The importance of self-reflection

3 minute read

Illustration of a female surfing on a book.
Illustration of a female surfing on a book.
Illustration of a female surfing on a book.
Illustration of a female surfing on a book.

As the term draws to a close and the festive season beckons, it’s a good chance to pause and reflect on how your university journey is going. Beyond the hustle of classes and the excitement of newfound friendships lies something crucial to both your academic and personal development - self-reflection. Introspection is easy to overlook, especially when there’s turkey and mulled wine to hand, but the end of first term is always a pivotal moment.

Look what you’ve achieved

The first thing to remember is that university isn’t easy. You’re learning from the leading experts in your field and engaging with leading thought on your subjects. The challenges are undeniable - deciphering complex theories, meeting rigorous deadlines, all whilst managing your personal life. Take a second to think about the hurdles you’ve overcome, and the experience that’s provided you both within academia and outside of it. Hopefully, that’ll help give you the confidence to take on the challenges ahead.

Understanding the self in academia

Self-reflection in the academic realm goes beyond evaluating grades and assessments. It involves understanding your learning style, recognising strengths and weaknesses, and identifying areas for improvement. Take a moment to ponder on the study techniques that worked well for you and those that may need adjustment. This introspection lays the groundwork for refining your approach to learning. It’s an approach which will constantly change, too; what worked well for you in first year might not be the best thing by the time third year rolls around. That’s why it’s so important to try and reflect in an ongoing way.

The link between reflection and performance

Research consistently highlights the positive correlation between reflective practices and academic success. Taking time to review your academic journey allows you to set realistic goals, measure progress, and make informed adjustments to your study strategies. It's not just about looking back; it's about gazing forward with a clearer understanding of your academic path. Grounding yourself in past experiences and successes paves the way to move forwards - if you don’t take the time to reflect, you’re not giving yourself the best chance at success.

Personal growth through academic reflection

Reflection is a catalyst for personal growth, and can help you form a deeper understanding of yourself. Consider using reflective practices like journaling or goal-setting to document your aspirations and track your academic evolution. A Harvard study revealed that individuals engaging in such practices reported a significant increase in happiness scores - introspection has a direct and positive correlation with overall wellbeing. Academic journeys are seldom without challenges. Reflective practice equips you with the resilience to face setbacks, learn from failures, and adapt to evolving academic landscapes. By examining how you navigate challenges, you empower yourself to turn obstacles into stepping stones for future success.

Striking a balance

While academic excellence is the goal, it's equally important to strike a balance. Reflecting on your academic journey should include considerations for your wellbeing. Ensure that your goals align with a holistic approach to success, encompassing both intellectual achievements and personal fulfilment.

Enjoy your break

As you embrace the holiday season and the well-deserved break from classes, take some time to reflect on your academic journey. Consider the knowledge gained, challenges overcome, and the growth experienced. Academic success is not just a destination; it's a continuous journey enriched by self-reflection. By understanding the intricacies of your academic path, you not only enhance your performance but lay the foundation for a fulfilling and intellectually rewarding university experience.

Marketing Executive

Curtis is a former student with the University of Leeds, and now hopes to help current students get the most out of their studies. Prior to Booost Curtis worked in the energy industry, where he supported disabled customers during the COVID-19 pandemic before making the move to marketing.

Marketing Executive

Curtis is a former student with the University of Leeds, and now hopes to help current students get the most out of their studies. Prior to Booost Curtis worked in the energy industry, where he supported disabled customers during the COVID-19 pandemic before making the move to marketing.

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