College Strategies: Making Time for Self-Reflection

college campus
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Congratulations! You recently completed a semester of college. For many students, the first semester of any school year can feel like a whirlwind. Making time to reflect on your first semester of academic and personal growth can help you better plan for the time ahead.

The first semester of college is a period of transition that includes adjusting to a new living environment, new people and new academic goals and schedules. Making personal adjustments, including the need to build new friendships, communicate with your professors and manage your epilepsy independently, can seem overwhelming. However, you have made it this far and the experience you have gained in semester one of college will allow you to reflect on what went well, what perhaps did not go as planned, and how you can plan to meet your goals in the second semester.

Benefits of Self-reflection

Self-reflection can help you to process your thoughts and feelings. As much as college is about gaining the “book knowledge” you need to build a successful career, it is also about figuring out who you are, what motivates you, how you face challenges and adapt, and who you want to become as a person.

Reflecting on the past four months and organizing your thinking on how to best reach both your learning and personal goals during the second semester will be time well spent.

  • Sharing your thoughts with an academic advisor, your parents or close friends may bring you helpful guidance, advice and reassurance that you are headed in the right direction.
  • It can also help you to identify a need to seek out additional campus supports and an opportunity to adjust your learning goals.
  • Examples of what you may learn include
    • It may be that you really are not that interested in a specific course.
    • You may recognize that afternoon and evening classes suit your learning best.
    • You may appreciate the need to find out from your academic advisor how to ensure you are being allowed to take your tests and exams in a setting that fits your needs.

Physical and Emotional Health

Making time to reflect will also give you an opportunity to think about your physical and emotional health, including how well you have done managing your epilepsy.

Remember, your family has been going through a transition too. Knowing how you are doing will provide them with reassurance and guide them in the best ways they can continue to be supportive without crowding your independence.

Self-Reflection Checklist

Take a few minutes to work through this self-reflection checklist and share your answers with the people who know you best and who you trust to guide you to succeed.

  • In what ways have you grown personally over the last four months?
  • What classes have you found most interesting?
  • What aspects of college have you found most challenging and how did you handle these personal or academic challenges?
  • Do you feel you are managing your health well?
  • Have you linked with the right personal and academic supports?
  • Are you becoming the person you want to be?

Mid-year self-reflection will help you become more engaged in your education and more in tune with who you are and your aspirations. Reflection can boost your ability to self-direct your course of learning both in and out of the classroom. Your experiences are the stepping stones that can help guide your strategies moving forward, building a successful college experience and preparing you for post-college learning.

Understanding the value and practicing self-reflection during your time in college will also serve you well later in life. Growing your knowledge, assessing challenges and strategizing a path forward that best suits you do not end with college. These are skills you continue to build and use throughout a lifetime. Finding the time, space and motivation to self-reflect will allow you to thoughtfully approach and achieve your educational, personal and health related goals. Reflection also allows you to pause to celebrate your accomplishments along the way!

Authored by: Elaine Kiriakopoulos MD, MSc on 1/2019
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven MD on 1/2019
College Scholarships
Scholarships for Students with Epilepsy

There are several scholarships available for students with epilepsy who are heading to college, including those provided by a local Epilepsy Foundation and pharmaceutical companies. Find information about scholarships for people with epilepsy. Two upcoming scholarship deadlines are:

Call your local Epilepsy Foundation or the 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-332-1000 for more help.

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The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

 
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