Below we offer an example of a thoughtful reflective essay that effectively and substantively capture the author's growth over time at California State University Channel Islands (CI). We suggest that you write your own essay before reading either of these models-then, having completed your first draft, read these over to consider areas in your own background that you have not yet addressed and which may be relevant to your growth as a reader, writer, or thinker.
Any reference to either of these essays must be correctly cited and attributed; failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and will result in a failing grade on the portfolio and possible other serious consequences as stated in the CI Code of Conduct.
Scroll down for more examples!
Sample Reflective Essay #2
Author: Nekisa Mahzad
I have been a student at California State University Channel Islands (CI) for 5 semesters, and over the course of my stay I have grown and learned more that I thought possible. I came to this school from Moorpark Community College already knowing that I wanted to be an English teacher; I had taken numerous English courses and though I knew exactly what I was headed for-was I ever wrong. Going through the English program has taught me so much more than stuff about literature and language, it has taught me how to be me. I have learned here how to write and express myself, how to think for myself, and how to find the answers to the things that I don't know. Most importantly I have learned how important literature and language are.
When I started at CI, I thought I was going to spend the next 3 years reading classics, discussing them and then writing about them. That was what I did in community college English courses, so I didn't think it would be much different here. On the surface, to an outsider, I am sure that this is what it appears that C.I. English majors do. In most all my classes I did read, discuss, and write papers; however, I quickly found out that that there was so much more to it. One specific experience I had while at C.I. really shows how integrated this learning is. Instead of writing a paper for my final project in Perspectives of Multicultural Literature (ENGL 449), I decided with a friend to venture to an Indian reservation and compare it to a book we read by Sherman Alexie. We had a great time and we learned so much more that we ever could have done from writing a paper. The opportunity to do that showed me that there are so many ways that one can learn that are both fun and educational.
The English courses also taught me how powerful the written word and language can be. Words tell so much more than a story. Stories tell about life and the human condition, they bring up the past and people and cultures that are long gone. Literature teaches about the self and the world surrounding the self. From these classes I learned about the world, its people and its history; through literature I learned how we as humans are all related. By writing about what we learn and/or what we believe, we are learning how to express ourselves.
I know that my ability to write and express my ideas, thoughts and knowledge has grown stronger each semester. I have always struggled to put my thoughts on paper in a manner that is coherent and correct according to assignments. I can remember being told numerous times in community college to "organize your thoughts" or "provide more support and examples". These are the things that I have worked on and improved over the past couple of years and I feel that my work shows this. The papers I wrote when I first started here at C.I. were bland and short. In these early papers, I would just restate what we learned in class and what I had found in my research. I did not formulate my own ideas and support them with the works of others. The classes I have taken the past couple semesters have really help me shed that bad habit and write better papers with better ideas. I have learned how to write various styles of papers in different forms and different fields. I feel confident that I could write a paper about most anything and know how to cite and format it properly.
There are a couple of things that I do feel I lack the confidence and skill to perform, and that is what I hope to gain from participating in Capstone. I am scared to teach because I don't know how to share my knowledge with others-students who may have no idea what I am talking about. I hope to learn more about how teachers share their knowledge as part of my Capstone project.
Want more examples?
View sample reflective essay #1
Visit CI's Student Writing Samples web page
Want to become a better writer?
CI's Student Writing web site has how-to videos, writing samples for different subjects, and support resources.
View CI's Student Writing site
Careers in English and Writing
The English program at California State University Channel Islands prepares students for a wide range of exciting and rewarding careers, including:
- English teacher
- Social media strategist
- Media production (film, TV, internet)
- Print and digital publishing
- Corporate communications
- Foreign service
- Human resources
- Foundations/non-profit management
Learn more about CI's English Program
First, you might want to look at my list of 150 topic ideas for essays that explain. Once you have a topic, you will need to decide what way you want to approach it. Most topics can be several types of essays. Here is an example:
Types of Love (classification): Divide your concept into different categories or types (types of love, such as “Puppy Love,” “True Love,” or “Dangerous Love”). The body of the essay then discusses these categories one by one in separate paragraphs.
How to: Explain how something happens or how to do something. Divide it into parts or steps. Tell it in chronological order, use storytelling techniques and time transition words (example: “How to fall out of love or How to fall in love with your husband again.”)
Comparison and Contrast: Use something familiar to explain something unfamiliar. The body of this essay would use different aspects of the comparison for each paragraph. This uses similes, metaphors or analogies and vivid word pictures (examples: love is like a river, a basketball game, or a teeter-totter).
Cause and Effect: Show how one thing causes another to occur (example: falling in love causes you to seem more attractive to others).
Historical Overview: What is the history of this term and how did it come to have the meaning it has today? Or contrast the current meaning with a meaning from the past (example: love in the 18th century, the history of divorce, or history of the phrase “love at first sight”).
Reverse Expectations and Definition: In this sort of paper, you will compare your expectations of something, or what people usually think about this subject with what you think the reality is or the real definition of that term (example: Love is not a feeling; it is a chemical process. The body paragraphs would give the different chemicals and explain how they work to create the feelings of love).