Imagine, for instance, that one day you were running from bullies and, unknowingly, ran past a football scout who, noticing your amazing speed, gave you a scholarship to play college football.
The movie begins with Forrest sitting at a bus stop. The audience listens to the things Forrest has accomplished in his life and attaches deeper meaning to them in regard to what they teach us about success, social perceptions, and life in general. Eventually, you’ll have a list of topics to choose from when you sit down to put fingers to keyboard.
As various people come and go, Forrest recalls the story of his life. If you were to combine Forrest’s narration with the audience’s contemplation, you’d get the movie version of a reflective essay. This means there won’t be any lengthy research attached to a reflective writing assignment (yay! Instead, you will be asked to describe a part of your life and reflect on what you learned from it. You could focus on an experience, a personality trait, or an important person you’ve met who has influenced you in some way. Piece of cake.”However, it’s precisely this sense of freedom that can get you in trouble. I can hear you saying to yourself, “I don’t even know where to start thinking.” Don’t worry. When brainstorming reflective essay topics, keep the following questions in mind.
They can help you produce writing that is more analytical and that goes beyond descriptively recording what happened.
Whichever cycle is used there are often three main elements.
The first and, perhaps, most important step in a reflective writing assignment is choosing the right topic. More on this in a bit, but just keep in mind that an experience lacking in any type of lesson learned is not going to work for a reflective essay.
Choosing the wrong topic can lead to that nightmarish moment when, after trudging through a difficult first draft, you realize that you may have to start over. The tendency is to play it safe when writing an essay that involves a personal topic.
However, in most reflections the reader will expect to learn about your personal experience, feelings, ideas and opinions.
You may also reflect on and cite sources from your coursework.
Instead, reflective writing requires you to describe, analyse and evaluate.
Describing, analysing and evaluating experiences enables you to develop new insights and perspectives.