How to Write Reflective Journal in 30 Minutes

how to write a reflective journal

There is not that much that can confuse a college student the way an assignment to write a reflective journal can! If you are not even sure what it is, you may get stuck and spend hours trying to understand how to finish the task. While a reflective journal task can be basically anything that reflects a student’s learning experience or speaks of an impression related to certain theory, journal article, or a research, there are certain rules and tips that will help you to get things done in time!

Trust us, when you read through all the parts of the article and see samples of the actual reflective journals, it won’t take you long before you are all set and ready to finish your task!

   What is a Reflective Journal?

No student can complete a reflective journal homework without understanding what a reflective journal writing is. Before you see the template, take your time to read the definition and the basic rules that have to be followed. Based on our Geeky experience with the students, it will pay off with your time and the nerves saved!

Think of a reflective journal as of a reflective diary where you write down the thoughts, impressions, and the concerns that you have about what you have learned and experienced as a student. It is your own way of speaking of both positive and the negative events, tell how you felt about it, share what it meant to you in the past and how it has changed (or remained the same) after the experience. Finally, reflective journal assignment allows you to tell of what you have learned from the experience or acquired knowledge and what else would you like to learn. Before you start with the template or a draft of your reflective journal on any topic, make sure to:

  • Identify the topic of an event or an experience.
  • Write down the list of simple emotions that it has caused like relief, anger, concern, happiness, fear, confidence, etc.
  • State why do you think the topic is important for you, for society, and for the world.
  • List the theories, books, practice, social work or an individual that has influenced you through the learning experience.
  • Identify whether it was a negative or a positive experience.
  • Reflect on how you have approached the subject or knowledge before the event.
  • List what you think you have learned and written how it has changed you as a person and a future professional (if it is applicable!).

   Reflective Journal Template


To make things even clearer for your reflective journal writing task, we want to offer a template to make your creative juice flow and make sure that no time is wasted! Follow the next model to keep within the rules:

  • State the Name and Date of your reflection journal assignment.
  • State your progress in your learning process.
  • State your improvements since the learning process has started.
  • State your learning success progress.

When you have the answers and ideas to these questions more or less clear, continue with the following reflective journal template guide table:

Learning Area                                                                  Awareness / Reflection                                                                                                                                                                     
The content of Your Reflection that answers to the question ‚ÄúWHAT?‚ÄĚThis is a part where you learn of what you have learned or of an event that took place. In other words, it is what you have to write your reflection journal about!
The process of your Reflection that answers to the question ‚ÄúHOW?‚ÄĚHere you have to write of how did you learn it. It means that you have to mention a book, theorist, a practical theory or a task that you have been given. Think of an internship or a fieldwork.
The list of reasons for learning and reflection that answers to the question ‚ÄúWHY?‚ÄĚNext, you have to write why have you been learning this or that. This is where you start with your reflection because you have to explain why a certain subject is important and why exactly it has to be learned and mastered.
Your academic and professional development and growth that answer to the question ‚ÄúWHAT FOR?‚ÄĚ


Now your task is to continue with your reflection journal by stating what are you learning for and how it has influenced and affected you in terms of your academic development and professional growth. Look into your chosen major and a field of study to see what kind of changes and contributions you can make as a result of this learning experience.


Personal development, impressions, and the future considerations that also answer to the ‚ÄúWHAT FOR?‚ÄĚ question, yet in a more personal manner.This is the part that should make your reflective journal assignment personal and unique. You should write of your impressions and the personal considerations that have helped to shape your personality. Restate your thesis and the key points. Write of what else would you like to learn and consider additional work and ideas to have a strong and powerful conclusion of your reflective journal.


The template guide provides only a general outline that you have to follow, yet there may be specific requirements that your instructor may provide you with. From engineers and educators to social work specialists and the nursing students, reflective journal homework does have certain peculiarities that we want to mention before we proceed with the actual reflective journal essay samples.

   Reflective Journal for Nursing Students Peculiarities


Speaking from our experience, the nursing students always receive their fair share of reflective journal homework, which can be quite a daunting and an exhausting task in addition to theory and practice assignments. Take ethical considerations, works of the theorists, and the case studies, and you have more than enough to keep poor nursing students busy with their reflective journal assignments for days! Still, the things are not as bad as they may seem at first! Just follow these little tricks as you write:

  1. The Reflective Journal for the Nursing students and Healthcare specialists should include your display of critical thinking, clinical decision-making skills, an ethical analysis, moral estimation, and a critical reflection of nursing responsibilities in relation to a particular clinical situation. Your reflective journal work should be an example of a flexible learning process where you evaluate your own progress and provide feedback related to acquired knowledge and skills.
  2. The trick in writing of a good reflective nursing journal entry is in being as descriptive as possible. Write your reflection as if you are talking to a fellow nursing student who wasn’t there or did not have an opportunity to learn the same part of a curriculum. This way you can already reflect and notice the key elements that help to make sense.
  3. State the moral-and-ethical aspect of your task. Be clear in what side of the issue you are at.
  4. As a nursing student, reflect on the nursing theorists’ work or the case studies that have influenced you. Connect it with your ideas and a subject of reflection. This way you can research the issue and support yourself with the facts and academic evidence.
  5. If there are problematic issues that you have to write about, offer solutions and seek for the ways how you can positively contribute to the issue as a future professional.

Of course, these are far not all existing peculiarities of reflection journal tasks for nursing students as there are some simple rules like constantly adding to your journal and keeping lots of drafts! Nevertheless, following the five rules above, you will save your precious time and remember what simply has to be there!

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   Reflective Journal Examples

Finally, we want to offer two examples of reflective journal tasks for you where one reflective journal sample will tell you of a nursing student reflection on a particular clinical experience, while the second reflective journal example will provide a more general experience that will fit for most students to get the idea of how it can be done!

Browse and download reflective journal examples from the most full and up to date Free Online Papers Database at Homework Lab. All the examples of college & university assignments have been donated by the students and verified by Geeks to boost your writing creativity.

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      Reflective Journal Example #1:

‚ÄúThe second day of my nursing experience with the autistic children has been much easier. I call it ‘easier‘ because I already knew what to avoid and how to behave in general terms. I did not feel embarrassed about making mistakes and could sense behavioral models of autistic children in the room. I could finally start to connect theory to practice because I did not feel frightened any longer. I did not realize that these children could not approach the world like the rest of society. They did not always understand the things that took place around them the way we do. I have learned an important lesson that work of a special education nurse is a mixture of patience, empathy, and deep respect. As I progressed through the day, I started to make little notes for myself to see how each child progressed and why my methods of work were applicable to each case.

Without a doubt, there were lots of differences between what the theory books have taught me and the practice assignments that included the use of technology by autistic children and their fascination with the smartphones and electronic devices. It made me think of the ways how technology could be used as a benefit and an advantage to implement existing learning and developmental methods to decrease the tension and anxiety among autistic children. Likewise, I started seeking behavioral patterns that could help the parents of autistic children to use the same methods at home.‚ÄĚ

      Reflective Journal Example #2:

“As a future software engineer, my internship at the ‚ÄėAberdeen Software Inc‚Äô was more of a negative experience because the majority of employees had a biased attitude towards me because being American in Aberdeen was not always easy due to cultural differences. It made me feel upset in the beginning, yet I walked an extra mile to get my work assignments completed on time and to follow existing workplace rules. Still, the head management of the company would not allow me to get involved in large and complex tasks, complaining that I am not consistent in my work and attitudes. The situation made me evaluate the situation and turn to analysis and strategic thinking in order to determine if I was a victim of the workplace bullying or just faced a case of an interpersonal conflict. As a result, I understood that in addition to a cultural bias, my direct attitude and innovation always helped to reveal inner conflicts and inconsistencies in the team of the fellow software engineers. Describing the problem to the head management of the company, I have tried to explain the reasons behind my attitude and explain why the conclusions about my progress were incorrect. Nevertheless, my request has been ignored in a quite rude way. Knowing that I did what I could and not being allowed to continue with my internship, I decided to move forward and seek for other opportunities where the people are ready to address internal conflicts and challenge themselves with innovation and alternative, even if not so common, solutions.”

So you need some help on how the research should be done as you start with a reflection paper? Check out the Research Paper Example guide! It has all the necessary information to help you cope with even the complex tasks!

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Once again, these are actual short samples of reflective journals to help you get the basic idea! Following the style and structure, you can see that your task is to reflect and write of what you have experienced, how it made you feel, why, and what are you going to do with it! Hopefully, with the template, definition, and the actual samples, things look much easier for you now!

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