Monday, August 19, 2013

Why College Students Need To Self-Reflect. From

by Jacquelyn Smith

Who am I? Who do I want to become? What’s my relation to those around me? What are my responsibilities to others?

Undergraduate years should be a time for students to reflect deeply on questions such as these. In the process, they will gain a more grounded sense of their own identity than they had before college. Whether students are transitioning from adolescence to adulthood or are adults planning a shift in their lives, college is an ideal time for thoughtful reflection on these and related issues.

But this kind of reflection happens too rarely in college. All too often, undergraduates have an instrumentalist view of college, viewing it solely as a way to prepare for a career, and perhaps have some fun along the way. They wear their academic honors and achievements like a soldier’s decorations, rarely looking deeply at their inner selves. Self-reflection is not on their radar screens.



  1. I have to admit I often think these kinds of programs are done pretty poorly, but thinking of my own undergrads, something like Stanford's program would be a really great supplemental aid to the normal freshman year.

  2. It sounds good, but I'm trying to teach calculus-based physics to students who can't add fractions and can't read their textbooks. Not a problem for the vast majority of Stanford students, and maybe this sort of program would be good for them, but that doesn't make it a good general prescription for higher ed.

    1. Well, if they could self-reflect, they might realize that their ignorance is something they should be ashamed of and try to remedy, rather than expect the world (and calculus) to conform to their inability to do basic math.

  3. The program itself sounded hokey, like some manager's idea of a team-building thing. Instead, I think a philosophy course ought to be a requirement. I took philosophy my senior year of high school, and by the end of 10 weeks of Plato, Descartes, Kierkegaard, Camus, Sartre, etc., had definitely found out a few things about my relation to others in the world.


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