A reflective essay gives an opportunity to bring forth your views, learnings, feelings, beliefs, observations and experiences about a certain topic. It is a piece of writing which conveys your personal experiences with regards to the topic chosen. The topics for a reflective essay can be anything, ranging from a conversation you had with someone which left a deep impact on you to about some movie/match you saw, which left a lasting impression. Sometimes, upon completion of a course, students might be asked to write a reflective essay on the same, as a self-assessment tool. Whatever might be the topic for a reflective essay, its content should always consist of the writer’s own point of view, although sometimes, he might take help from journals, books and articles, to support his findings and conclusions!

Ideas for Writing a Reflective Essay

As mentioned above, a reflective essay should have your thoughts and opinions and not those of any other person. A reflective essay is a kind of philosophical analysis of the various experiences that you have in your life. Thus, it can be rightly said that this essay offers ample opportunity to the students to display their thought process, creativity and originality.

Although, reflective essays do not necessarily have to have a definite structure, yet, to organize thoughts better, it is ideal to write them in the same format as a regular essay i.e. they should have an introduction, followed by the body and finally the conclusion. The introduction should be a brief on what to expect from the essay. It should be written in a very interesting style, so that the reader feels compelled to read the entire essay. The body should have all the ideas, observations, findings and examples, pertaining to the topic, which the writer arrives at, while studying and brainstorming the topic. Finally, the conclusion should list the impact the “topic” has on the writer’s personality. It should have some conclusion, some idea, which towers over all his other views and observations.

Most of the reflective essays follow the pattern of format suggested above. This format of writing a reflective essay is not fixed though, as a writer is allowed to have whichever structure he deems will be perfect to bring forth his feelings and thoughts in the best possible manner, about the chosen topic.

In order to lend authenticity and credibility to them, one of the useful ideas for a reflective essay is to include lots of illustrations in them. A reflective essay is said to be good if it has an insightful and in depth analysis and interpretation of the given topic. The more revealing and insightful the writer’s feelings, views and thoughts are, the more useful and interesting the reflective essay is for the reader. Now that you know, how to write a reflective essay, here is a list of topic ideas for a reflective essay that you can choose from.

Any failure that you met in life. Write an essay describing how you overcame it.
A famous personality that has been an inspiration for you. Describe in the essay how this personality has influenced your personality or life.
A unique place/city/country that you visited. How the experience impacted your thinking and life.
Volunteer at a senior citizen home and write about your experiences and reflections there.
Write about some social issue that bothers you, such as poverty, unemployment, smoking in public, etc.
Write on the courses that you have opted for and what was the reason behind the choice.
Reflect on how education has impacted your emotional, intellectual and social growth.

You can write an interesting reflective essay on any such topics, following the tips on formatting suggested above. In the end when the essay is complete, the final step is revising its content. Here, as a writer, you have to read and re-read the essay. Ascertain, which parts of the essay are essential to bring out its main purpose and which parts are frivolous and hence need to be discarded. If the essay is edited appropriately, you will arrive at a structured, integrated, sequenced piece of writing, perfectly depicting your ideas on the theme that was chosen for the reflective essay!