How to Write a Reflective Essay
A reflective essay is a piece of writing in which an author goes through their personal life experiences to either teach a training or give life advice. The writer usually starts from an initial point and progresses using thorough details from the event(s), eventually bringing out some sort of conclusion to the story. The author’s main task in such texts is to explain how those life experiences influenced them as a person, and how it changed their lives. To produce things clear, the goal of a reflective essay is to express how the progression of events influenced one’s thoughts and feelings about certain life events and what quality lessons they took away from those events!
Reflective Essay Outline
To help with the reflective essay format, a writer should choose between a topic and sentence outline. The difference between these is fairly simple. The sentence outline can only be stated in essay writing complete sentences and usually gives a more narrowed version of the topic. It also presents a glimpse of the theme that will be presented! Your topic outline, on the other hand, can be a phrase that gives a generalized version of your topic.
Examples of topic outlines:
- Family Problems
- Economic Problems
- Peer Problems
- World War 2
- American Revolution
Examples of sentence outlines:
- I haven’t spoken with my father in a while…
- My country has a foreign debt that is growing exponentially!
- My friend Rick has been bullying me for years.
- My father’s PTSD from World War 2 showed me a new piece of our unstable society.
- The Battle for Bunker Hill gave the first glimpse of American Patriotism!
Choose one or more events that have happened to you at some point in your life, and decide on which ones would be the most interesting to read about. Try to choose the one(s) that taught you the most life lessons and or ones that changed your mindset about that specific field. If you are having troubles choosing between two events, draw a Venn Diagram. This will help you compare and contrast them, and after figuring out which moments are the best ones for this job, it is time to start writing that essay! The main questions your topic should answer are how it affected your life and why.
Reflective Essay Topics
A reflective essay is without a doubt one of the only essays that (Learn about expository essay topics)This essay is all about you and your experiences. Here are some ideas that could potentially help you come up with a few good reflective essay topic examples.
- The emotional rush that came after you had your first kiss.
- The excitement and responsibility that came from getting your first dog.
- The first time you ever attended a high school house party.
- The work ethic you built from joining the varsity soccer team.
- When you overcame one of your deepest fears.
- How somebody changed your beliefs on a certain topic.
Reflective Essay Structure
Just like any other essay, the start of your reflective essay with an intriguing introduction. The intro should explain to the reader what your overall focus is on the paper. Give them a small little treat in the intro that will lead them to the big sweet donut which we call the body part of an essay. The body part of your essay explains to the reader how you changed and what you have learned after that certain life event. The conclusion sums up your findings and gives a overall closing statement!
A great example is ‘My first college frat party’.
‘This weekend my friends invited me to my first college frat party, and the things I saw and experienced were just unbelievable.’
That sentence up top is an amazing example of a captivating reflective essay introduction. In one sentence, you explained to the reader what you would be talking about and made it sound interesting. The first few sentences of your introduction should always contain a small glimpse of the big picture which you shall reveal in the body paragraph of the essay. The final sentence of the intro is the core point of your entire paper and is called the reflective essay thesis. In this sentence, you are clearly stating what effects came from the catalytic event and the overall significance of those changes. The thesis statement will be proven in the body paragraphs!
‘After the frat party I went to this weekend, it became evident that almost every other college student can’t handle a drink whatsoever.’
Up top, you will see a good body paragraph intro. The topic sentence of that paragraph already explains what you will be discussing in the paragraph. Just like in the introductory paragraph, 1st sentence in your body paragraphs should make the reader excited about reading the entire story. During the body paragraphs, make sure to give vivid detail and examples so as to give the essay real life features. In other words, put the reader into the story by giving relatable examples of situations and meticulously describing minor details. The more creative each sentence is and the more it captivates the reader having its literary style, the higher the excitement and interest level of the reader will be.
‘After looking back at that frat party experience, I have come to the conclusion that I will not support underage drinking.’
As you may know already, your conclusion is where you sum up everything you have been speaking about in your essay. Using the information and events described in the body paragraph, bring everything back to a final concluding point in which you briefly reinstate how the experiences regarding this event molded and shaped your body physically and or mentally. Lastly, you should inform the reader of your final opinion on the topic.
Reflective Essay Format
The format of reflective essays drastically differs when compared to other essays. Since a reflective essay is all about you and your personal life experiences, you can think of it as a diary entry. Reflective essay formatting is probably the only essay where you can avoid any normal academic writing style. Of course, not unless your teacher requires you to use MLA or APA format.
- You should use instances New Roman, 12 font and double spaced.
- 1′ margins.
- All of your titles must be centered.
- Top right part of every page includes your last name, the page number.
- The header on your paper needs to have your name, professor’s name, course number and the date.
- The last page must include a Works Cited.
Essay writing is a very common task completed by students in addition to all their other academic tasks. These types of academic papers branch into types and categories. There is no need to list all of them as we are going to speak about one of the most challenging, namely – a cause and effect essay. Its main difficulty lies in the fact that it requires the author to not only conduct research on the matter and state his opinion regarding the particular problem but also analyze the specific situation, evidence and events of a causal relationship.This assignment confuses most young people with all of its ‘excessive complexity’. However, not everything is as terrifying as it seems. In general, the primary idea of this task is the same, but the main aim of the task is to explain to the reader why certain situations or things are happening and explain what causes particular effects and consequences. The most important aspect of this type of work is to explain the relationship between the two events. In order to do this, a student must thoroughly understand the situation and provide arguments using researched and well thought out possibilities of the problem.
Learn how to properly write, structure and format a research paper
This article is aimed to help students handle this challenging task, so read on to find out how to write a cause and effect style with glamor!
Writing this type of essay requires meticulous preparation. Unlike some other academic works, this one cannot be randomly written based on the first available cause and effect essay example that you have come across on the Internet. Therefore, it is very important to conduct qualitative research and define the sequence of steps in the writing process. The preparation process of creating a cause and effect essay outline should be as follows:
- Do some research and choose a few interesting topics for your text. You should take advantage of modern technology and seek for a cause and effect essay topics list on the web, but keep in mind that you must view a clear link between the events or problem and its origins.
- Once you have several options to choose from, you should think thoroughly about each of them and eliminate the topics that seem uninteresting, too complex or too narrow to you.
- List all of your ideas. This will help you narrow down the topic.
- At the next stage, you must clearly define your goals and objectives and formulate the first thesis. If you are going to make a presentation of your work, you must consider your audience and how much they know about the subject.
- Distinguish the types of connections that you have. There are four basic types: the primary are the most important ones; cooperating – less important; direct and indirect causes and effects that are less obvious.
- Analyze all causes and consequences and the relationship that they have with each other.
Now you can start drafting the plan
An outline or draft is not just the basis of your work; it is an indicator of your ability to analyze and compile the information in a correct and logical order.Use the standard plan format:
- Introduction – one paragraph;
- The Body Paragraphs – Usually 2-4 paragraphs;
- Conclusion – one paragraph.
What must be included in the work:
- Start with a clear and concise thesis statement that introduces the subject and clearly states what you are trying to say about the causes and consequences that will be described in the paper. Let your reader understand the goals that you are pursuing.
- Provide a brief description of the problem or event that you have taken as the basis for the work; explain why you have chosen it and why it is topical and what you expect to get as the result of your study.
- Follow the proper order of providing arguments and examples ( from the least to most important ones).
- Use clear transitional words and phrases to ensure that readers could easily follow your ideas in the text.
- Explain the relationship between the causes and effects throughout your paper.
- Write a conclusion that sums up the ideas presented in work. Do not provide new ideas in conclusion. Rather, offer a overall concluding statement that explains the significance of your research!
The Final Stage: Writing
After you have prepared the materials and made a plan, it is time to start writing your work. Before you start writing, carefully review the plan to make sure that there are no contradictions, tautologies or errors. Then, all you have left is to write the paper following your outline.Quick tip: find a properly-written cause and effect essay example to see what you should get in result.
What not to do when writing an essay?
- Do not choose a very common or easy theme and do not write an essay that can be written by any other student. Most likely, the majority of your fellow students will do similar (and, most likely, they are already writing it at this very moment).
- Do not write about in way that will confuse the reader. To produce your work special and original you have to put a part of yourself into it, but you should try not to put the reader in an awkward position. Keep things up to universal standards!
- Don’t try to “sell” yourself. As opposed to trying to convince readers that you are wonderful and well versed in the subject, you must just show them who you are, and what is important to.
- Do not try to write ” revolutionary” work. If you try to write some ‘epoch-making’ statement on the issue in which you probably are not very experienced, you risk failing the task because your paper will look like plagiarized work. Unless it is truly a unique idea, keep things fairly simple!
- Do not attempt to write the perfect essay or one that has a huge impact. Instead, just try to share your thinking, ideas, and thoughts because this is exactly what essays are about! Also, keep in mind that you will have just a few pages to disclose the topic so you must choose the most important nuances that will embody the theme fully.
- You should use instances New Roman, 12 font and double spaced.
- 1′ margins.
- Have a header on top of every page.
- Make sure every page is numbered in the top right corner.
- Your essay must be divided into 4 key parts – Title page, Abstract, Main body and References.
Reflective Essay Rubric
A good reflective essay answers or shows the following:
The essay showed the reader the ‘big picture’ that you as an author tried to show. Focus on showing how your reflection of the event brought about new changes to your mentality or physicality!Your essay has an overall ‘Cause and Effect’ notion. Something happened to you, and from that experience, you have changed.You throughout the essay have shown the reader that you are capable of looking at your own actions from an outside perspective.Preferably have a super interesting reflective essay topic. It should be unique, something you won’t read or hear about often.
A bad reflective essay fails to answer or show the following:
The essay has failed to show the reader the author’s ‘big picture’.Your reflective essay does not have even the slightest hint of a Cause and Effect Essay.Throughout the essay, you have failed to show the reader that you are capable of looking at your own actions and decisions from another perspective.
At some point in time throughout high school and even college or university, we might find ourselves being asked to write about some critical lens essay quotes. Such assignments, as the name suggests, offer students the opportunity to utilize their analytical, reading, and writing skills in a controlled literary environment.
What is a Critical Lens Essay ?
We understand that it sounds confusing at the start, but we are here to help you and explain in detail how to write a critical lens essay step by step. This type of essay offers a critical opinion or perspective on a particular piece of material, which can be presented in the form of a quote or piece of art. The student or author is tasked with the literary work of analyzing a quote from a different source, and utilizing two literary sources, preferably books, to either support or oppose the quote. The writer does not necessarily need to be in support of the quote. It is imperative that the author understands that this is not just an average comparative or analytical essay. In this scenario, the essay writer and his or her analytical skills are measured through the final essay, by examining the value of the literary terms used in deconstructing the argument, their validity within the text as well as the appropriateness of the chosen literary devices. As such, the manner in which the student structures and outlays his or her critical lens essay example will either make or break the masterpiece. The task at hand in this scenario is often a lot more than just interpreting the given quote.
Goals of a Critical Lens Essay
This section is designed to give you an understanding of why such assignments might be given to you and what is ultimately expected of you as an end product. We understand that each lecturer may alter these tips that we are about to give you, but we believe that it is best to consult all possible tips when working on a critical lens essay.
The main goal of a critical lens analysis is for students to explore a variety of literary themes and elements when reading a well-known piece of work while utilizing a contextual lens so to speak. Essentially, students should be able to defend a central claim derived from the quote or text they are exploring. This is done by linking particular moments or events in the texts that fit the respective categories of the lens and match your initial argument.
Practical Applications of such Assignments
These types of exercises aim at improving students reading skills and also practice their analytical skills via the lens that is considered to be quite an advanced and compelling form of analysis. Ultimately the end goal of any assignment in this sphere is to create a cohesive argument regarding one’s position about a quote with the use of concrete examples from a multitude literary sources as to support why this standpoint is logical to you.The essay normally employs a theoretical quote or text as a lens through which a writer examines a particular piece of culture or art. However, it is possible to employ a non-theoretical piece as a lens as long as this is done in a theoretical manner. It is quite philosophical in nature and may result in interesting discoveries not almost the works being examined but also one’s self. Nonetheless, a writer’s expectations of a critical lens analysis may differ according to the complexity of the assigned text. Vital aspects to be included in most types of assignments will look to cover: the use of figurative language characterized by metaphors, similes, alliteration, symbolisms and various historical themes. Identifying and evaluating them effectively shows an understanding of the main idea behind your respective assignment, but do not be shy to explore unpopular standpoints as those could more often provide a much more interesting read for your lecturer than the same interpretation they have already read hundreds of times.
How Do I Approach This Type of Assignment?
Essentially, the student is being asked to assess the quote and then deliver judgment on whether it is substantial or not within the given circumstances. Although this may sound like a very simple task, the complexity exists in the ability to explain and express one’s point of view in a cohesive academic manner with supporting arguments. The literary knowledge of the student is also tested in this process, allowing the instructor to determine their ability to write a quality essay that explores a variety of literary tools and elements. The task can also allow the writer to be as creative as possible since one is given the opportunity to express his or her thoughts on the matter and apply critical thinking when explaining one’s interpretation to the readers. Many students choose to try and validate very opinionated points of view in these type of essays in an effort to leave a lasting impression on the reader, which some say is cliche but we have found that an honest opinion is always far more valued than trying to argue for something that you do not necessarily believe in. It is important to remember that when arguing for something you believe in it leaves more room for improvement since it interests you. Do not hesitate to present an unpopular point of view simply because it is not that well known or appreciated, on the contrary, that leaves you with more room to explore the controversy behind this particular point of view.
Some of the best advice we have come across is trying to envision such exercises as looking through the lens of a camera or a pair of glasses. a quote is merely a tool allowing us to bring in a sharper focus on the themes that the writer chose to highlight and explore with us. Such assessments offer various paths to interpret, analyze, and dive deeper into the text.
Tips and Tricks that are Easy To Remember
- The essay writer is required to use two literary sources to portray the underlying themes denoted by the quote. In essence, the essay makes use of quotations to analyze and explore works of literature. Generally, the contrasting quotes are given by the instructors. However, we have also encountered cases where the student was required to select the second literary source out of a list of different selections each offering different themes and comparisons. In such cases, it is best to have a firm grip and understanding of the initial quote of the assignment thus giving you the option to create the most compelling argument possible. For example, many choose to compare Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold with Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits. One cannot say that the two books are perfectly related, but due to their time settings and specific South American civil turmoil themes they often depict similar situations in which the protagonists and antagonists highlight important symbolisms in the lives of the locals. Successfully arranging all these elements in your critical lens essay template will allow the audience to actively participate and learn controversial facts about the content being presented to them.
- The final sentence of each paragraph should sum up the idea brought across by the writer in that particular paragraph. It is always advisable to draft the ideas in a separate place to have a clear outline and structure of the paragraph within the body. This helps the essay writer to organize the paper in such a way where the themes and elements are clearly structured in a logical manner. When doing so, you give your critical lens essay a smooth cursive flow that makes it much more enjoyable for the reader. Your audience can then grasp the concepts much easier from your text as they progress and understand the intended point of view. The body should follow the introductory paragraph to avoid displaying any confusion to the reader. a final analysis of the body should leave no further questions in a reader’s mind on whether or not the writer supports the quote. All the supporting elements should be explored within the body of the in a concise manner.
Let us have a look together at a common example in order to try and provide you with a practical understanding of what we are trying to substantiate. a quote from an anonymous speaker once said that, ‘Life is a journey of ups and downs.’ After stating the quote, the essay writer should interpret it in his or her words as explicitly as possible. In essence, the author is trying to prepare us for the motions that we go through in life having its happy moments and sad moments. Generally, when someone is trying to bring this contrast into perspective, they want us to understand the joy we find in these ups and downs. If life were a constant of just good or bad, we would not be able to appreciate and separate the moments, which would leave us without many of the actual joys of being alive. Simple terms should be used in the interpretation, where the writer passes on an explanatory version of the quote. In this example, the writer could use a simplified interpretation such as this: Life is full of bad moments and good moments. Due to the multitude of linguistic alternatives, it is very similar to creating a painting, meaning that it is up to the painter to choose the correct colors for his or her canvas.
Structure of a Critical Lens Essay
Before you start to worry and ask yourself how to write a critical lens essay outline and what should its structure should look like, remember that most essays follow the same basic format but with minute alterations.
Like in many other types of essays, we will begin our analysis with an introductory paragraph. In this section, the writer states the quote, which can also be referred to as the critical lens statement. This should be stated and copied word for word always including the quotation marks in order to draw the reader’s attention to it. The character or author of the quote should also be mentioned in the introduction. In the cases of anonymous authors, it is even more vital for it to be mentioned as well as this might be an indication that the specific quote at that time was considered taboo and perhaps it might still even be to this day.
The essay writer should then proceed to provide their personal analysis and interpretation on the quote. In essence whether or not they agree with it, their reaction to it when they encountered it as well as their understanding of its purpose in that particular era amongst many other things. Then they should explain the reason why they have chosen their particular standpoint towards the quote using well-structured sentences. This section should offer the readers a clear understanding and explanation as to why this viewpoint was logical in this particular critical lens essay format. Finally, the author, title, and genre of the books intended to be used by the writer in the essay should be provided. This includes stating the literary elements that the books offer in connection to the quote, as well as a detailed explanation of their relationship in order to highlight and support the respective chosen sources.
The next stage is the body of the essay, which could contain about four or more paragraphs or be split up into segments depending on the quantity of literary elements that the writer intends to explore. This portion of your critical lens essay should always provide a thesis statement paired with a detailed analysis of the elements in the literary works previously chosen by you stated in the previous paragraph. The writer should always use intricate examples correspondingly, that were extracted from the literary sources and use them in a creative way to display his understanding of the quote. Doing this effectively allows the reader to begin creating similar connections and thought process when analyzing the themes, symbols or perhaps the context of said quote.Each paragraph within the main body of your critical lens essay should begin with a topic sentence. Always keep in mind that this is the first sentence of the paragraph and is intended to draw the attention of the reader as to what will be the main purpose of this paragraph. It should always offer substantial information on the subject and try to cover all its aspects in the utmost of detail. Using new information about the subject in the conclusion is often looked down upon as it is considered that the essay writer did not cover it adequately in the body of their essay. An example of analysis should be similar to this: Michael, the protagonist of the play, is faced with a common conflict that confronts many people; the reasons behind his existence in this world. As he is the son of King, he must decide not only his future but that of his country. This sentence should be followed by one or more examples that are case specific and derived from the source. The details of the examples should be focused enough to back up your interpretation of the quote highlighted by your thesis.
The conclusion of your critical lens essay comes last but not least. Like in most conclusions the goal is to summarize the main ideas of your analysis and wrap it all up nicely. The essay writer should restate the quote, including the author‘s name and as previously mentioned, if the author is unknown, it should be noted. The quote should still appear in quotation marks as in the introductory paragraph. This part is just as important as the rest of the essay, as it is the game winning touchdown and demonstrates the writer understood the key aspects of his or her topic. However, remember that it is crucial never to add any new concepts and ideas here. This fact is very often stressed as it sometimes still is issue due to the vasts amounts of information available nowadays on the internet. But nevertheless, a conclusion’s main objective is to identify whether or not the writer agrees or disagrees with the quotation. Our last piece of advice is to always sum up the general content of your arguments from the previous paragraphs in concise sentences.