Reflective Essay

Reflective Essay: A reflective composition is a reflection of thoughts on some topics, which are generally of an abstract nature. It could be a personal opinion or public opinion. Most of the time it is the reflection of the opinion of the writer. The writing of such essays entails writing down all your thoughts on the subject and analyzing them so as to arrive at a logical conclusion.

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Reflective Essay

Areas of Reflective Essays

1. Habits and abstract qualities, such as contentment, truthfulness, politeness, charity, thrift, greed, hunger, cowardice, heroism, patriotism, honesty, loyalty, cooperation, bravery, etc.

2. Social, political and religious topics, such as riches and poverty, caste, democracy, liberty, government, family life, God, purdah system, generation gap, education, marriage, business, etc.

3. Philosophical subjects, such as reality and consciousness, right and wrong, the meaning of the universe, etc.

Guidelines for writing a good Reflective Essay

  1. It is always a good idea to write about what you know.
  2. You must use your imagination, and note down thoughts, ideas and perceptions.
  3. Rearrange them in a logical order.
  4. The beginning and end of your composition must be impressive.
  5. Your treatment of the subject of the whole composition must reflect your personality and views.

Sample Essays

1. “Wills”, “Won’ts” and “Cannots”

There are three kinds of people in this world – “the Wills, the Won’ts and the Cannots”. The first accomplishes everything, the second opposes everything and the third fails in everything. By giving reasons or referring to some incidents, state in which category you fall.

George Bernard Shaw is a good example to focus on those who are so determined that they refuse to look back. Their target is, all that matters, and they have to achieve their goals. These are the “Wills” of this world, and to them nothing is impossible.

Mahatma Gandhi was one such “Will”, and his indomitable spirit and great personal courage led him to eventual success, as he managed to fight against all odds and lead India to Independence in 1947. There are, of course, many others like him in this regard, whose motivation and determination has led them to achieve everything that they have focused on.

There is also another group of people called the “Won’ts”. These contrarians oppose everyone and everything, and neither will they do anything productive nor they will let anyone attempt the same. It seems as though their only mission is to hamper the work of others.

There are many such people in the world today who reap the dividends of others work, and will not lift a finger themselves. They find others easy to blame for their problems, and create such an atmosphere of negativity around themselves that negative results are the only likely outcome.

The third and final group of people is the “Cannots”. These are the people who lack the courage and motivation to do anything. These are people who do not achieve their goals, for the simple reason that they are not focused enough on their goals. Their lack of self-confidence leads them to believe that they cannot be successful, and this soon turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy: they fail at almost everything they ever attempt.

While I occasionally find that I display traits that belong with either the “Won’ts” or the “Cannots”, I identify myself with the “Wills”. A few years ago I was in a very bad car accident, and had fractured my femur. The doctors believed that it would be difficult for me to ever walk again, but by enduring and persevering through many difficult hours of physical training I now lead a perfectly normal life once again. I believe that my will power definitely qualifies me to count myself among the “Wills”.

2. How I Survived a Writing Class

Writing is one of the things I used to hate the most. I hated it when teachers would ask us to present an essay. I hated it when I had to compete in writing contests because teachers asked me too. Nevertheless, winning in those contests boosted my self confidence. I thought that though I hate writing but I am good at it so I started to like it a bit. Things changed when I enrolled for two writing classes.

The first writing class I attended was all about writing different types of essay. The teacher would group us into four or five. We would read each other’s essay and give comments afterwards. I was confident with my first essay but the people in my group were great critics. My confidence started to melt like an ice cream in a summer day.

However, the grades given by our teacher for those essays saved some of the ice cream. I, nonetheless, enjoyed most days in that writing class except the part where I had to sit with the group. I realized that I, including my confidence, should not be affected by criticisms specially not by comments from fellow students who were there to learn just like me.

I passed the first writing class so I was confident for the second. The papers were a lot harder to write. We had to write four papers within the time frame of two weeks and then a final paper. I was excited, curious and nervous at the same time, when it was time to check the grades of the four papers but those feelings were quickly replaced by disappointment. I got very low grades in all the four papers but I thought this should not affect my confidence.

Before writing the final paper, I went through all those four papers and looked at where I had gone wrong. Keeping the corrections and comments in mind, I wrote the final paper and I was very happy when I received a good grade.

From these writing classes, I realized that how we love or hate writing does not determine our skills. There is always a room for improvement if we are bad at something. We may receive negative feedbacks and failing grades sometimes but we will also receive passing grades or medals other times. What is important is we keep on learning and improving.

Suggested Outlines of Reflective Essay

School days are the happiest and most exciting days of our life.

  • We learn basic skills at school.
  • Everyday we learn and experience new things.
  • We make new friends.
  • Many subjects and sports are taught to us.
  • We feel safe and protected and lead a carefree and fulfilled lives.
  • School shapes our future.
  • School days can never be recreated in life.

The person who has influenced your life the most

  • Name of the person
  • His background
  • His professional qualifications
  • His achievements
  • His qualities
  • Characteristics of his that has influenced you
  • Your interactions with that person

Importance of Science in our lives

  • Introduce with the type of lives ancient people led when there was no science.
  • What are the most important inventions of science that have transformed our lives?
  • Effect of science in the field of education, medicine, communication, transport and entertainment.
  • How science has increased efficiency? You may give examples.
  • How excessive use of science can be harmful?

How to Learn from others

  • Start by writing how we can learn from other people.
  • Give an example of something you learned from someone else.
  • Explain why and how you learned it.
  • How has the learning process helped you?

How we can improve the World

  • Why you think the world needs to be made a better place?
  • What you would do to improve the world?
  • Think of actions you could take to help make the world a better place.
  • June 23 is United Nations Public Service Day
  • October 2 is ‘Sharing Day’ in India.


1. Siblings often grow up side by side in families; yet have very different life experiences. If you have one or more siblings and feel that your life has differed significantly. Write an essay explaining the reasons and effects of such differences.

2. Imagine a situation in which a character from your favorite book comes alive. Write an imaginary account of a day spent with the character.

3. Write about two deeds you have done. One of which gave you immense joy and satisfaction, while the other was a cause of deep regret.

4. Looking back at the last few years of your life, describe the events that have been significant in shaping your personality.

5. ‘Society is influenced more by show than by substance.’ Relate an incident from your experience which brings out the truth of this statement.

6. Of all the subjects that you are studying at present, which one do you think would be the most useful to you in future and why?

7. The advantages and disadvantages of being young.

8. Impact of literature on our lives

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