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Published: Friday 25th of January 2013
This part of any essay is aimed at introducing the topic under consideration, informing readers about what you are going to write about, and inspiring them for the further reading. There are plenty of topics for a self-reflective essay, but you have to be sure that whatever you choose will convey your unique experience. The essential part of the introduction is the thesis statement. If you write about an achievement that has made you proud of yourself, for example, there are several ways to phrase your thesis. You can put it like this: "Getting a job has influenced all the aspects of my life. I have become more independent and learned how to manage my time and improve my productivity," or "Studying abroad has been a fascinating experience. Although I missed my family and school, I managed to gain control and bear full responsibility for my performance."
A lot of self-reflective essay topics are assigned to students in the form of a question. What have you learned from this experience? Why is it important to you? Would you change your decision if you had a chance? On the one hand, such topics are easier to reveal, as you know exactly what you are supposed to do. On the other hand, your answer to the question may turn out to be too short for a full essay. In such a case, you'll have to work harder on structuring the paper. If a topic doesn't imply a question, it still requires you to tell about what happened to you and how it influenced your self-perception, behavior, life views, attitudes, etc.
Among the primary goals of writing a self-reflective essay is showing yourself who you really are, teaching you to estimate yourself objectively, and, ultimately, making you better. That is why you should remember that when you write about your achievements, you shouldn't forget that there are still things you can improve. Don't be afraid to analyze yourself and your actions in a particular life situation you describe.
In the conclusion of a self-reflective essay, you have to tell how you are going to use this or that experience in the future. Start with restating the thesis. It can't sound word for word as it did in the introduction. Enumerate some pieces of evidence that you used in the body paragraphs and summarize your thoughts on the topic. For example, you may write that the experience you've got studying abroad made you both stronger and more flexible, which are essential qualities in a professional career. It is also very beneficial to leave your readers something to think about after reading your essay.