Goodbye, 2017: Year-end reflections for the undergraduate

2017 is drawing the curtain on its final act. It’s been a long, arduous year, and you’ve waded your way through the mud to the other side. As an undergraduate, you’ve probably had a pretty eventful year. Whatever judgment you’ve laid, however, you should also pause to think a bit more deeply, consolidate your year-end reflections, and take the good with the bad.

Grab a mirror – it’s time to reflect!

Hindsight: to win and to fail

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It’s always easy to pinpoint where it all went wrong on hindsight. It’s only after you step into a bear trap that you realise after where it was all along, after all – not that stepping on bear traps is commonplace in the city. But the sentiment is the same: reflecting on your failures (and yes, even your successes) will prepare you adequately for the year ahead.

As an undergraduate, you still have more room to fail as compared to your average working professional. Heng ah! The remaining years of study ahead of you give you that space to learn richly from your mistakes, whether it’s related to your approach to life, forging a career direction, or your own personal growth and identity. Didn’t do so well in your exams? Let a friendship slip through your fingers? Figure out what went wrong and make use of that information to the fullest.

The first school year is always the hardest to overcome, simply because you have a lot of things to adapt to. It might have even felt like a year-long obstacle course, except instead of a well-trained athlete and/or ninja, you felt more like a bumbling first-timer. And that’s completely OK. What else is failure, if not your First Attempt At Learning?

Pokémon evolve frequently – as should you

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And after a long, hard think  about the past year, you’ll probably realise you’ve grown so much. That’s the magic of having 365 days a year. Who have you become today? Who were you yesterday? Most importantly, who do you want to be tomorrow? Whether it’s inside the lecture hall, in the middle of the dance floor, or somewhere ulu trying to walk far enough so your Pokémon Go eggs hatch, who exactly are you?

Identity is a fluid, elusive concept, and you’ll find that some people experience dramatic changes over the course of their lives. Some get through it, some don’t. The only constant in life is change, after all, and you should always be striving for a better version of yourself. As a student, what have you done this year that you could’ve done better? What have you discovered about yourself that you should likely pursue in the future? Likes and dislikes may seem like small things, but understanding yourself is the road to victory. Contemplate, consolidate, and conquer!

Back to the drawing board

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Reflections are meaningless without any form of action. If you’ve slipped up during your studies this year, don’t falter and throw in the towel just yet. You know better than anyone what your weaknesses are, and it’s precisely during this time of the year that you begin to look ahead and plan decisively to get what you want in 2018. Even though it’s only been a year, there’s a lot to think about. Why let time slip through your fingers when you have every reason to take it by the reins and make every second count?

Maybe it’s a new study method. Maybe you really want to step out of your shell and join a new club in school next year. Look ahead, as far as you can manage, and promise yourself to get off your butt. As Master Yoda once croaked, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Size doesn’t matter… when you count your blessings

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Gratefulness is the measure of your soul. Honestly. Singapore is notoriously known for being a country of complainers, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in to herd mentality and become one with the rest of them. This is the most important part: to look back, reflect, and count your blessings, no matter how big or small they are. Even if it was that one Thursday where a stranger smiled at you on your way to school, take it! Keep things in perspective!

Think back on your friends and family (if you’re fortunate enough to have had familial support) and other sources of support. Think back on all that you’ve been given, whether it’s the simple act of a parent paying your way through your first year in school, or whether it’s a classmate buying you lunch to raise your spirits in the middle of a messy, undignified semester. What have you done this year that you were so terrified of, but worked out beautifully in the end for you? Who do you have to thank for bringing you to the end of yet another year?

It’s the end of 2017, and your health (mental AND physical) is intact. As an undergraduate, you’re only just starting out. But we’re so glad you made that step.

Be thankful for the disappointment and joy you’ve experienced. Be thankful that you’ve made mistakes. Everything that’s happened to you this year is just another stroke of the brush on the canvas that is your life.

And what a masterpiece it’s slowly becoming!

Sophia Lee

I used to freelance exclusively for Glints - now I'm a content marketing intern working furiously in the backdrop. Talk to me about writing any time! (Or we could have a serious discussion about video games and e-sports... that's cool too.) Find me on Instagram (@pxtrx)!

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