What I Believe…
My Process of Change:
A Self-Reflection Essay
English 101 – Essay 2
The purpose of this essay is to:
(1) Reflect on the process you have undergone due to a change in opinion you have
experienced. It can be change that has caused you to overcome, conquer, or triumph over
previously held beliefs, or an experience that has caused you to understand that a new
opinion or perspective is more appropriate for how you see your future.
(2) Carefully examine what you learned and how you learned it by moving through the
details of your thinking and reasoning through the process of change.
(3) Identify a consequence of your change of opinion that has left ideas or conflicts still left
to deal with, along with some reflection of how you plan to overcome or resolve those
In a 2-3 page essay, explore a detailed reflection, analysis, and evaluation of a change of opinion
you have experienced. The change of opinion you choose should be one that is going to, or
already has, redefined who you are or who you want to become. The essay should be descriptive
and show the reader the range of thinking involved when making a significant change in one’s
convictions or previously held beliefs.
Your introductory paragraph should include an anecdotal account (a brief story) of what conflict
or event arose that caused you to begin questioning previously held beliefs ending in a clear
thesis statement that mentions or alludes to the change you have gone through. Equally
important is the rest of the essay when you analyze its significance, determine lessons learned,
consider how your learning took place, and identify future barriers. These obstacles, barriers,
intimidating forces may be literal, emotional, physical, spiritual, societal, racial, gender based, or
even hierarchal. You have to think of a time when you changed an opinion or belief and what
that change meant to you on several levels; then you have to consider the forces that remain to be
How to begin the process:
Step 1 -- Think of a time when you changed a firmly held opinion and state what that opinion
use to be.
Step 2 -- These changes often come when overcoming a fear, problem, obstacle, bias,
prejudice, setback, crisis, predicament, injustice, or impediment – state the event or
experience that caused you to reassess your opinion and caused the change of opinion.
Step 3 -- Explore (using critical thinking) what this achievement of change means, what you
learned, and how you learned it.
Step 4 -- What relevant battles still exist? In other words – despite the change of opinion or
solving / conquering this problem, what issues (that are related to the change you
experienced) still trouble you?
(What you will read below is actual brainstorming following the 4 Steps listed above; each of
these brainstorming ideas was turned into an “A” paper for this assignment. Each example is
numbered 1, 2, 3 or 4 – and these answers for Students A-B corresponds with the highlighted
steps numbered 1-4 above.)
Student A Student B Student C Student D
1. I use to believe 1. I never thought 1. I thought I had a fixed 1. I use to take my health
people could not hurt drinking and driving was plan for my life. That for granted. That all
you if you couldn’t see a big deal. That all all changed when: changed when:
them. That all changed changed when:
when: 2. My fiancé broke off 2. I fought lymphoma
2. My best friend’s death our engagement, and it (cancer) and won.
2. My whole family fell woke me up to the evils crushed me – but I am
victim to identity fraud. of drinking and driving. going to school and 3. This experience has
improving myself. shown me that I have the
3. I realized how 3. I learned that a single strength to defy the odds
vulnerable we all are, mistake could go a long 3. I feel that if I can at anything.
and how the only way way in determining the handle disappointment
to safeguard oneself fate of many people. and depression so 4. I feel nervous that,
from being taken positively, that I can although I’ve been in
advantage of is 4. I am still troubled by handle any obstacle that remission for three years,
knowledge and other friends that take the comes my way. it may come back. I
involvement. Now I’m issue lightly, and have become stressed about
going to school to the “It won’t happen to 4. I still need to work on food, and eating healthy
study criminal justice. me” approach. I find it trusting people, – to the point where I
impossible to especially when it obsess over my health.
4. I tend to be a bit communicate how much comes to relationships.
paranoid and over- this hurts me to some of I simply don’t trust
protective. I know I the most important people the way I used
annoy friends about people to me. to.
how they conduct
transactions online, and
their purchasing habits.
The topic of your essay will deserve some investigative research (for example, Student 1
researched identity theft, Student 2 research drunk driving, and so on.) We will be studying
library research techniques to help explain and define your topic and ways to integrate research
details into your writing.
Writing is much more interesting and engaging for readers when they are made to feel “there,” in
the action. Readers should be able to “watch events unfold,” because type of this writing
technique is much more intriguing than being “told” an event happened. Students will practice
this type of storytelling technique to engage their reader. In addition, several of the rhetorical
modes would be appropriate to use in this essay, however, cause and effect will be particularly
useful. Cause and effect, as a rhetorical mode, allows the writer to assert a direct relationship
between a stimulus and an outcome and it can be a powerful tool in writing. In class, we will go
over creating a descriptive, “SHOW, don’t tell”-type writing style and study cause and effect
writing methods that will help students develop their essay ideas.
The grammar emphasis for this essay is correct spelling and eliminating contractions (unless
necessary when writing dialogue for the effect). Each misspelling or use of a contraction is a
loss of 3 pts.
*Adapted from Chris Reider’s Reflection Essay 2010