You have a lot of experiences and gain a lot of knowledge as a college student. But, to a large degree, it falls to you to figure out how all these things are connected and to make personal meaning from them. So, while it’s perhaps not the type of advice that makes the rounds on the internet, reflecting and synthesizing your knowledge and experiences could be among the most important things you can do to impact both your short- and long-term success.
This kind of deep reflection and meaning-making can be hard to do. So, here are five questions you can ask yourself to help with the process. You can use these during and after experiences (and by “experiences,” I mean just about anything – class projects, volunteering, student organization work, studying abroad, interning, going to your part-time job, and so forth).
1. How does this connect this to other things I’ve learned or experienced?
2. What was the most challenging aspect of this experience, and what skills did I use with that challenge?
3. In what ways did this experience require me to communicate with others?
4. What mistakes did I make, and how could I have done things differently?
5. How did I interact with other people in this experience?
There are many other questions you could ask yourself to prompt reflection as you move through college. These are just a start. I recommend you start a journal and have a set of standard questions like these that you use to reflect on everything you do. You will learn a lot from doing so, and you’ll be better prepared to integrate what you’ve learned into future experiences. Resume writing and interviewing become easy when you do this kind of reflection. But, more importantly, what you experience and learn will have relevance and meaning to you, and that’s truly what college is about!
|Gary Alan Miller,|