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Many University of Georgia graduates decorated their hats with personal messages, memes, and lights. The University of Georgia welcomed 1,575 undergraduates and 1,224 graduate students during its fall 2018 commencement ceremonies. (Photo/Ryan Cameron rac86114@uga.edu)

Congratulations, you made it through another school year! Whether it’s your final semester and you’re graduating or you’re finishing up freshman year, take a second to think about everything that happened this past school year: the good, the bad and the ugly. While it’s no New Year’s celebration, it’s still an excellent time to reflect on what you’ve done and what you expect for the future.

College is a platform for growth, and each year we change in ways we may not even notice. While it may seem like a drag of never-ending studying and exams, we join extracurriculars, study subjects we’re passionate about and meet new people. The way we view the world shifts with every new experience. Through these years we become independent, figure out who we are, develop relationships and deal with hardships and successes. So much happens in this brief window of time that it’s important to contemplate where you’ve been and where you’re going.

“The buses suck during transitions, so it’s very possible to walk from SLC to MLC in fifteen minutes, and that it’s okay to be uncomfortable,” said Neha Reimoo, a psychology-biology rising sophomore. “Next year, I’m excited to have my own room. I’m over being in a dorm.”

Look, I know not everyone is into reflections and goal setting, but I’m not asking you to whip out construction paper, colored pens and magazine to make a dream board. It’s as simple as thinking about the past nine months while you’re driving to school or waiting in line for coffee. It’s a no-brainer that self-reflection is an invaluable tool for growth, so it really doesn’t hurt to take five minutes out of your 24 hour day to mull over your goals.

Just ask yourself two questions. What have I learned from this year? What do I look forward to next year?

“I learned that organic chemistry isn’t totally impossible, that college is way more fun when you find your people, and I will do almost anything to get a free t-shirt,” said Quinn Hlava, a psychology-biology rising senior. “I want next year to be full of fun, and I’m actually looking forward to the last couple classes I’m taking.”

Self-reflection doesn’t have to be existential questions. It’s really about looking back on what has transpired and the effect it’s had on your life. It can be something as simple as finishing a difficult class or learning the bus system.

Every school year is a new year for students. Along with the new textbooks and pencils comes fresh starts and ambitious goals. Take a second to appreciate how far you’ve come and how much further you can go.

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