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Help! Need advice for reflective essays.
by m (mass_repeat)
at December 17th, 2005 (07:08 pm)

I'd never thought I'd have to ask (let alone beg) for help with English, since it's always been my best subject but ...

This week, I realized that I am utterly unable to write reflective essays, so I am here to plead for advice/help. x.x;

It's really frustrating, because by just about any other measure I'm an excellent writer. I did well in the John Hopkins distance writing program (although sadly my computer crashed and I lost all the great advice I recieved from the tutors. >_<). I got high scores (above 700) on the SAT writing and critical reading section without even studying, and I've always been the top student in my english classes. In my current AP class, I get great scores on my AP prompt essays and analytical/character essays. I can write poetry, short fiction, book responses ... but yet I am unable to write about myself! I just don't get it!

We've started a unit on reflective essays in AP English, and I recieved a C on my first essay, which is a disturbing change from the A's I'm used to getting. What it comes down to is I have no idea how to write about myself. I can write anything about OTHER people, OTHER situations, but when it's a question like "describe your physical/emotional baggage and how it hinders you", I freeze. My writing ability, any eloquence, style, or creativity ... it vanishes, and my esssay sounds incredibly stilted and shallow.

It's not that I'm a boring person. There are plenty of interesting things I could write about, but I just can't seem to do it! I don't know if I'm overly shy about sharing myself with the world or what, but the same goes for writing about personal experiences. My sentences end up sounding elementary and unvaried. Writing usually comes fluidly and naturally, but when it's an essay about ME, I completely freeze. have to get over this block soon, and learn how to write a reflective essay, because I have 3 due in the next week.

Worst of all, reflective essays are super important for college applications, and yet they seem to be the only type of writing I am incapable of completing at a high level.

My AP English teacher has been absolutely no help whatsoever; her philosophy is that writing "cannot be taught", and that I have to figure out how to write reflective essays "on my own."

So, does anyone have any advice for me? How do you approach reflective essays? Do you outline first? Any special hints or tips? What steps do you take in writing them?


Posted by: Angela (angybaby)
Posted at: January 14th, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC)

You could try writing the essay in third person, and change it to first person after you finish? Write about you, but as if you were looking in on yourself.

I know a friend who has to do that, because she has this huuuge block against writing about herself as well.

Hope that helps!

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