Is this your first time to write a reflection paper? You may have little or no idea how a reflection paper should be like. A reflection essay is normally about a personal experience and a lesson or realization from it. It is a personal account of what you think and feel during and after that experience. There is no specific format in the sense that you are to decide what to write and how to write it. However, writing seems to be difficult for most people so here’s a reflection paper format to serve as a guide.
Introduction: Present and Give Readers an Idea
The reflection paper should open by giving the readers an idea what to write about. Make the introduction interesting by involving readers. Make sure that it prepares the readers on what they are going to ready. Describe the experience in a sentence and the effect of it in your life without giving it all away. You want the reader to keep reading until the conclusion.
Body of the Essay: Experiences and Basis of Your Conclusion
The body will contain the experience. There is no specific reflection paper format for the body but you may consider describing the experience. Where did it happen? Use adjectives to describe what you saw but also what you heard, smelled, felt, etc. What you were thinking that time would also help. The body could also be a narrative. Narrate what happened concisely.
The body should also have the effects of the incident. It could be an effect on your personality or an effect to your entire family or group of friends. Answer this question in details: What changed after that experience?
It is also in the body where your realizations or reflection should be written. The realization should be about your thoughts. It should be easy since there is no researching unlike when you are writing an informative essay. The realization may be based on the effects. It may also include whether you think the effects of the incident is good or bad. It may also include what could be worse or better that happened. It may also be about the lessons you learned or from which readers could learn. You may also discuss the benefits you got or what you have lost because of that particular experience.
Conclusion: Sum It Up
There is no rule but every reflection paper format suggests that you write a conclusion that sums up everything you write. Finish it with a summary of your experience, realizations and thoughts. Don’t rely on facts. It is best to finish the essay with your own thoughts. In fact, this is what makes reflection paper different and easier to write compared with other types of essay.
Below we offer two examples of thoughtful reflective essays that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at California State University Channel Islands (CI). 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.
View the examples
View Sample Reflective Essay #1
View Sample Reflective Essay #2
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