Congratulations on finishing the fall semester, Loggers! Whether you’ve completed your first semester, are in the middle of your academic experience, or are entering your final semester, there is much to celebrate.

Reflecting on the challenges, triumphs, areas of growth, and newly developed skills from the past semester will help prepare you to start the New Year off strong and set goals that are attainable.

You probably reflect all the time–after seeing a movie, you might think about the plot inconsistencies or imagine the role you’d play if a zombie apocalypse were to happen in real life. Reflecting helps you make sense and meaning of your experiences.

Fall may have been a challenging semester full of hard classes. You may have had to learn how to balance activities and a part-time job on top of academics. You might have found a student organization that you are really passionate about. No matter your circumstances, you’ve grown. You enhanced your skill set, became more self-aware, took on new challenges, and expanded your knowledge in your major and across disciplines.

Where to Start? How to Reflect?
Reflection doesn’t necessarily need to be documented. Start simple by discussing your semester with close friends or family. Or go for a long walk to think about the highs and lows of this past term.

But if you wish to revisit a project or class you took in relation to future opportunities, you may find it beneficial to have a written record. Journaling is great way to track your accomplishments, challenges, or mistakes. A journal for personal pursuits and trials (“Dear Diary, Today was…”) should be separate. Choose this journal to track your academic and career development progress.

Think of the person you were 6 months ago compared to now. Consider what you accomplished in academics or co-curricular activities and use the questions below as a guide:

  • What new skills did you acquire or further develop? Which skills did you excel at? Which skills did you enjoy utilizing?
  • In groups, did you lead? Delegate? Follow? Consider why you played this role within the group.
  • What challenges did you encounter? What did they teach you?
  • Did something not go as planned? What could have been done differently? How did you cope?*
  • What are you proud of?
  • What did you learn about yourself?

*All successful people encounter challenges, failures, or make mistakes; however, successful people also have the ability to assess their areas of weakness or improvement and learn from them.

After revisiting the challenges and accomplishments of this past semester, take some time to appreciate how far you’ve come in the past 6 months. CES hopes you enjoy a restful and re-energizing Winter Break and we look forward to seeing you in spring semester!

Read Part 2 of Rebecca’s Reflection blog and learn how to use your reflections to set goals for spring semester.

Rebecca Headshot

Rebecca Pettitt, CES Career AdvisorRebecca enjoys helping Logger students discover opportunities that provide enriching experiences during college and prepares them to start a rewarding career. Outside of work, she likes to spend her time staying active with kickboxing, trapezing, or training for her next half marathon.

Photo Credits | Kris Hay
© 2015 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound