Examples of reflective essays include essays describing how the author has changed in his academic career. California State University Channel Islands provides two examples of this type of essay.
The first reflective essay example begins with the author describing his passion for Toni Morrison's writing, offering a quote from her novel, "The Dancing Mind," that helps to place his own thoughts about reading in context. Specifically, he uses it to contrast his view of what reading was when he was younger to how he now sees it. Previously, he sought to discover the "true" meaning of texts as if they were puzzles to be solved. As he aged and progressed in his studies, he realized there are no "true" meanings and that the value of a work is in its many possible interpretations. He proceeds to describe his evolution as both a writer and a reader, starting with his high school experiences and delving into how college has changed him.
The second reflective essay example begins with the student's statement that he already knew he wanted to be an English teacher before coming to the college. He describes how his experience at the college taught him as much about who he is as it did about literature. Specifically, he contrasts the community college experience of simply talking about what he had read to actually using what he has read to understand the world around him. He finishes by discussing his different skills and weaknesses and how the college helps him to continuously grow.