How to Write a Personal Reflection

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How to Write a Personal Reflection

Many assignments require a student to write about the views and feelings of others, so it can be strange and feel unfamiliar when you are asked to write a personal reflection for an assignment. If you are unsure how to write a personal reflection on an assignment, read on for advice, guidance, and useful tips!

What is a Personal Reflection?

A Personal reflection is an emotional reaction to a specific stimulus which is often written to examine personal feelings, experiences, and events. Personal reflection allows you to examine experiences, thoughts, and feelings from your point of view so there is no wrong answer. Personal reflections may be written in formal academic writing e.g., for school or college, or written informally e.g., blog posts and are normally quite short (between 250 and 750 words long)

How Do I Start Reflective Assignment?

Firstly, highlight key ideas and concepts about the person, experience, event, text, song, movie, piece of music or any other topic you are going to reflect on.

Secondly, quiz time! Ask yourself the following questions about the topic to write reflection on assignment:

Impact: What impact did/does it have on you? e.g., I realized how difficult it can be for homeless people to find employment. 

Feelings: How did/does it make you feel e.g., I felt astounded by the sheer lack of regard for human life. 

Senses: What did you see/hear/feel/touch/taste? e.g., The smell of burning rubber hit me and I felt the heat of the blaze on my face.

Change: Has it changed you? If yes, how? e.g., I now look at cancer sufferers in a different light and I approach their care in a more upbeat and positive manner. 

Thirdly, identify a minimum of three key parts you want to make about your topic. For instance, if the topic is about an event, you may choose to write 3 paragraphs: before, during, and after the event.

How Do I Structure a Reflective Assignment?

Reflection for an assignment normally requires the same basic essay structure as follows:

Section Purpose
An introduction

(around 10% of the total word count)

Introduces the general topic, provides an overview of the part of the topic to be explored in the essay, and a thesis statement. In the case of a reflective assignment, the thesis statement will normally relate to how the person / experience / event / text / movie / music, etc. has affected you.

A minimum of 3 main body paragraphs

(around 75-80% of the total word count)

Each paragraph will explore one of your key points (an exploration of the way in which the person/experience / event / text / movie / music affected you in this case). Your reflection can include quotes, extracts, etc.

A conclusion

(around 10-15% of the total word count)

Will paraphrase and answer your thesis statement, summarize the key points you made in the main body of your essay, and then relate the points made to the wider context (opposite order to the introduction).

How Do I Format a Reflective Assignment?

If your reflective assignment is for school or college, the following formatting requirements normally apply:

  • Standard A4 paper size
  • 1-inch margins on both sides
  • Easily readable fonts (Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri) in 12-point size.
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citations you include should be written according to your educational establishment’s recommended style e.g., APA, Harvard, MLA, etc.

Note: Always be sure to check the assignment brief or clarify the formatting requirements with your educational instructor, as requirements can vary and the above is a general formatting guide only.

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Reflection Writing Topics

You may be given the chance to choose to write your reflection about any topic you wish. If that’s the case, then here’s a few topic suggestions:

  • What makes you happy/anxious/angry?
  • The biggest mistake you have made
  • Your childhood dreams
  • An argument
  • This is the most challenging task you’ve ever had to complete.
  • The top ten qualities that everyone should have.
  • The strangest place you’ve ever visited or longed to visit.
  • An event that has had a big impact on your life.
  • A famous person that has inspired you
  • How your beliefs have changed
  • Your most meaningful relationship 
  • A reunion 

Reflection Writing Tips!

  1. Be succinct: Make your paper as concise and clear as possible and avoid repetition of the same points as you don’t want to bore the reader!
  2. Remember tone: Even if the writing is personal, it’s useful to still maintain a professional and academic tone if it is a school or college self reflection assignment
  3. Cite properly: If you include in-text quotations, ensure you cite them and include a reference list according to your educational establishments required citation style. Use our APA citation maker for automatic referencing.
  4. Check and edit: Proofread for spelling, punctuation, and grammatical issues, but also to ensure that your essay is clear and well-organized. Ask yourself, “Have I answered my thesis clearly?” and “Are there any unnecessary words or phrases that can be deleted?”

To write a reflection on your assignment is often less challenging than you may think as there are no wrong answers and you have the opportunity to express yourself instead of the views of others. A basic essay structure is all that is normally required, coupled with the ability to delve into your own feelings and organize them into a logical order.

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