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
A Letter About What I Have Learned This Semester In Enc1101 Class
Respected Professor,First of all, while informing us about this assignment, you had said that you do not want us to write anything we do not mean; thus, I hereby swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. The first day I had walked into your class, I was down right nervous. Questions of all sorts kept popping up in my head: What if this class is not worth it? What if he is not a good professor? What if he is mean? What if I get a bad grade because I can not write? And more what ifs…However, as soon as you walked in the class with a bunch of papers in your hands, and a smile on your face, all my "What ifs" were answered. I came to the conclusion that I was going to enjoy this class, and soak in the experience. I have learned many things in your class, three of which have helped me in many other aspects as well.
To begin, throughout this course, I have learned a lot about myself and my writing. I have realized that the more I write, the better I get. You were right when you said that writing comes to you naturally if you do it often. I have noticed that when I write with my heart and soul, I better my writing, as well as myself. I never thought that I could write; thus, continuous writing has boosted up my confidence. You know, my favorite dialogue from "Finding Forrester" is when Forrester says: "Do not think. Just write. You write your first draft with your heart. The final draft, you write with your mind." I do not know about the others, but that is so true in my case! If I do not think on my first draft, I do a better job. Then, I fix it up using my mind, kind of like what I am doing right now. I would have never known that if it was not for your class, Professor. Writing is a skill, and to master it is like accomplishing a goal. I know that I have not mastered it yet, but I did receive a highly necessary encouragement from this course.
Next, I have come to acknowledge that the type of professor you have plays a major role in the journey of education. Now keeping my oath in mind, I say this from the bottom of my heart that you have been one of the best professors I have had for English. I have literally promised myself that if I ever become a professor, I will steal your ways! Call me copy-cat or a thief, but hey, it works! I think that students...
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