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15 Reflection example: Reflection, Emmie Harmon When I was young I had a strong interest in writing. My mother encouraged this passion. I have stories that I wrote as a young child about ants and a little girl named Molly and princesses that lived in forests. I had a big imagination and I loved to write my ideas down. As I got older my creative works subsided but I started to keep a journal and I wrote in that faithfully. I wrote about my life and feelings and concerns and I wrote down poems and scriptures that were interesting to me. I have continued to do so ever since and writing in my journal has gotten me through some of the most trying times of my life. While writing papers in my first college English class I have noticed that I am pretty good at making my papers sound personal and putting my own voice in them. I think that this is in part due to all the time I spent writing for fun as I grew up. This semester I have written a paper about sappy songs, a personal essay about death, a movie review, and a research paper on the history of nursing. I liked writing the review because it was something new to me. Although time Reflection    109 consuming, the research paper was also interesting because I learned new information. I would probably choose a different topic for my personal essay if I could go back because I lost interest in the topic after the first or second draft. The essay was about a friend of mine that had passed away and after writing the paper I had no desire to look at it anymore because I wanted to resolve the pain that I had felt and move on with my life. I think it was valuable to do the assignment analysis because it made me really think about what the instructor is asking for instead of just quickly reading through the instructions. I learned that it is wise to read through the instructions a while before the paper is due so if anything is ambiguous one has time to ask the instructor questions about the assignment before it is due. I want to remember what I have learned this semester about focusing papers and making them have a general question instead of being “all over the place,” as my papers often are. I want to remember the importance of revising and perfecting papers. I learned that it helps a lot to get a second opinion on your papers and I learned to appreciate close friends and my professor who were willing to read through my papers and give me feedback on my writing. Questions about Reflection 1. What are its purposes? Reflecting back on a semester or a lifetime of writing can help us realize what we’ve learned, how we’ve improved, and what we want to remember for the future. In all its forms, reflection assists memory and comprehension. So someone asking you to write a reflection paper is probably most interested in advancing your education, though they may hope that your reflection yields other benefits. My students’ reflection papers help me adjust my teaching for next semester. What do you think Harmon got out of writing this paper? 2. Who are its audiences? Some successful personal essays are largely reflective, so sometimes reflection has a wide audience. More often, the person reflecting is the main beneficiary of the reflection. If one of your purposes in reflecting is to remember the most important features of an event, you may want to address your paper to your future self, who could make use of the insights you write down today. 3. What’s the typical content? You may be asked to reflect on specific things: how you learned to get along with your roommate, how you’ve used writing in the past month, how to figure out what the calculus teacher was talking about. Or you may reflect on a particular time period or the results of a particular class or event. In general, you’ll write about the ideas in your head, without using outside sources. I always ask my students to include their strengths as writers in any reflection paper. 110    Genres 4. How long is it? Most school reflection papers are one to five pages long, but a reflection can grow into a book-length memoir. 5. How is it arranged on...


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