As any Arts major will tell you, reflective essays are the cornerstone of university humanities courses.Reflective essays are designed to deconstruct pastevents and analyze what can be learned from them. These essays can be used as a platform to discuss personal growth and development. While writing a great reflective essay can be a daunting task, this step-by-step reflective writing guide will to help you to turn in an assignment any professor will love.

Focus on the Format

Before you can start writing your essay, you need to decide what format your essay will follow. Traditional reflective essays focus completely on the past event being examined. Experience focused reflective essays allow the author to interpret the deeper emotional meanings behind experiences and reflect on how they have grown from them. You can think of experience focused essays as a therapy session on paper. If you’re taking a social sciences course, you can expect to see an experience focused essay in one form or another at some point throughout the semester.

The second type of reflective essay focuses on literature. Literature focused essays take the author’s discussion of their own experience and compareit to key points within literature. English and Critical Studies professors tend to be big fans of this type of essay, so take note if you find yourself in one of these courses. Literature focused essays use the author’s experiences as a lens with which to view an analysis of text.As the name suggests, the discussion of your experience should not be the central point of the essay.Any event you choose to talk about should serve only as a vehicle to highlight important themes within literature.If you are struggling to come up with an outline for your essay,compare and contrast you own life events with evens in the text.

Choosing a Topic

Reflective essays should focus on a significant event from your life, or another event that is closely tied to you or the text you are working with. Your essay should talk about how this event shaped your life or the world around you and should relate back tomotifs in the course or text. Remember, if you can’t think of any events real events to write about, it’s perfectly acceptable to get creative and make something up,as long as it relates to themes discussed in your essay.

Getting Ready to Write

The most important thing to remember is that a reflective essay is just that, a reflection. Before you start outlining your essay, make sure you have a good handle on the text you are writing on andthe themesyou plan to discuss. If you’re unsure, creating an outline of key ideas is a great place to start. Lastly, this is an essay about your life after all, so remember to be honest in your writing. Keep this in mind and you should be well on your way to writing an excellent reflective essay.