Published on June 6, 2017
Updated on Sep. 17, 2018
The close of the semester is always a time for finishing projects, studying for finals, and spending time with friends before the long break ahead. However, the close of the semester is also a chance to reflect upon all that you’ve accomplished over the last 16 weeks! Reflection is a tool that you can use to evaluate goals, better understand your interests, and help in formulating where your experiences can lead you in the future. Here are three things to keep in mind when reflecting upon the semester:
Whether you hold a leadership position, serve on a committee, or contribute your individual time to an organization, campus involvement can have a big impact on your college experience. The activities you’re involved in through campus organizations can also have a big impact on your career interests if you let them! Use this time to reflect on what you enjoyed about the organizations you’re a part of, and also what you didn’t like. You may ask yourself: “How was I able to contribute to these organizations? How have my activities in this organization helped me in reaching my career goals?”
In this reflection you may find that you are looking for more opportunities for leadership experience within an organization. If this is the case, it may be a good time to decide whether or not the organizations you’re apart of can provide that, or if you may have more opportunities elsewhere.
Academic Projects and Assignments
The end of the semester is usually the time students are wrapping up an abundance of projects and assignments, sometimes in a flurry. Once you’ve made it through the last week, take some time to reflect on your academic experiences. What stuck out to you? Was there a topic or subject that really excited you this semester? How can you pursue these interests through other classes in the future?
In addition to figuring out what you do love about your classes, consider how the work you do in your classes may come in handy when you are proving your experiences in the future. In future interviews, you will likely be asked behavioral based questions related to important characteristics of a new hire, such as the ability to work in a team or to meet deadlines. If you have worked in groups, think about the role you played in the group, how you contributed to the success of the project, and if something went wrong, how you could have made it better? Reflecting on these experiences now and recording them for the future will be immensely helpful as you begin to write your path to your next internship or full time job.
Internship or Part-time Job
Part-time jobs and internships are the perfect opportunity to gain experience in a field you think you may want to go into in the future. However, without reflection, these experiences stand the chance to get left behind without any real evaluation. Once you get into a consistent schedule, it’s easy to go day to day not thinking about the skills and abilities you’re developing through these part-time positions.
Now is the time to reflect and consider how your weekly commitment to these jobs benefit you, and mentally gather the transferable skills you’re gaining in the process. Thoughtfully thinking about your commitments and how you can use this experience in the future will be helpful as you craft your future career. In addition, through this reflection you may find that your current position isn’t serving your interests as best as it could be, and you may stumble upon or seek out a position better suited for you as a result.