How to write a Reflection Essay
The reflection essay is essentially a personal opinion on a given topic, almost like a journal entry, but towards a specific audience of readers. When you write a reflection essay, you are divulging part of yourself and your personality to everyone who reads it, and although it may seem a more personal essay would be easier to write, a lot of students find it much harder and longer to do than a traditional research paper.
Where Do I Start?
Where every paper does: the outline. Even if you are the type who hates to outline or doesn’t need to, you really will want to have some kind of initial outline because it makes writing a reflection essay that much easier. Just take some time to think about the subject matter, or topic of your reflection essay, and ask yourself a few questions. Write down each answer in detail, milking each for all the ideas you can come up with.
- How does this topic affect me, personally?
- If it doesn’t affect me, why not?
- How do I feel about it, in general?
- How might it affect other people?
Once you have that list created, you can start mapping out your essay. Take the strongest answer from your list for a thesis statement, of sorts, one that encompasses everything you want to say in your essay, and start building an introductory paragraph around this statement. Introduce the topic in an engaging way, your position on it, your thesis, and what you are going to talk about in this essay.
All the Rest
Next are your body paragraphs. For these, think about 3 or 4 main things that you want to comment on related to the topic. These might be about how the topic affects you or others, or how it doesn’t affect you or others, or how the world might be without it, or most importantly, how you think and feel about it on a personal level. This is, after all, a personal reflection essay where you get to reflect on a topic.
For your conclusion, simply take parts of your introduction, the meatiest sentences of your body paragraphs, and summarize that. Then, end off with an interesting quote, or a question. Maybe you can include a challenge to your readers asking them to reflect on the same topic, or how they might have handled that particular situation differently.