There is so much to look forward to when an academic year ends—especially if it ends with your graduation. It’s just such a happy and exciting time! In the midst of all the excitement it’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget to really step back and appreciate your big accomplishment.
Taking time to self-reflect on all the good you accomplished (and the dips along the way) is the best stepping stone for your next phase in life—whether that phase be a new school year in the fall, or starting your career. I really encourage new grads to take a moment after the celebrations have quieted down and really review all the progress you made. Reflecting on your past work is so beneficial because by putting to paper (or just vocalizing) your accomplishments will help you cement your own self-worth and boost your confidence in your own ability.
Another benefit is that by reviewing your milestones and experiences, you’ll be able to notice what works for you in regards to setting and achieving goals, as well as missteps to avoid in the future. By recognizing what it is you need to succeed, you’ll learn from your past behavior and be able to plan your future goals accordingly.
This is also a good time to remember all your supporters. I remember after graduation, I wrote down all the people that helped make it happen. The list helped me become truly cognizant of both my professional network and other supporters. In my case, I had always known certain people had been supportive and helpful, but taking time to remember the actions they took to help me, reminded me that I didn’t earn my J.D. in a vacuum; rather than take away from my accomplishment, this acknowledgment embolden me because I could see how many people had been confident in and rooting for my success—even on days when I didn’t think I was going to make it.
More importantly, reflecting on the steps you had to take to reach your goal will help you remember that there isn’t any other goal you can’t accomplish, without hard work and dedication. You may be the only one in your family to attend college; you may not know any other Latino law students; or have little experience practicing, but that won’t matter when we remember that a long time ago, we set a goal to become an attorney; in spite of statistics that said it would be too hard for us to make it, and with hard work and dedication we are accomplishing that goal.