Reflective Essay On Myself

Reflection Essay — 1000-1250 words; include multiple links to examples from your workspace and quote yourself liberally in order to support your points.

Generative writing prompts — pick a few and reflect deeply, meaningfully, and honestly:

  • Is “good writing” a matter only of mechanics and grammar — “error-free” writing — or is it a reflection of rigorous, critical, and reflective thinking?
  • How, when, and where did I challenge myself intellectually — where did I really stretch myself — in this class?
  • Words matter. “Hispanic.” “Society.” Don’t words matter? 
  • Are you a self-regulating learner? Yes? No? Don’t know? How do you think your answer to that question informs your self-perception of yourself as a writer?
  • Are you a bullshitter?
  • Theorize yourself as a writer: what kind of writer are you?
  • Give examples of what should’ve happened vs. what actually happened
  • Quote yourself and your work: “For example, in my Op-Ed Essay …” and link to it
  • What’s in your self-editing toolkit?
  • Your experience with the NYT
  • Did your remix help you clarify anything or accomplish anything that you did not initially anticipate when we first started the remix projects? Were you able to accomplish something with your remix that you could not have accomplished with an essay or Op-Ed? Or did you learn anything from your classmates’ remix projects?

I theorize I am a thoughtful, considerate writer, always taking the necessary time make sure my writing accurately achieves whatever I’m trying to say. However, as I’ve participated in this course, I realize that the expression of my thoughtfulness and consideration has begun to transform from what it looked like during high school.  During those years, my sole purpose in writing was to successfully respond to the task at hand.  For example, when writing an essay I would stress for hours trying to “write the correct answer,” or whatever would generate a good response from the teacher.  I thought writing was a difficult, strenuous process because I always wanted my words to present the perfect analysis.  Though I did regard my individual feelings and opinions in writing, my primary focus was to engage my thoughts in a way that would be deemed right by my teacher.

I brought this goal of perfection with me the first quarter of freshman year.  In the essays I had to write in the fall, I continued my practice of working for hours on a single writing assignment.  I could not miss any of the facts; I needed to be sure to include everything that would make for a strong, nearly perfect essay.

Mears, Ashley. “Who Runs the Girls?” The New York Times 20 Sept. 2014: 9. Print.

Within this article the author suggests that women are content with being exploited due to their looks in a way that could almost be considered “consensual trafficking”. The author gives examples that show how women are being used as a business, coining terms that are generally used when talking about economics, as if the women are just things to use and sell. Mears uses a personal story as well as other women’s stories to show how they are being used in order to make money. The audience this article could strike would be women who could be in this situations where they are being used for their looks; perhaps the author wishes to change these girls.

Then I began WRD103.  Before I started writing for this course, I was expecting the classwork to involve lots of time reading and writing—after all, my past writing experiences involved countless hours of dedicated mental labor.  However, as I participated in the class, I realized that writing is not meant to be strenuous.  Instead of focusing on the demonstration of my knowledge, which takes great effort, I’ve learned that writing actually functions as artful communication.  My academic knowledge is not the focus, but rather the cleverly crafted communication of my knowledge takes the stage.

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As I’ve gained understanding on this purpose of writing, my thoughtfulness and consideration have taken on a new role.  Now, I theorize myself as a thoughtful writer in that I deliberately explore many ideas and honestly communicate both my ideological conclusions and questions.  As a considerate writer I continue to pursue perfection in my writing, but not as I once did.  Now, I no longer devote my mind to painstaking effort in writing to be correct, but I carefully consider the words and ideas I communicate as I strive for the subjective perfection found in a work of art: a beautiful, faultless existence just as it is.

I would have never known to think of my writing with artistic perfection in my past writing experiences, but this view of mine came to be through my investment of perplexity and critical thinking during this course.  My understanding of writing first began its change on day 1 of class when Professor Moore encouraged our class to read the New York Times daily and freely and openly record our responses to the readings in our journals.   As I wrote in my journal for the first time, I experienced writing not as academic work but as an opportunity to candidly express my individual ponderings of that time.

[P] Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. [I] Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. [E] Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit.

Our first writing assignment in class was a summary of a NYT article.  My work on this assignment clearly demonstrates the how my thoughtfulness and consideration began to transform throughout the course.  While writing the first draft of the summary, I spent about 40 minutes trying to write a perfect analysis, which was far too long considering I only needed to write about four sentences.  The second draft, on the other hand, my first rhetorical précis, not only took less time, but as I wrote it I also had the opportunity to replace my tedious mental work with critical thinking by examining the article for both the obvious and the unstated objectives.

After our class wrote enough rhetorical précis so that we were familiar with the thinking necessary for successful writing, we moved on to writing rhetorical analyses.  While working on this assignment my thoughtfulness and consideration greatly developed through my investment in perplexity and critical thinking.  In order to accurately understand what the writers were trying to convey I needed to ask questions about their words and their argument, and then I needed to determine the effect of the writers’ rhetorical decisions.  Using this thought process I was able to apply my mind in fully understanding and communicating the value of a piece of writing.

While writing my second essay in this course, the op-ed essay, I largely invested my thoughts in perplexity.  My argument in this assignment was not meant to draw the audience toward my own view but rather to encourage readers to identify with my personal inquiry.  My strategies in writing my op-ed included honestly pursuing my own uncertainty while logically considering the most effective expression of my thoughts.  Writing this essay allowed me to both consider writing for an audience and writing for my own intellectual gain.

Reflecting on my positive experience in WRD103, I can easily see how I’ve grown both as a writer and a thinker.  My development does not stop here though.  During the past ten weeks I have just taken the first steps as an intellectually engaged writer; as I continue to write, whether for academic essays, musical reflections, or personal thinking, the qualities of writing I’ve developed will continue to grow and influence my thoughts.  Writing in WRD103 is only the beginning of what I hope to be a fantastic experience for the development my personal ideas and educational aspirations.

Reflecting on my positive experience in WRD103, I can easily see how I’ve grown both as a writer and a thinker.  My development does not stop here though.  During the past ten weeks I have just taken the first steps as an intellectually engaged writer; as I continue to write, whether for academic essays, musical reflections, or personal thinking, the qualities of writing I’ve developed will continue to grow and influence my thoughts.  Writing in WRD103 is only the beginning of what I hope to be a fantastic experience for the development my personal ideas and educational aspirations.

Your instructor just told you that your next writing assignment will be a reflective essay.

Reflective essays are about you, so you go home and take a good long look in the mirror.

Before you start writing about what you see on the surface, keep in mind that a reflective essay involves more than just a cursory glance. It requires taking a deeper look at yourself, stepping through the looking glass, so to speak, to discover and show important parts of yourself to your readers.

Image by sammydavisdog via flickr

Below, I’ll show you how to create a killer reflective essay outline, and I’ll even give you a downloadable template you can use to make your own outline.

What Is a Reflective Essay and How Is It Different from Other Essays?

So you may be asking yourself what a reflective essay is exactly. You’ve written many other types of essays for many different classes, so how is this any different?

First things first… a reflective essay is one in which you reflect on your personality, places you’ve been, people you’ve met, or experiences that have influenced you. This type of essay lets you tell the reader who you are and what/who has made you that way.

Unlike most other types of essays you may have written, reflective essays typically don’t deal with researching facts and figures. They are much more personal in nature and can be more fluid in structure and style.

It can be tempting to just jump right into writing, but hold on! A good reflective essay can be a great reflective essay with the proper planning.

Using a Reflective Essay Outline to Organize Your Thoughts

The goal of any essay is to write clearly and concisely about whatever topic you choose or are assigned. Unfortunately, with reflective essays, some people tend to get a little disorganized and start sounding like the Walrus, talking about anything and everything in no particular order.

Don’t be like the Walrus!

Using a reflective essay outline can help your writing in a few ways

  • An outline can help lay out exactly what details you want to use before you start writing. This is tremendously helpful because you won’t end up on your last paragraph and suddenly realize that you forgot to include a crucial element or two.
  • An outline gives you a clear roadmap instead of curvy paths and dead ends. You don’t have to wonder what’s supposed to come next because it’ll all be in the outline. In other words, you won’t have to spend time “in Wonderland.”
  • Because you can look at your reflective essay outline and follow it as you’re writing, ultimately you’ll save some time in your writing. Second-guessing what comes next, in what order the supporting details should go, or going back for big revisions because you forgot something important are all wastes of time.

Are you convinced yet that creating a reflective essay outline is the best option?

Good! Now let’s get to actually making that outline!

How to Craft a Good Reflective Essay Outline

Because the subject of reflective essays is different from that of, say, an argumentative essay, the structure and organization can also be quite different. However, some rules still apply. To start organizing, your reflective essay outline should include sections for the introduction, body and conclusion.

For the purposes of giving examples, let’s say Alice just got back from her adventures in Wonderland and is working on a reflective essay outline to tell about her experience there.

Image by Jessie Wilcox Smith via Wikimedia Commons

Introduction

As with any essay, your reflective essay should begin with an introduction. The parts of your introduction to include in your outline are:

  • The hook: you want to grab your reader’s attention from the very start. If you’re telling about an experience, give a quick preview of the most exciting part of that story.
  • The thesis statement: In a reflective essay, the thesis statement will usually include a brief statement of what your essay is about as well as how the specific person, place, or experience has influenced you. You will expand on this later, so don’t give away too much in the beginning.

Alice’s introduction might go something like this:

I don’t know how I had gotten myself into such a mess, but I found myself running down a seemingly endless path with the Red Queen’s entire court shouting, “Off with her head!” I had long yearned for adventure and excitement, but my time in Wonderland made me realize that adventure comes with some serious risks.

Body

The next part of your outline is perhaps the most important. Without your reflective essay outline, the body can get muddled and confusing. I can’t tell you exactly how to organize the body of your essay because every essay is going to be different. However, I do have a couple of tips.

  • If you are writing about an experience or an event, use a chronology that makes sense. It doesn’t have to be completely linear, but if you jump around in the timeline too much, it can confuse both you and the reader. Laying out the important parts in the outline will help you figure out in what order to put everything.
  • No matter what you’re writing your reflective essay about–an experience, person or place–you should include the impact it has madeand what, if anything, you learned. This should be at least as long of a section as the description of the event, person or place. It’s what shows off who you are and it’s what the reader will be most interested in.

The body paragraphs of Alice’s reflective outline may look something like this:

  1. Following the white rabbit down the rabbit hole
    1. Description of what happened
    2. Learning to look before I leap
  2. Meeting the Caterpillar
    1. Description of what happened
    2. I learned how to control my size
    3. I started to realize just how strange the people were in Wonderland
  3. Mad Tea Party
    1. Description of what happened
    2. Although a lot of fun, the tea party was very stressful
    3. The people I met were progressively crazier
  4. Croquet with the Red Queen
    1. Description of what happened
    2. It’s very hard to play croquet when the other person is cheating and threatening to behead you
    3. It was at this point when I realized that Wonderland had no rules, and that a world without rules is insane

As you can see, Alice’s timeline includes different events within the entire experience and with a moment of reflection on each. The final lesson learned is the epiphany–the aha! moment.

Your outline does not have to look just like this. It could be a summary of the entire experience, followed by what you learned from it. Like I said, every essay is different.

Conclusion

The conclusion of your reflective essay should be the finishing touch that brings the whole piece of writing together nicely. Include a brief summary of your main points (as stated in the body paragraphs), as well as the overall takeaway from your reflection.

For example, Alice’s conclusion would be similar to this:

The White Rabbit, Caterpillar, Mad Hatter, and the Red Queen are certainly faces that I’ll never forget. They each contributed to the sheer madness of Wonderland. But those people–that madness–made me thankful for the peace and security of my own home and family and its rules.

More Resources to Help with Your Reflective Essay Outline

I hope you have a better understanding of why and how to draft a good outline. To give you a bit of extra help, here’s a downloadable reflective essay outline template.

Reflective Essay Outline Template.

This outline template follows a 5-paragraph format, but you can add paragraphs and rearrange the body paragraphs to fit your needs. Just fill in the blanks with your own information, and you’ll be one step closer to a stellar essay.

Need more inspiration? Check out these reflective essay examples.

If you’re looking for topic ideas, check out 15 Reflective Essay Topics to Inspire Your Next Paper.

Good luck!

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