Below we offer an example of a thoughtful reflective essay 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 CI Code of Conduct.
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Sample Reflective Essay #2
Author: Nekisa Mahzad
I have been a student at California State University Channel Islands (CI) for 5 semesters, and over the course of my stay I have grown and learned more that I thought possible. I came to this school from Moorpark Community College already knowing that I wanted to be an English teacher; I had taken numerous English courses and though I knew exactly what I was headed for-was I ever wrong. Going through the English program has taught me so much more than stuff about literature and language, it has taught me how to be me. I have learned here how to write and express myself, how to think for myself, and how to find the answers to the things that I don't know. Most importantly I have learned how important literature and language are.
When I started at CI, I thought I was going to spend the next 3 years reading classics, discussing them and then writing about them. That was what I did in community college English courses, so I didn't think it would be much different here. On the surface, to an outsider, I am sure that this is what it appears that C.I. English majors do. In most all my classes I did read, discuss, and write papers; however, I quickly found out that that there was so much more to it. One specific experience I had while at C.I. really shows how integrated this learning is. Instead of writing a paper for my final project in Perspectives of Multicultural Literature (ENGL 449), I decided with a friend to venture to an Indian reservation and compare it to a book we read by Sherman Alexie. We had a great time and we learned so much more that we ever could have done from writing a paper. The opportunity to do that showed me that there are so many ways that one can learn that are both fun and educational.
The English courses also taught me how powerful the written word and language can be. Words tell so much more than a story. Stories tell about life and the human condition, they bring up the past and people and cultures that are long gone. Literature teaches about the self and the world surrounding the self. From these classes I learned about the world, its people and its history; through literature I learned how we as humans are all related. By writing about what we learn and/or what we believe, we are learning how to express ourselves.
I know that my ability to write and express my ideas, thoughts and knowledge has grown stronger each semester. I have always struggled to put my thoughts on paper in a manner that is coherent and correct according to assignments. I can remember being told numerous times in community college to "organize your thoughts" or "provide more support and examples". These are the things that I have worked on and improved over the past couple of years and I feel that my work shows this. The papers I wrote when I first started here at C.I. were bland and short. In these early papers, I would just restate what we learned in class and what I had found in my research. I did not formulate my own ideas and support them with the works of others. The classes I have taken the past couple semesters have really help me shed that bad habit and write better papers with better ideas. I have learned how to write various styles of papers in different forms and different fields. I feel confident that I could write a paper about most anything and know how to cite and format it properly.
There are a couple of things that I do feel I lack the confidence and skill to perform, and that is what I hope to gain from participating in Capstone. I am scared to teach because I don't know how to share my knowledge with others-students who may have no idea what I am talking about. I hope to learn more about how teachers share their knowledge as part of my Capstone project.
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Careers in English and Writing
The English program at California State University Channel Islands prepares students for a wide range of exciting and rewarding careers, including:
- English teacher
- Social media strategist
- Media production (film, TV, internet)
- Print and digital publishing
- Corporate communications
- Foreign service
- Human resources
- Foundations/non-profit management
Learn more about CI's English Program
These tips are provided by Louise from writemyessay4me.com – custom research papers, essays and dissertations writing service.
Many people find it difficult to write a personal reflection essay or an essay in general. The reason could be that they are not used to writing or they don’t know what exactly to write. Here are seven tips to writing a reflection essay that should help you write without difficulty.
If you find writing an essay one of the most difficult things to do, you should never skip the planning stage. It should include brainstorming. Unless you already have something to reflect about, the following are some topics for a reflection essay:
- A memorable or unique childhood experience
- Your best, worst, happiest, saddest, scariest, etc. experience
- An experience that changed you or your family
Make an Outline
It is time to move to making an outline if you already have an idea on what to write. One of the effective ways to make writing easier is to have an outline. List down what you want to tackle. Sometimes, you want to be more specific in one aspect or two. Be sure that related thoughts are grouped together. It is also through the outline that you will have an idea on the flow of your essay. Normally, the flow could be from general to specific or from cause to effect. Your essay should have at least three main parts with each of them divided into several parts. An outline for a personal reflection essay should have these parts:
- Introduction, thesis, a paragraph that will involve your readers to your story
- Body of your essay that reveals more of your experience
- Description of your experience
- Thoughts or Feelings
- Discoveries or realization
Using “I” and Adjectives
Because you are writing a reflection essay, you should make sure that you use “I” or other first person pronouns when writing. However, not every sentence should start with them. You can put variations by describing the environment, people involved in that experience you are writing about, etc. Be as descriptive as possible. It shouldn’t be hard because it is a mere description of what happened. Think about your senses to describe the setting. Describe what you saw, heard, or felt. It is a great way to involve your readers and to make them understand better. You can do this by using enough adjectives to let the readers know how you feel or think during that day.
Forget About Facts, Think of the Effects
A reflection essay is probably one of the easiest to write because it is not about facts but about your experience or thoughts. However, you still have to keep the details of your experience true. Don’t invent. Don’t add something that didn’t happen just to make your essay more interesting.
Since it is a personal reflection essay, it should tell the readers the changes or effects of your experience. Usually, this type of essay would include realizations or a summary of how something or someone changed you.
Louise Ammentorp is a PhD candidate in Developmental Psychology, received her BA in Psychology and Art History from Rutgers University. In her dissertation writing project she explored the study of linguistic meditation and children’s understanding of conflict. Follow the updates on her most recent works here.