Your End of the Semester Self-Reflection

As the semester quickly comes to an end, stress among students is running high. At this point, our grades are almost finalized, with the exception of our final exams. Some of us figure exactly what grade we need on our finals to pull off that A, B, or C. This is a point where a lot of us hit ourselves on the head for not being there that one day to take that quiz, or for not studying enough for that one test.

“If only I had only studied an hour more I could’ve gotten an A– instead of that C+ on that test!”

“If only I hadn’t skipped that day I wouldn’t be stressed about this topic.”

“If only…if only…”

These “if onlys” go on and on and they always will—but stop yourself there. It’s always too easy to be hard on ourselves, but this added stress and self-hate will only hurt us in the long run. When looking at the bad, remember to look at the good because knowing what you do well is just as important as knowing what you need to improve upon. Now is the perfect time for self-reflection: to learn from our mistakes and find a way to improve upon them. Of course, this is easier said than done and I’m sure a lot of us aren’t feeling that great about our semester, our grades, and ourselves.

Here are some things you can do to help turn your negative thoughts into more positive & productive ones:

  • Don’t ponder on the bad grades you’ve gotten, but instead think about all the things you’ve accomplished in that class and throughout this semester.
  • Pinpoint the cause of your stress and find a way to manage it. For example, don’t find yourself with enough time to study for all your finals? Get out a notebook and schedule out your remaining time. Time management is always your best friend! Keep this in mind so that next time you’re feeling stressed, you can nip it in the bud right away.
  • If you have lingering questions about things regarding your classes, go to your professor’s office hours.
  • Never compare yourself to your other classmates, friends, and peers. You don’t know what they’re going through, and they don’t know what you’re going through. Each person is different and defines (and achieves) success differently.
  • Balance out your negatives with your positives.
  • And always remember that your grades and your GPA don’t define your worth as a person. It’s so easy to think of yourself as a failure if you didn’t do as well academically this semester. Take everything you’ve learned so far and turn it into motivation for your future self.

And if you find yourself feeling pretty great, self-reflection can still help! Pinpoint your strengths, but also try to find some weaknesses (we all have them) and work from there.

When taking this time to reflect on your semester, remember to focus on what you could’ve done better—but do not spiral into this hole of past mistakes. College is a tricky time for everyone and everyone fudges up every now and then. Reflection is a time for growth, not the time for nitpicking at your mistakes, accidents, and flaws.

This is also a great time to reflect on your semester non-academically. We spend so much time focusing and worrying about homework, grades, and the whole school shebang, but what else did you accomplish this semester? Did you join a new club, get promoted at work, make a new friend? All of these are fantastic things and keep us well-rounded. College is a time for us to learn, but not only academically. Remember, this is time for you to grow as a person, and personal growth always needs reflection!

Good luck on your finals and happy reflecting!

Emilie Moss

English Major, Class of 2018, Naperville, IL

Hi! I'm Emilie and I'm a senior majoring in English and minoring in Spanish at IU! I've always had a passion for reading and writing, and combined with my love for IU, I look forward to sharing ideas, content, stories, whatever it may be, with everyone else. In my free time I'm usually listening to music or playing piano, cooking, exploring as much as I can, and reading the work of other bloggers and writers.