A Year in Review - Reflections for First & Second Year Students

This blog post has been updated by Megan Elrath, Career Consultant on April 2, 2024 for relevancy, inclusivity, and formatting.

Another year is in the books. Let’s take a second to look back on this year, to celebrate the good times, and to appreciate the bad. Let’s pause to consider how much you've learned and how much you've grown. I promise, it’s more than you think.

Think back to August. Recall stepping foot onto campus, smelling the hot, humid air, and hoping to get into an air-conditioned building ASAP. Can you picture yourself? Think about that person, just nine months ago. What were your goals and your hope for this year? Did you accomplish them? Did you surprise yourself by accomplishing much more? Maybe this year was disappointing- full of realizations and struggles that you'd rather not repeat? Or perhaps this year seems forgettable - nothing too remarkable happened and you are hoping for a more eventful one next year? 

Take the time to think about these questions and to recall the story of your past year. 

You may be wondering why this matters. Why this is important? Why do you need to pause and ponder these questions? My best answer - you must reflect in order to make meaning of your past year. In this process, you will discover more of yourself and give yourself the opportunity to grow. Why miss out on this? College is about much more than taking classes or checking boxes in DegreeWorks. College is also full of lessons and full of memories. It is a time for development and a time for defining your identity - Who do you want to be and why do you want to be that person?

Do not let this time pass without taking the time to reflect. I encourage you to ask yourself the following three questions about your past year (and write your answers down!):

1. What was my greatest accomplishment?
2. What was my greatest failure?
3. What have I learned this year that I need to remember for next year?

Choosing to reflect and grow from each experience makes your time productive.

It does not matter whether the experience is defined as a success or a failure in your mind. The only failures worth naming are those experiences in which we did not decide to learn or grow. 

As you enter this summer, I encourage you to take the good, take the bad, and take the in-between. Use it all to shape who you are because it all matters and has brought you to where you are today. You have so much to be proud of and taking this time to self-reflect will ensure your future growth and success. 

We hope it's full of sunshine, sweet memories, and self-reflection.

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