You’re about to make it through your first year of college in one piece (knock on wood). That’s a big deal, so give yourself some credit! My freshman year was so opposite of what I envisioned coming out of high school; it was actually one of the most challenging years of my life–socially, academically, psychologically, you name it. Despite the tough times, the real problem was that I–like countless others–tended to push the bad memories off to the side and focus on the good. However, I’ve learned the times I grew the most as a person were the times I was barely holding on. If you look back on the year without rose-colored glasses, you can really discover what worked and what didn’t, helping you to be cognizant of those things the second time through this fall!
Now, there are many options for self-reflection. The great thing about it is that it’s for yourself, so you can make what you want out of it! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
When people think of self-reflection, journaling is often the first thing that comes to mind. It’s a great way of getting thoughts onto paper and allows a space of unfiltered reflection. If you’re feeling super crazy, you could buy yourself a nice notebook and some sweet pens, too.
I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it, but I think it’s time I show it.
I’ve recently found poetry to be a really cool way of expressing what I’m feeling in an abbreviated form. The extra attention it takes for word choices and having to think through things like rhyme and rhythm (or not!) helps you to think about what you’re feeling and what you’re trying to say.
“Lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go…”
Whether it’s putting sound to poetry, playing your favorite tunes on your favorite instrument, or just indulging in a few emotionally engaging songs, music as the universal language is a fantastic way of expressing and experiencing emotion without ever having to open your eyes!
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Whether you sketch, paint, photograph, etc., a visual representation of what you’ve been experiencing throughout your first year is a powerful way to express your feelings. It’s not an art contest; it’s for your own self-expression, so don’t be too critical on yourself if you aren’t the second coming of Michelangelo!
Whether you had the best year ever, or the worst of all time, reflecting back on it while it’s still fresh in your mind is something that can be helpful, rather than bottling it all up. Expressing yourself in some form can help you to know how to build upon your success this year, but just as important, how to take what you’ve been through and grow and learn from your shortcomings. Once you’ve taken the opportunity to look back and discover where you’ve grown–and need to continue to grow–you can look to the future with confidence that you’re a better version of yourself because of it.
I recently wrote a poem about my first year struggles and how I dealt with it. If you’re interested, you can check it out here!