Students in Monty

Glendening Hall 230

The Reflective Essay

At the completion of the semester in which you undertake your experience, you must submit a reflective essay to the Office of the Core Curriculum. Please read the following carefully, as it will answer many of your questions! 

What?

Writing to a formal or professional audience, create a reflective piece of approximately 1600 words that will allow you and your audience to make sense of your experiences. You should consider integration into your reflection commentary on the following, as appropriate:

  • your academic, professional and personal goals related to the experience and how these evolved based on your experiences;
  • the way in which your expectations about your experiences compare to your actual experiences;
  • your interaction with individuals at a particular site or in a particular culture;
  • the skills you came to realize you needed to develop or have developed as a result of your experience;
  • possible connections between concepts, ideas, facts, or skills learned in class and those learned through experience; and/or
  • how your experience relates to your goals for subsequent learning opportunities at SMCM or beyond.

Be sure to support your commentary with specific examples from your experience.

Please note that reflective work submitted to the Career Development Center for a credit-bearing internship, or written work required for a class you are using to satisfy the ELAW requirement, will not automatically fulfill the reflective essay requirement for ELAW. Essays produced for these other audiences may be appropriate for submission as your ELAW reflective piece if they meet the expectations laid out above. In such cases you must submit the essay directly to the Office of the Core for independent evaluation.

When?

Normally, essays are due on the final day of classes in the semester in which you are enrolled in CORE 350; in the summer term, essays are due on 15 August.

If you are studying abroad in fall semester, and your term extends past the end of the St. Mary's semester, your essay will be due on 1 January. If you are going on a winter break study tour, your essay will be due on 15 January. If you are studying abroad in spring semester, and your term extends past the end of the St. Mary's semester, your essay will be due on 30 June.  

Where?

Send your essay to corecurriculum@smcm.edu.

Materials turned in to the Career Development Center or to individual professors will not be forwarded to the Office of the Core Curriculum!

How?

Your essay may be submitted as a Word document (.doc or .docx extension), or as a pdf. Please title it [lastname, firstname] reflection.[extension]. As in, "Smith, Mary reflection.docx." You may include photos, etc. if you wish.

Next?

Each reflective piece will be read by members of the Core Curriculum Committee and assigned a grade of "Pass," "Pass with Distinction," or "Fail," which will be noted on your transcript. Students submitting failing essays will be invited to revise their work and resubmit it.

Your degree audit may not show that you've completed ELAW, but as long as your transcript reflects an actual grade of P or PD, you have, indeed, satisfied the requirement.

 

For examples of distinctive reflective essays, please follow the links below:

CORE350 Reflective Piece Model 1: Steven Rees writing on his summer research with leeches

CORE350 Reflective Piece Model 2:  Kristen VanBlargan writing about her time in Japan

Kristen VanBlargan's Film:  www.vimeo.com/5691297

CORE 350 Reflective Piece Model 3: Daniel Castle writing about Buddhism and travel

CORE 350 Reflective Piece Model 4: Emily Ma writing about her experiences studying at Sciences Po in Paris

CORE 350 Reflective Piece Model 5: Chelsea McKnight writing about her internship at The Whole Self Center

CORE 350 Reflective Piece Model 7: Kevin Ford writing about his Ed Studies placements at Spring Ridge Middle School