In many of my classes, I’ve had to do quite a few assignments that ask me to reflect on what I’ve learned in the class so far. Another popular question wants us to think about the take-aways from the course–how do I plan to apply what happened in the course to my other classes, student organizations, and work experience? I find these assignments to be informative and useful. I think it’s always important to think about what you just did in a class and how that will help you in future experiences. I find that too often we go through the motions of course assignments, papers, and exams without thinking critically about why we’re actually doing these tasks. These writing assignments that push me to consider the key takeaways assist in my fully comprehending my education outcomes.
On the other hand, I sometimes find these reflections to be repetitive and fake. Allow me to explain. I feel as though I’m repeating the same lessons learned over and over again in my reflections. For example, I had to write reflections for one of my political science classes. In this course we heard from various professionals in politics and government and then wrote about what we took away from these talks. Reflection after reflection I said how important it is for a person to pursue a career he or she is really passionate about. Moreover, I wrote in many reflections about the value in surrounding yourself around those who are smarter than you. While a majority of the speakers had interesting things to say, I do not believe all of them were as moving as I indicated in my reflection. This discrepancy might have been mostly my fault–no one asked me to exaggerate in my reflections. Still, to write a meaningful reflection (and one worthy of a check-plus or A grade), I felt motivated to be somewhat dramatic and deeply thought-provoking.
What do you think? How do you feel about writing that asks you to reflect on your experiences? Do you find these to be useful exercises? Or are you in the same boat as me and think they’re a little repetitive and at times encourage exaggeration? I’ve had to do a lot of reflection writing. I don’t really mind these assignments because, in some ways, they’re rather easy to crank out. But is that ok? Let’s reflect!