Self Reflection: Vital for Desired Goal

Going full speed ahead seems like the right thing to do when there is a lot to do, but is it? It’s the end of the semester, and you may want to move on to the next thing – job hunting (Congrats to all grads.), summer work, vacation, and long hibernating sleep. However, before the next step, make time for self reflection. 

Understanding Self Reflection

Reflection includes critical thinking, self-direction, problem-solving, and self-awareness. The act of self-reflection is a two-part process: the first to recall one’s personal feelings and behaviors and the second to consider the reasons for those feelings or behaviors (Cambridge dictionary, 2022)

As a student, you are pulled in many directions while balancing the competing priorities of life and school. Reflection is vital. Going full speed ahead without pausing for self-analysis time causes missed opportunities to refine our practices and appreciate our strengths. Carve out some time for reflection to determine what worked and did not work this past school year or semester. 

When self-reflecting, we seek to answer What? And Why? Questioning How is better used for planning – not reflection. 

5 Steps For Student Reflection

Schedule

  1. Open your calendar and find a day and time that you can take a breather, slow down and step away for at least 30 minutes. 

Consider resources

  1. Choose helpful resources – a planner, notepad, notes app, soothing or inspiring music, water bottle, comfortable seating, and an open mind. Begin your reflection time with a cleansing and clearing deep breath. Be sure to reflect in an environment most conducive to critical thinking for you. A few more questions about your reflection environment:
  • Would you like music? 
  • Should you be indoors or outdoors? 
  • Are you hydrated?

Ask what

  1. The importance of understanding “what” highlights your decisions and actions. To answer ‘what,’ start with three lists. List 5 – 10 …
  • accomplishments
  • things you want to achieve or gain
  • questions or concerns that remain

To further reflect, record your thoughts to: What were your …

  • actions taken?
  • successes experienced?
  • decisions missed?
  • challenges faced

Reflect on your why

  1. Now that you have answered, what? Let’s work on understanding ‘why’. To answer ‘why,’ start with these questions. Why …
  • did I achieve my most recent accomplishments? 
  • have I chosen my upcoming goals? 
  • do I need the answers or solutions that I am now seeking?

Determining the answer to “why” demonstrates meaning and purpose. 

To dig deeper, remember to reflect on successful and challenging moments, consider failed actions, moments that caused frustration, and events that surprised you and did not go as planned (Bailey & Rehman, 2022). 

We benefit most from reflecting on both positive and negative experiences when reflecting. 

Create Routine

5. Make reflection a part of your purposeful routine. Be intentional. Maintaining a time and place for reflection will reveal opportunities for repeated excellence.

Schedule for daily note-taking or journaling of events and observations. It’s essential to capture the details of the day and the thoughts, emotions, and takeaways while the day’s events are still fresh in your mind. 

Scheduling daily time for written reflection helps in clarifying thoughts. Schedule weekly reflection time to review the week’s notes and identify recurring themes. 

Click below for a Student Reflection Guide to record your thoughts and decisions. 

Student Reflection Guide Cover with notebook paper image

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