Reflection Essay

    Reflective thinking is a meaning-making process that analyzes a specific memory in order to understand oneself, morality, and the human condition.  A reflection is more than a retelling of an event.  A reflection is an examination of that event in memory.  If memory forms identity, reflection enables self-realization.  Everyone has memories that continually stick out.  These memories, in some ways, are the sources of significance.  One may not like what he or she discovers, but through such discovers one becomes a better human being.


                First, tell the story of an event.

                Second, analyze the event.

                Third, state and explain the moral or the fact about human condition or the fact about yourself.  More often than not, a fact about oneself is also a fact about the human condition.

                Fourth, take that moral or fact and make it your thesis statement.  Go to the beginning of your essay, insert your thesis, and write an opening paragraph around it.  The paragraph should broadly contextualize the thesis statement.


                Reflections need not be specific to an individual experience.  Writing about the time a bully pushed you off a swing, for example, is fine for reflection.  Much like old folk remember Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy Assassination, I remember 9/11.  I remember where I was, I remember a sky without airplanes, and I remember the national mood at the end of the day.  The event is not as direct as falling off a swing, but it is certainly grounds for reflection.  Feel free to reflect on indirect experiences, American experiences, and human experiences like landing on the moon.  Do notI say do notwrite about your entire childhood.  Write on one specific event.  Keep the essay PG-13 or lighter.

                Technical Requirements

    MLA formatting
    Two to three pages
    What Ill be looking for:

    Clear, concise, and precise sentences with strong yet accurate verbs.

    One thought per sentence.

    One developed idea per paragraph.

    An interesting and insightful analysis.

    An interesting and original moral or fact derived from the reflection.

    The absence of the following words: very, really, truly, actually, only, just, ever, never, all, seem, how, way, [and] also.  Also, do not use the word being unless it follows the word human.

    Dont use second person.

    The absence of passive voice. E.g., B is done by A.  Write instead A does B.

    The absence of verbs of being.  E.g., She is sitting on the ground She sits on the ground.

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