reflective essay examples

Top 5 Reflective Essay Examples

Reflective essays: Definition and purpose

This type of essay requires you to look back at an experience or issue and write about it. Reflective essays are sometimes called reflective pieces, personal reflections, self-reflective pieces, critical reflections, analytical essays, or papers. Reflective essays can be personal or academic. The following are reflective essay examples that deal with a variety of topics.

5 interesting reflective essays for you

Example 1

I gazed up at the seagull’s high-pitched cackle and breathed in the fresh sea air. Suddenly, I felt like I was back home. I took off my flip-flops and walked down into the familiar warm, smooth, white sand. At Lifeguard Station 37 on the beach in Carlsbad, California, I went back in time. Even though this was my first visit in six years, I could still recall the sounds, smells, and sights that brought me back when I lived in Carlsbad with my parents.

I went for a walk along the beach for just an hour. The majority of those I met were taking advantage of the day. Water bottles, coolers, and sand toys were scattered across the sand, with striped and flowered towels draped over them while they were wet. Along the coast, I saw little kids building sandcastles as their parents snapped photographs. Large numbers of people were bobbing up and down in the water, splashing one another as they played a game of “Marco Polo.” I watched as a few couples stretched out on towels. They didn’t seem to mind if their clothes got wet from the mist that surrounded them as the waves flowed over them.

In addition to those taking advantage of the day, I noticed many people. On the beach, I saw little kids building sandcastles as their parents snapped photographs. Along the coast, I saw couples stretching out on towels. They didn’t seem to mind if their clothes got wet from the mist that surrounded them as the waves flowed over them. Many people were bobbing up and down in the water, splashing one another as they played a game of “Marco Polo.”

As I strolled along the beach just at the water’s edge, the waves washed over my ankles. A group of surfers put on a fantastic display as one board was lifted into the air and then dropped on another. He surfaced, grabbed the board, and went back out again without worrying.

While I enjoy watching surfers, I’ve never had the desire to try it myself, but when I turned around to go back, something caught my attention. It appeared to be a parachute that was blowing on the sand as it came towards me. As it got closer, I heard a motor and recognized that it contained some propulsion system.

As I watched the sky, it was time to return. “Would you take a photo of all four of us, Mom?” the mother inquired while her family smiled at me. The photograph was taken; I waved goodbye as I returned, gathering a shell on the way. Before climbing back up to my vehicle, I had an inspiration. Right where I stood, I saw a rainbow that touched the sand. It was just the feeling of home.

My family and I had just arrived at Carlsbad beach. As we walked down to the water’s edge, I felt like I was back home. The warm sand between my toes brought me back to when I lived in Carlsbad with my parents.

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Example 2

My short life has had a lot of significant events, and there have been many that I consider life-changing. Every new experience was, at some period or another, the first experience in my life. For better or worse, each event has altered the direction my life has taken. However, the most significant moment in my life was the birth of my son.

It was the day after my twenty-first birthday, and I had just been told that a son, Jonathan, would be joining me in this world. After coming home from a night of celebrating with friends, I slowly drifted into sleep. Suddenly, at 3:30 A.M., sharp stomach pains woke me up. Filled with both fear and excitement, I slowly walked down the stairs to wake my parents. After a quick call to 911, an ambulance arrived shortly after and took me to the hospital.

Upon reaching the hospital’s maternity ward, I was greeted by a woman who began asking questions about how far apart my contractions were coming and what was going on. I quickly changed into a hospital gown, and before long, I was being hooked up to an IV with magnesium sulfate. The contractions began coming very rapidly now-every two minutes-as my doctor made her way down the hall.

Joel is a happy accident that my parents frequently discuss. When my mother discovered she was expecting, I was 13, and Jake was 10. We were a well-balanced, flawless family of four. In nearly every way, we neatly fit into the ideal category. Until the day my youngest sibling opened his beautiful blue eyes, we didn’t realize what we were missing.

I was disappointed that I would have another sibling. There was nothing more to add to our family, and my mother, who was 38 at the time, was regarded as high risk due to her age. The pregnancy itself had many issues, which sent my life on a rollercoaster-like loop that my 13-year-old mind struggled to understand.

My mother took me with her to the hospital on the day Joel was born rather than my father. It wasn’t a premeditated decision, but Jake and my father were feverish; I was the best alternative available. During each contraction, I grew a new appreciation for just how strong and powerful a woman can be in what is often considered one of the most vulnerable times in her life.

As soon as my new little brother was born, I understood two things almost simultaneously. First, you don’t realize how essential something is until it’s in your hands. Second, my life after this point would never be the same. When he wrapped his chubby little finger around mine, I knew exactly what they meant: “joy and love.”

Several distinct events in my life have had an impact on me as a person. However, the birth of my youngest brother was the most significant event in my life to date. Joel’s arrival was a game-changing moment, allowing me to view the world with fresh insights.

Example 3

Leadership is an essential attribute for everyone to possess! Being a leader rather than a follower will only benefit me in the future. My 4-H membership has given me self-confidence, team building, and public speaking abilities that will be helpful throughout my college years and “real life” afterward.

I have always loved learning, and when I was in the third grade, my teacher noticed how much I wanted to learn about animals. He set out to teach me all he could, but he handled a class of 30 people, and it wasn’t easy. When I started 4-H, delivering a speech at 4-H gatherings was frightening and intimidating, but I never let that stop me. I quickly found out that public speaking was not as hard as it seemed once you got into it.

My family has always been encouraging and kind to me when it comes to my 4-H projects. My parents’ assistance with my 4-H efforts and their advice has helped us develop a strong connection. They’ve been there for me every step of the way in 4-H. I was recently invited to give a presentation about my 4-H experience to the other 4-H’ers in my county. I was nervous at first, but I went through it anyway and got a lot of good feedback.

My family was supportive by listening to my speech and providing comments, as well as attending the Kiwanis banquet. It was nice to look around and see them in the audience after the event! Members of the Kiwanis praised me for what I had to say, and the organization now has a greater understanding of how vital 4-H is to today’s youth.

My 4-H experience has helped me with my leadership, organizational, and teamwork skills. I know that my time spent in 4-H will continue to be productive if I work hard and do the right thing. A quote that has influenced me throughout my life comes from Harvey Mackay: “Leadership is not magic. It’s hard work.” Although 4-H has taught me that being in a leadership role is not always easy, it is an experience that I would recommend to anyone with the desire to lead.

Example 4

In his book “Writing Tools,” author Mary Bucholtz claims that writing can express oneself effectively and efficiently in written forms. My love for writing began when I was still a child. It’s no surprise that I’ve always felt I excelled at written communication. The ability to properly communicate my thoughts and feelings through words and sentences allows me to feel most at home. I am inspired by great writers, and their work continues to provide me with the motivation I need to do my best in this world of writing.

Nowadays, with all the technologies available for communicating thoughts and feelings, people prefer texts or short messages to picking up pen and paper. As a result, some people have lost the art of writing. I find this unfortunate because writing is more than just a form of communication nowadays. Writing is about telling your story in a particular way that will impress you later, looking back on it, and realizing that even if you lose all material things in life, you still have your memories. As a result, I have grown to enjoy writing because it’s an experience that allows me to reflect on my past, present, and future.

I struggled mightily with learning how to manage my time. I’ve always been a procrastinator. However, on the first day of class, I recognized that I would need to change my thinking and approach to homework if I wanted to succeed. Although I could not entirely suppress my high school procrastination habit, I was able to suppress it while studying for exams. By doing so, I was able to get the best grades I had gotten all year.

The improvement in my study skills made me feel good about myself and boosted my self-esteem. As a result, I have been able to build on those improvements. Not only have I been able to improve my understanding and comprehension of the material, but I’ve also been able to increase the speed and amount of time I study for exams. Finally, with all these improvements in my head, it’s become easier to resist distractions when I want to get things done.

I figured I had a decent handle on creative expression and wordplay… until my professor handed me an A-minus. Looking at that stunning “D” on the paper caused me to realize I’d have to work harder and delve deeper into my writing if I wanted to produce something amazing. Not only did I improve my technical writing abilities, but I was able to create more creative pieces than I ever could have before.

This creative writing class pushed me to realize that there are no limits to the number of words one can express oneself. I learned how to explore every one of them to find perfection in my written words, and I also acquired new flexibility with my writing as a result of expanding my mind.

It’s impossible to express all the changes that this class has made in my work. However, during the eight weeks, we spent together, I grew more competent as a writer. My words aren’t only more profound and soulful; they’ve also entered a new domain that I didn’t realize was possible. I now have a solid foundation and an extensive vocabulary to work with, and I only expect my writing to improve as I continue my education.

Example 5

It’s no joke to recall one’s earliest experiences. We are not computers, and remembering the proper order of one’s memories is a difficult—if not impossible—task. Also, we are easily influenced by viewing media about our childhood and mistakenly believing it to be actual memories. I’ve seen my old tapes when I was three years old and believed they were memories. So, I was astonished when I started to find inconsistencies within my narrative—the story of my life that I’ve told myself over and over again.

This led me to wonder how accurate others’ narratives are. How much can we trust people’s recollections of their past? We all have our perspectives on our personal and national histories. It’s often difficult to uncover the truth when someone has a vested interest in maintaining their version of it. I was interested in learning about other people’s narratives but also wanted to explore my own. As a result, I started researching memory itself.

I was surprised by how much scientists don’t know about memory. Memory is one of the most basic processes in our brains, but there are still many mysteries surrounding it. For instance, how does it relate to the imagination? How much can one trust their memories? When my research culminated, I was able to see memory as a fascinating process that influences who we are and what we do every day.

To study memory, I had to recollect my memories. In doing so, I was able to realize how much outside sources can influence them. By exploring this realization in a paper, I think it’s possible to compare and contrast different people’s narratives and explore the concept of individual identity.

Now that you have seen some examples, here’s a list of what you should include in your reflective essay:

Title Page- A descriptive title for the piece, the date it was written, and the class or program it was created. (Example: Top 5 Lessons I Learned From The Creative Writing Program)

Thesis Statement- A sentence that states an idea that you will support in your reflection. (Example: This paper reflects on the lessons I have learned from my studies in this class.)

Body- The bulk of your piece; After writing out your thesis, make a list of the key ideas that you want to discuss further in each paragraph. (Each paragraph should address one idea)

Conclusion- After discussing your ideas, draw a conclusion that summarizes what you have learned or how this experience has changed you. (Example: I now feel more competent as a writer and look forward to taking on future projects.)

Reference Page- All works cited in your piece must be listed on the Reference/ Bibliography page before the Title Page. Each entry should list the author, title (in italics), year of publication (in parentheses), and the page number.

Reflection paper topics

There is a well of topics to choose from when writing a reflective essay. You have to jog your memory to get some ideas. In case that isn’t easy, here are some prompts to stimulate your mind.

Earliest memory

Death of a family member

The School of Life

Childhood memories

The power of the mind

Positive thinking

Paper airplane

Childhood development

Choo choo train

Home videos

First-grade class

Tips for writing a good reflective essay

1. Reflect on an event, and show how it affected you to become who you are

2. Think about why memory is important

3. Have a clear intro and conclusion

4. Do not try to make yourself seem better or worse than you are

5. Seek positive feedback

6. Cite sources when necessary, but not too much if it is outside of your knowledge

7. Make sure to have a thesis statement at the beginning of your essay, and make sure to restate it in the conclusion

8. Use transition words to provide flow throughout the writing process

9. Avoid making the reader see your experience as either good or bad, but instead seek to provide a balanced look at what happened

10. Do not write out in first-person point of view

Bottom Line

The five samples featured in this article are some of the best online. They are a great reference when writing your own reflective paper. Study then keenly and sharpen your writing skills by writing regularly, and you’ll be alright.

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