Assignment: Reflection on the Past
Based on Writing: A Guide for College and Beyond, page 108
Write a 2 ½ -3 page essay about a person, place or event in your past that has special significance.
Using the concepts covered in Chapter 6 of the text, you will write a reflective essay about a person, place or event in your past. You should think of your audience as being those who do not know you at all. Do not assume your audience has a lot in common with you (age, interests, and economic status). You should try to find a way to make your reflection interesting to wide array of readers.
Following the steps outlined on page 92-93 of the text, you will choose and focus your topic, and write a topic proposal. Your peers and I will offer suggestions as to how your proposal could be improved. You will then draft your paper, review it with your peers, and revise your draft for final submission. Before you begin and as you work, you should refer to “What Makes a Good Reflection” and “Keys to Reflections” on page 61-62. The chart on pages 92-93 will also help you make certain you don’t forget any important steps of the process.
Your essay should:
• Tell a good story, honestly (Don’t embellish the truth just to write a good essay!)
• Have a clear and appropriate purpose
• Convey significance through details
• Focus on something significant, whether great or small
• Have personal experience relevant to others
• Follow standard conventions in grammar, spelling and the mechanics of writing
February 6 Topic Proposal due (see instructions below)
February 9 Rough drafts due; peer review
February 13 Final drafts and all supporting materials due including prewriting, copies of peer review, rough drafts, writing lab notes (if applicable), and a letter addressed to me, discussing your process and progress in writing this paper.
Please create your Topic Proposal by doing the following:
1. Make a list of people, events, or places that have been significant in your life or in some way changed you. Conflict and resolutions are often good sources of reflection. Make this list as long as you can (at least a dozen items).
2. Choose two or three items on your list and write for a few minutes on each one. Write about how the person, place or event seemed to you at the time, and then about how you regard it today. Did your initial reaction change over time? Why do feel differently now?
3. Think about the significance of each item you’ve written about. Why does it remain in your memory? What details best convey its significance? Are there any conversations that you recall related to that item? Write about these thoughts.
4. Then, look back over your writing and choose the topic that you think will make the most interesting reflective essay. You will want to choose the topic that gives you the best opportunity to engage your audience.
Write a paragraph or two describing your topic, its significance, and some of the details you will use to tell your story.
Thoughts about Reflection
In The Examined Life (Simon and Schuster, 1989), Robert Novick argues that reflection transforms life. When we think actively about our experiences and observations we infuse them with greater meaning and significance.
You will be asked to reflect in a variety of ways in college. You will use writing as a tool to aid your reflection. Writing allows you to record and consider material in the moment and to keep a record of your thinking for later reflection. You can also use writing to share your reflections with others you trust, using the opportunity for an exchange of views to reflect further.
Here are just a few occasions you might use to spark your reflective writing:
• A current event, especially one that has generated a lot of attention.
• A provocative book that you’ve read recently.
• A personal experience or something you’ve witnessed.
• An observation that evoked in you an emotional response.
• Questions you would like to answer before you die.
All writing that draws on personal experiences or calls upon our values and beliefs is reflective. Comparing personal experiences can give us insights into who we are by exposing us to who we are not. Arguing our views on issues like capital punishment encourages us to express the values and beliefs behind our views. This invites us to reflect on those values and beliefs.
Here are a few additional suggestions to improve the rigor of reflective writing:
• Focus your discussion around a key insight. The writing process can help you discover new insights about yourself. Your final draft, should clarify what key insights you gained, with your body paragraphs focused around that insight.
• Present the occasion for reflection first. You might begin by explaining the experience you intend to reflect upon. As you revise, focus only on those details necessary to understand the event and its significance for you.
• Interrogate your ideas. To push your reflection beyond simple observations, you might ask these kinds of questions: Why do I believe this? Would this be true for all persons and occasions? How do I know this is true? Your answers may suggest places to do more research or to acknowledge your limited knowledge to readers.
• Even if your subject is yourself, keep your audience in mind. You can probe difficult memories or unpopular values or beliefs, but you should be mindful
Reflection on the past Essay
This essay will shed light on one of the most thrilling experience of my life. This experience was not only thrilling but also left me with some important message for my entire life. Looking back to my past, I still remember the night, when I was left to the roads in order to get the lifetime lesson of my life. This story might be strange for some readers and few of the readers might even think that my parents did not have any heart, but the fact is, if they would not have done this, value of home and money in my eyes was never possible.
This story got started in my teenage, when I was in the most crucial and confusing time of my life. I was not mature enough to take the good decision and understand the value of the things I possessed. The luxurious life of my friends, possessing the latest phone model in the early ages of their teens and driving cars at the age of 15 was something that I wanted. But my parents had some rules, making me restrict from those pleasures of life. I was supposed to be mature enough to possess those and till then my pocket money and everything was limited and under the observation of my parents. All of this made me much frustrated and all I wanted was to get out of my house, leave my parents and start living life on my own.
This frustration was injected into me since I started getting conscious about my standard of life in high school. I was not able to analyze that everything comes at the right age and money is not that much important as values are. I started fighting with my mother on the specific fact, asking them to provide me everything, that I demands. I wanted everything before my friends would have and this race of possessing more and early was soon witnessed by my parents. I was irritated by my parents and one night while fighting with my mother in order to get me a new car and live my nightlife, I wished in front of my mother that I could live on my own, following my way of life. They got much worried about me, as they knew where this feeling will head me into and planned to teach me a lesson.
The night I said this was a very disturbing night for my parents, but I was all relaxed and went off to bed sooner after fighting. Living my life of fourteens, I was not aware of what actually life is and how hard it is to live on your own without parents. The very next morning my mother came into my room, woke me up, and asked me to pack my bag and leave the house. I was astonished at what is she saying and gazed into her eyes. She was very rigid and sure about her decision, asking me to leave the house as soon as possible. She asked me to get on my clothes and shoes, extend my hand upon the savings I have, and live my life my own way. this statement was a little disturbing to me and was sooner changed into an argument but my statements, failed in front of the determination of my parents and I had to leave the house, by only possessing five dollars in my hand (as this was all I had saved my entire life).
I left the house, went to the school, told my best friend about it, and then decided to live in his place till the situation gets stable. I managed to go to his place after school but as soon as I reached there, his mother asked me to pay for my living at their place. I was shocked by her behavior and was looking at her as if I would start crying. She agreed on my living at her place for one day without rent, but I was supposed to pay for the living and the food from the very next day. This whole aspect was quite strange and disturbing for me as I never witnessed such situations in my previous life. All I knew was we were used to going on vacations to different places and I just jumped on the bed, enjoyed eating food, go swimming, clubbing and hiking. Worry about the expenses was something I never had to deal with. My parents were the ones, possessing this responsibility.
I only had 5 dollars in the morning but till I entered my best friend’s house, I only had 2 dollars. This was because is I spent 3 dollars on the food after high school, as I was not in the mood to eat from the school cafeteria. Worry of paying the rent for living, with only two dollars in the pocket, made me think all night of finding a way out, to this problem. In the mid of the night, all I could figure out was crying. My throat was pinching and I was wondering what I will do in the morning and how I will pay her mother 20 dollars in the morning (as this was the discounted price for me because me being her son’s best friend). Making 20 dollars out of 2 dollars, at the age of fourteen, without having any particular degree or resources, only over one night was not something achievable. The whole night I was sitting terrified and thinking of ways out. I had nothing or no one who could help me out with this.
All I could think of was of my parents. I decided, after all the night of weird thoughts that I am not enough able to live on my own. I also shared my one-day life with my best friend. This was prior to this event of my life, the best life anyone could live in. But then I realized that money is important but for that money, relationships, and the pioneers are more important. I was not grown up enough to live my life on my own and without the support of my parents, I was nothing. No one in this world pays for a stranger and it is only the parents, who are there for their children till their last breath. I decided to get back to my parents the very next morning, apologizing to them, for my words and behavior and letting them know that I realized my biggest mistake. I promised myself to never in my life, fight with my parents for money and will always provide them with the respect and love they deserve. This might be some ordinary thing to hear for some people but what that fourteen-year-old child would have felt that whole night is unexpected for any person. The next day, I was warmly welcomed by my parents after my apology and I started living my life with the biggest lesson of life. However ten years later that event, I came to know that my best friend’s mother was told by my mother to react that way, in order to make me realize the value of money and home. but I am glad, she did so because if this would not have happened, I might have never realized the true importance of parents and home.