Reflecting back on First Semester

As first semester draws to a close, it is important to take the time to reflect back on the first half of your year. Whether you are in your first or last year here at Nipissing, there is still another semester to go before you reach the bliss that is summer break. At this point in the year, you should have an understanding of what is expected of you based on the year that you’re in. You’ve made new friends, met new professors and learned new things. So how do you feel? Did you procrastinate too much? Did you spend enough time on each assignment? Could you have done better? While we all anxiously await finals and marks for classes, it’s easy to be self-critical. While it is important to acknowledge what you could have done differently, there is much more to reflecting on your first semester.

If you’re anything like me, being critical is much easier than self-praise. However, now is the time to learn from mistakes, make new goals, and recognize accomplishments. Reflect back on your hard work, learn, and grow. This may not be an easy concept to some, but reflection is a skill that develops with practice and patience. To give you a bit of help, here are the four steps that I follow throughout my Christmas break, first semester reflection.

Step One: Recognize Your Weaknesses

Everyone struggles with different things throughout their time here at Nipissing. Whether it’s time management, procrastination, asking for help, or writing a paper. Now is the time to look at what you struggled with. Without recognizing your weaknesses, it’s hard to challenge yourself to overcome them and grow.

Step Two: Acknowledge Your Strengths

With the holidays approaching, it is important to include self-praise and positivity when reflecting back on your semester. What are you good at? Some people are great at writing papers, others at studying for tests, some have excellent time management, and others are great at working in groups. Everyone is good at different things, and now is the time to recognize your strengths as a student.

Step Three: Accept Your Accomplishments

Along with recognizing your strengths, it is important to recognize your accomplishments. Did you learn a new strategy to write a better paper? Did you ace a test that you didn’t think you’d do well in? Give yourself credit because you’ve accomplished some great things.

Step Four: Set New Goals

I like to leave my goal setting until the very end. Until I’ve looked at my weaknesses and strengths, and given myself credit for all of my accomplishments. At this point you can use your strengths to overcome your weaknesses. Look at what you did well at this semester. How can you use your strengths to do better in the areas that you struggled in first semester? Make goals that challenge yourself to do better in your weak areas.

While self-reflection is a concept that many of us forget to do, give it a try and see how you feel. Enjoy your break from schoolwork, and give yourself the credit due before jumping into the second half of your year here at Nipissing.

Happy Holidays, and happy reflecting!

– Hannah