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Elise Gout

Start 2016 Off Right With Academic Reflection

Now that we have survived the first couple of weeks of January, you might be thinking towards some of your 2016 goals. Make it to the gym more. Spend time with the family. Pick up meditation. The possibilities are endless, and you might as well try out everything that excites you. Even if some of your goals drop off down the line (looking at you, “make it to the gym more”) at least you’ll have given it a go.


And with that having been said, I want to go ahead and advocate for a genre, if you will, of New Years resolutions that is definitely not as fun… but arguably just as (if not more) important…

Yeah, you guessed it: they’re about school.


1. Reflect on your efficiency

You’ve just put the lid on a whole year’s worth of work: essays, projects, exams, and, for some of you, college applications. Consider it sealed off as it’s own little sample of how you functioned in 2015. Now is the best time to pick it apart for information – analyze it for trends, and figure out what those trends are saying. Did you find yourself procrastinating often? Did this prove detrimental to you or not? If not, what caused the work habits that ultimately were detrimental to you? How might you start laying out steps to fix them? Often times, acknowledging where you are losing efficiency in your work day is the biggest step towards regaining that time. And trust me, the further into your educational career that you get, the more time will become a precious, beloved resource.


2. Learn how you best learn

This sort of goes hand in hand with the efficiency thing, but one of my most notable takeaways from college thus far is how imperative and helpful it is that you know your own brain. When I say that, what I mean knowing how you best take in new information and then retain it moving forward. Options could be anything from having to write stuff down, heaving to hear it out loud, needing to see it in visuals or power points. If you can solidify this for yourself (via reflection of the past year, and potentially even those prior), you will be at a ginormous advantage going into college. Not only will you be able to pick up material more easily, but you will probably also be able to review it much more effectively for any kind of big assessment that comes along.


3. Sleep


Because you are a student and because you (most likely) want to succeed in the way that you define success for yourself, I’m going to take a gander and say that you’re not sleeping enough. Which I’m fairly certain you know, as well as I do, is not a great thing. So even if you are 200% sure that it’s an impossible feat: try to change your zombie-like habits. Self-care is good – really, really good.


4. Celebrate your accomplishments

One of the big problems I used to (and sometimes still do) have with New Years is that, upon looking back at my previous twelve months, I’d only be… well… dissatisfied, underwhelmed, peeved at the things I hadn’t managed to do and figure out. As soon as you start dwelling on the set backs, though, you stall out. So take this reflationary time to realize how much you accomplished within your education in 2015. All of the hours that you put in to produce pieces of academic work and better understand the world around you. Let yourself feel rightfully proud. And then start looking forward to all the awesome things you’re going to learn as 2016 flies by.


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About Elise Gout

Elise writes articles for the Magoosh SAT blog to help teenagers during an exciting time in their lives. Despite residing in Southern California, where she attends San Dieguito Academy high school, she has no surfing abilities whatsoever; it’s actually rather sad. She is your typical senior high school girl who sword fights daily, and is pretty much convinced that bananas are a food sent from heaven. Elise will attend Columbia University next fall to study environmental science.

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