The Gustavian Weekly

Recognize the importance of self reflection | The Gustavian Weekly

By Mykaela Otto - Opinion Columnist | May 17, 2019 | Opinion

This year at Gustavus has been wonderful for the campus community, it was far from perfect, but our community grew so much over the past two semesters. At the end of the year, I always find myself reflecting on my time at Gustavus and thinking about the places I will go beyond it. This will be my last spring on campus as a student. It feels like my time here has gone so fast and it is only now that my Gustavus experience is almost done, that I have started to reflect on what college has done in my life.
The importance of self reflection at the end of a year is something that can often be overlooked in the wake of final papers, projects, and exams. In this crazy season of deadlines, coffee, classroom wrap-ups, and barely enough time to sleep, it can be hard to find the time to reflect on how far we have come during the course of a school year. No matter who you are, or how your year went, a lot happened this year. You probably grew into a more complete version of yourself, which is something to be proud of.
Making it through a full year of school is a big step. There are many things in life that can make it challenging to continue to get up each day and work hard for a degree. We all have personal lives beyond the classroom which challenge us and make it hard to keep pushing through the year. With all of this in mind, I urge you to reflect on your time at Gustavus.
There are many ways to reflect and process your experiences. My favorite form of reflection is writing. Writing can be a great way to put all of the thoughts running through your mind onto a page. From there, you can organize your thoughts and process through your experiences. Meditation is another practice that can be helpful in self-reflection. It also can help take your mind off the overwhelming stress of finals. There are many different ways to meditate and several helpful resources online, my personal favorite is guided meditations on YouTube. Another helpful practice is deep conversations with the people on campus that mean the most to you. Reflection with friends can be a heartwarming activity. Think back on the year together, you would be amazed at how strong you are and the wonderful things your friends will remember about your year.
As a campus community we have come so far this year. We started the year off strong with the Nobel Conference. We had constructive conversations through dialogue and deliberations in many classrooms and at events around campus. We have listened to speakers from several different backgrounds who discussed important issues including race, sexual assault, journalism in the modern world, immigration, and much more. These speakers helped to spark important conversations among students and faculty on campus. As a student body, we worked to learn more about the world around us and how we can improve it.
Our students this year did amazing things. We traveled to conferences around the nation to present our academic work, spoke out against injustice both on and off campus, marched for what we believe in at the state capital, and created a groundswell movement for the environment. Our experiences this year may be marked by the big moments, the speakers and movements we were a part of, but they were also marked by small moments. Friends supported each other through loss, helped each other study, cheered each other on at sporting events, and had deep conversations about life that lasted late into the night.
This year was far from perfect, we did not always agree or handle problems in the most constructive ways, but we have all grown because of it. I would like to believe that each year our community grows stronger and learns to be better individuals out in the world. Be proud of what you have accomplished this year, even if it does not feel like much. Every forward step is a step in the right direction. For those of you who will be returning in the fall, good luck on another year. For those who will not return to the hill, good luck on your future adventures. You made it through another year here on the hill, congratulations.

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