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.
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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.
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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
It may be hard to write a type of essay for the first time. If this is your first time to write a personal reflective essay, you can refer to the reflection essay example below.
I Survived a Writing Class
Writing is one of the things I used to hate the most. I hate it when teachers would ask us to pass an essay. I hate it when I have to compete in writing contests because teachers asked me to. Nevertheless, winning in those contests boosted my self confidence. I thought I hate writing but I am good at it so I started to like it a bit. Things changed when I had two writing classes in college. I realized I was not good in writing.
The first writing class I had to attend in college 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 are 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 have to sit with the group. I realized that I, including my confidence, should not be affected by criticisms especially not by comments from fellow students who were there to learn just like me.
I passed the first writing class so I am confident for the second. The papers are a lot harder to write. We had to write four papers within the semester and a final paper before it ends. I am excited, curious and nervous at the same time when it is time to check the grades but those feelings would be quickly altered by disappointment. I got failing grades on all 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 where I went wrong. Keeping the corrections and comments in mind, I wrote the final paper and I was very happy when I received a passing 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 would receive negative feedbacks and failing grades sometimes but we would also receive passing grades or medals other times. What is important is we keep on learning and improving.
This is a very short sample of a reflection essay and you might have to write something longer. Nonetheless, this reflection essay example shows what you have to include in your essay namely introduction with thesis statement, body that can be a description or narration, and a conclusion with your realization, insight or judgment.