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How To Write A Personal Reflection

Personal Reflection


A reflective paper is an essay which depicts your thoughts about an event, book, movie or an idea. It reflects your personal insights. Contents of a reflective paper could range from your experiences and believes, to your personal observations.

Personal reflection is a specific type of reflective paper that is written in response to a particular stimulus. It can also be considered as a critical piece of writing which includes thought provoking questions and their justified answers. It is not a descriptive rather is an analytical form of writing.

To find yourself, lost and without purpose, wondering how you ended up where you are, is a scary thought. If you are not careful, not mindfully aware of where you are going, you could end up somewhere far from where you want to be. The power of personal reflection can serve to keep you in check, to keep you focused on self-improvement and ensure that you are as fulfilled as possible.


Personal reflection is an opportunity to revisit particular instances, feelings and thoughts, and ponder upon them from a fresh perspective. It aids self-improvement, as your strengths and weaknesses are revealed through this form of writing. Personal reflection brings clarity on issues that are distracting and complicated. It helps to re-prioritize your value and live your life accordingly. You are able to focus on these priorities and let go of things that curtail your capabilities.

It is essential to inculcate the habit of personal reflection in teen age children to support them in their transition from childhood to adult life. During this time period adolescents experience major changes in intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. They begin to shape their own thought processes and are at an ideal time to begin developing thinking, learning, and metacognitive strategies.

It improves your planning skills as you gain insight from your past experiences and make future decisions accordingly.

Self-awareness is another trait that is augmented through personal reflection, you become aware of the effects of your decisions on other aspects of your life and on your environment. It is impossible to make decisions void of self-awareness, believing that the decisions you make are stand alone and have no repercussions.

Personal reflection will help you develop creative thinking skills and encourage active participation in work processes. It is an opportunity to develop and reinforce your writing skills.

Everyone makes mistakes at some point in their lives, and reflecting upon such events makes you learn important lessons from those mistakes. We can also achieve closure on certain bad memories lingering in our minds and attain a more peaceful state of mind.

Your leadership qualities are boosted by personal reflection, you become emotionally intelligent and it strengthens your integrity. You become clear on your core values and make better decisions in the light of it. Initially self-reflection might seem as a time consuming task but in the long run it saves you both time and money.


Modern society is becoming more complex with passing time, information is readily available like never before and is changing more rapidly requiring people to constantly re-think and switch their positions on important matters. To aid people in this quest, personal reflection is highly efficient. It enables people to think in both abstract and conceptual terms, and understand their own thinking and learning strategies.

Personal reflection is also crucial for students who need to polish their problem solving skills. It provides students with an opportunity to step back and think about how they actually solve problems and how a particular set of problem solving strategies is appropriated for achieving their goal.

How to indulge in Personal Reflection

There is no one specific way to practice personal reflection. What works for one place may not necessarily work for another. There is neither a right way nor a wrong way of reflective thinking, there are just questions that need to be explored. The primary thing is to schedule and allocate time for personal reflection and jot down your thoughts on a piece of paper. You can begin by finding a quiet place and start asking questions to yourself. Questions can range from "What makes you happy?" to "Are you living life being true to yourself?". These questions may seem cliché at first but they play a major role in digging deep into the core issues that affect your life.

It is beneficial to compare the results of your reflection with your preconceived notions. This helps you re-evaluate your values. You should ask yourself how and why you think the way you do. While practicing personal reflection one must be truthful to one's own self because it is for our own betterment. The power lies within telling yourself the truth and acting on it.

Finally you should make decisions and then stick to it, which should be easy since it is in line with the answers you reached at, during the reflective process.

How to Write a Personal Reflection

The key to writing a successful personal reflection is to focus on your own thoughts and feelings with regard to particular experience. Even though a personal reflection is an accumulation of your own thoughts, but still you need to justify them using reasoning as to why you think you developed such ideas. While writing a personal reflection it is important to draw comparisons between how your thoughts were during the event was taking place as compared to your current thoughts. An even better practice is to illustrate the transition of your thoughts with respect to time.

Since it is falls under the umbrella of critical writing, care should be taken to write it in an evaluative manner. The tone of a personal reflection should be personal and emotive. You should avoid adding the views of other people on the subject matter, as it violates the premise of personal reflection.

It is essential to be non-judgmental towards your own self during this process, and freely explore your inner self. Personal reflection does not only require a cursory glance,  it requires taking a deeper look at yourself, stepping through the looking glass, so to speak, to discover and show important parts of yourself to your readers.

Unlike majority of the essays that require researching facts and figures, personal reflection is more personal in nature and is fluid in structure and style. Instead of jumping right into the essay it is better to chalk an outline. A good personal reflection can be converted to great just by proper planning.


Personal reflection might seem like the easiest thing to drop in tense situations when the pressure is on. However it is one of the things that you can least afford to drop especially in such circumstances. Time spent on reflective activities will guarantee that you are focusing on the most crucial things to you, your family and your organization.

Reflective thinking helps learners develop higher order thinking skills by prompting you to compare new knowledge to prior understanding.

Writing a personal reflection can be tough especially if it's a college assignment and the deadline is closing in. However there is no need to fret as professionals at Prescott Papers specialize in all sorts of reflective writing. The services they provide are tailor made according to your specifications.

How to write a personal reflection

What is a personal reflection? A personal reflection is a response to something – an experience you had, how you reacted to it, how you were changed by it, and how you grew as a result. If you've been assigned one, they usually are one of a few types:

  • A reflection on your academic growth that came from specific projects or assignments

  • A reflection on a particular event in your life and the personal growth that followed

  • In an English or literature class, a reflection on what you've read or studied

Before you begin writing, you need to organize, and you need an outline.

Before you write

Requirements – Make sure you know the word limit (if any) and possible subjects. Also check about the format. Many essays follow the format of 1:3:1 (one paragraph for the introduction, three for the body, and one for the conclusion), but a different format may be assigned.

Brainstorm – Start taking notes. In a couple of sentences, summarize the event, assignment, or text that you've been asked to reflect on. This will help you identify the theme of your essay. Capture what stands out in your mind. For readings or assignments, try to recall specific quotes or sections. For events, ask yourself about the different parts of the experience. Try to remember using your senses, and how you felt then.

Outline – Your outline should contain the main parts of your paper, and should look something like this:

  • Introduction

    • Introduce and explain the subject or event

    • Your reaction to the subject or event

      • What happened?

      • Did the subject or event make you change your mind about something?

      • What did you learn?

    • Thesis Statement

  • Body (repeat this for each body paragraph)

    • Topic Sentence

    • Supporting evidence

    • Transition sentence

  • Conclusion

    • Repeat and summarize thesis statement

    • Summarize body

    • Conclusion statement

Now let's break a personal reflection down into its parts.


The introduction is where you provide the readers a preview of what follows. The introduction needs to grab the reader's attention. This is called the "hook". As with most essays, the introduction needs to have a thesis statement. The thesis statement introduces the topic. In a personal reflection essay, the thesis statement should also briefly cover the event that influenced you. Make sure you don't go into this too deeply; the body is where you will go into detail. Don't give away too much of the story before that.


The body is the most important part of the essay. You need to write a body that's not confusing or murky. Keep in mind that your essay has a timeline (an event or assignment, your reaction to it, and the growth that occurred as a result). The timeline doesn't have to be absolutely linear, but don't jump around too much. Before you start writing, figure out what order you want to put things in.

Possibly the most important part of the body is what happened to you or what you read, and the impact it had on you, or what you learned. This part needs to be at least as long as the description of the event or assignment. It shows who you are as a person. If the reflection is about something you read, don't just summarize the text – but do use specific details to back up and explain your personal growth or the understanding that you reached.


The conclusion of your personal reflection essay should describe the lesson you learned or the understanding that came as a part of the event or reading experience. It should tie together the entire essay. Include a summary of the main points covered in the body.

How to Write a Personal Reflection Paper

A personal reflection paper is all about you; it should contain your interpretations, your ideas, and how you identify with the person in question who could be a character in a movie or book, a member of your family, someone you admire, or any other individual.

Unlike other formats, a reflection paper does not contain too many facts and/of figures. It contains more of what you thought, liked, disliked, or interpreted. Your personal reflection paper will tell your readers important things about you.

Personal reflection papers are routinely given to students to make them think, analyze, and arrive at what they have learned. A personal reflection paper enhances a student's thinking and analyzing capabilities.

Types of reflection papers

Some of the types of reflection papers include the following:

  • Literature-based reflection papers – This essay requires you to read, analyze, and understand a piece of literature or a character in a literary work.

  • Professional Reflection papers – These are done by professionals like doctors, lawyers, and social workers where they record and analyze their professional experience so that they can learn from them and do their job better

  • Educational Reflection papers – Students are asked to think and analyze what was taught in class or during a lecture or the experiences of writing an assignment.

What can be contained in the personal reflection paper?

A personal reflection could be based on any of the following topics:

  • The experience of something that you imagined

  • A real life experience

  • A special thing or place

  • A person who impacted you

  • Something you have watched or read or seen or heard

Tips on how to write a personal reflection paper

The following two things are critical for a good personal reflection paper:

  • A vivid, memorable, and expressive description of the object of your reflection so that your reader feels that he or she has also felt what you have felt

  • Explanation of your feelings, emotions, thoughts, and reactions to the object of the reflection

Ask yourself some of the following questions and the answers will give you ample material for your essay:

  • What did I see?

  • What were my feelings?

  • Why were my emotions affected?

  • What was unique about the experience?

  • Did the people who shared this experience with me have the same thoughts as mine?

  • Has the experience changed me? If yes, then how? If no, then why?

  • What does this experience mean to me?

  • What could I have done differently?

  • Did I have similar experiences elsewhere or at another time?

  • Does this experience change the course of my life?

  • Can I help someone based on the learning from this experience?

  • Did I like the experience or no? Why?

  • Did this experience lead to something else?

  • Did I pick up any new skills? If yes, then what?

  • Can I transfer what I learned to my practical life?

  • Can I use my experience to improve the way I lead my life?

  • Can it help in my career?

  • Did I change my perspective of life?

  • Did my experience make me feel better or worse?

  • How did my experience change the way I treated people?

  • How did it increase my knowledge levels with regard to my own culture and new cultures?

  • Was I emotionally moved by this experience? How?

  • Did the experience change my concept of spirituality?

  • What questions did the experience raise in my head?

How to write the different parts of the personal reflection essay?

The parts of a reflection essay would consist of the primary sections including the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. You just have to make sure the content in each part delves deep into your experiences, tells the reader what you understood from the experience, and what did you learn from the experience.

Introduction – like in all essays, a personal reflection should contain an attention-grabbing introduction along with thesis statement that clearly states to the reader what the essay will talk about and what to expect from the essay.

The introduction should vividly describe the object under reflection. Remember to keep your thesis statement succinct and intriguing enough for the reader to want to continue reading. You could use a question/answer format for introduction/thesis statement.

For example, "Why do I feel so peaceful when I walk along the beach? And the answer I realized was that the beach with its rhythmic breakers and the unending horizon has this effect on me."

Body – This should consist of 3-4 paragraphs (depending on the length of the essay) and each paragraph should be dedicated to one idea that answers or supports your thesis statement. Add details, experiences, stories, and vivid imagery to enhance the personal experience that you felt. Use the responses to the questions above for the body of your reflection essay. Your reader should be feeling the experiences and being affected with them along with you.

Conclusion – Here, tie up your essay by summarizing the points in the body and expand on your thesis statement. Another way to conclude your essay is to state which direction you are going to take from that made in the thesis statement?

An example for the beach essay could be as follows, "I have now come to realize that every beach visit has added immense dimension to my understanding of myself. It is like I have always been part of the beach for time immemorial. I feel the beach is my home. Could I have been a dolphin who loved to swim and prance about in the big, wide, and blue waters in my previous birth?

Final Notes

Writing a reflection paper is easy and tough; easy because it does not contain too much of facts and figures; tough because you really need to dig deep into your mind for answers.

Even after the tips or due to some other reason, you are unable to write the personal reflection paper, our experts at Prescott Papers are waiting to respond to your call for help.

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