appreciate the peaceful, yet exhilarating moment when my mind engages with an author's thoughts on a page. As Toni Morrison says in The Dancing Mind , "[reading is] to experience one's own mind dancing with another's." In my early days as a college student, I wanted to know the "true" meaning of a work or what the author intended, however, I have now realized this would void literature of its most noteworthy complexities. Individual interpretations bring varied insights to a work and it is also interesting to point out messages the author may not have realized s/he included in the piece.
I have always been a thinker, but throughout my coursework, I have greatly sharpened my critical analysis skills. Instead of focusing on proposed meanings or biographical background, I have learned to continuously ask "why" on many different levels. I challenge myself to dig into a text as deeply as possible and unpack every detail to develop a satisfying close read. Also, by reading multiple novels by the same author I have learned to identify different writing styles and make connections that weave texts together; this helped me develop a deeper understanding of the novels. When I look at one of my freshman level novels and see clean pages, I realize that I did not actively read the book. I guess you could say that I have learned to read with a pen, which has drastically taken my writing to a new level because I am able to connect back with my initial insights marked on the page.
Writing had always been one of my strengths, but it was challenging to take that initial step past the high school, five-paragraph essay form that constricted my ideas for so long. Moving past this form, however, has greatly opened my mind. My thoughts are now able to be more complex because I have learned how to sustain a logical argument in an organized manner. My writing has become increasingly more concise and I no longer have room for added "fluff" or "padding." Another improvement is my ability to point out multiple complexities within a text, instead of sticking to one-sided arguments in my papers. Furthermore, learning how to find peer reviewed journal articles and order books through interlibrary loan has significantly widened the scope of my research, which has lead to more scholarly papers with credible references. My writing is so much more interesting than it used to be.
It is difficult to identify gaps in my knowledge as an English major, only because I feel like I have learned so much. I feel that I have largely expanded my literary analysis and writing skills, but I need to be prepared to teach high school students their required literature. I think it would be useful to identify commonly taught novels in our local high schools and study them myself. By studying the required literature and thinking about how to teach it, I will have a sturdy foundation to work from once I am in the classroom.
Want more examples?
View sample reflective essay #2
Visit CI's Student Writing Samples web page
Want to become a better writer?
CI's Student Writing web site has how-to videos, writing samples for different subjects, and support resources.
View CI's Student Writing site
Careers in English and Writing
The English program at California State University Channel Islands prepares students for a wide range of exciting and rewarding careers, including:
- English teacher
- Social media strategist
- Media production (film, TV, internet)
- Print and digital publishing
- Corporate communications
- Foreign service
- Human resources
- Foundations/non-profit management
Learn more about CI's English Program
This guest article is written by one of the Writemyessay4Me in-house writers, who specialize in writing of custom papers on academic topics.
Louise Ammentorp is a PhD candidate in Developmental Psychology, received her BA in Psychology and Art History from Rutgers University. In her dissertation writing project she explored the study of linguistic meditation and children’s understanding of conflict. Follow the updates on her most recent works here.
Most students will be required to submit a reflection paper once or twice in high school or college. But what is a reflection paper? Aside from writing in general is not easy for most people, it will be more difficult if you don’t know what you need to write.
Reflection Paper: What Is It?
A reflection paper is an essay of your thoughts about something that could be a movie, book, incident, etc. To put it simply, it is a paper on what you think about something. Most teachers would require students to write about a similar subject such as a reflection essay on this movie or that event. Others would give a general topic such as the best childhood experience.
Reflection Paper: What It’s Not
To ensure that you will write the right type of essay, it is also important that you know what it is not. For instance, a reflection paper is not a piece composed of mixed thoughts of other people. No matter how well known the people you will quote, you will end up with a failing grade as this type of essay requires your own thoughts.
What Should Be in the Reflection Paper?
To understand what is a reflection paper, knowing what should be in it might also help. A reflection paper should be mostly about your personal insights. It could be your experiences and beliefs. It could also be your personal observations. It is a simple reflection paper. It is easy to write because you just have to express your thoughts and how you see things.
To make it easy for you (considering that you already have a subject), you can start by describing the big picture in the introduction. There is no rule on how you should write the introduction but it is best to give them an idea – a general statement – that prepares them for the body of your reflection paper. Be sure to include your thesis statement in the introduction. It is the statement that sums up the entire essay.
Aside from the introduction and a narration or description of the subject, a reflection paper should also have a judgment, a conclusion, etc. It is usually in the latter part of the essay. Since it is a reflection essay, it should be your own words and how you exactly perceive things. It should state your personal insight, which makes it different from other types of essay.
What is a reflection paper? To put it simply, a reflection paper or essay is something that reflects your insights, opinion, or observation. You could quote once in a while but the essay should not be entirely what other people think about the subject. Like other types of essays, it should have an introduction (thesis statement), body and conclusion (judgment and summary).