10 Concepts for Reflecting on the Finish of the Faculty 12 months


Up to date for 2024, with a new companion pupil and trainer discussion board!


You might need begun the varsity yr with our 10 concepts for constructing group, all of which have been impressed by Instances options. Now, as the educational yr involves a detailed, right here is one other checklist, one each academics and college students can use — ideally working collectively.

Beneath, 10 methods to mirror on the yr that was, take into consideration what you discovered, notice the way you grew and altered — and think about what all of it means for subsequent yr.

We’re additionally publishing a companion writing immediate to which we invite each college students and academics to reply. The immediate echoes the workout routines beneath, and we invite you to share any a part of your considering that you just’d prefer to make public.

Completely satisfied almost-summer, and thanks once more for educating and studying with The New York Instances.


Do you ever journal? In line with this Instances article, scientific research have proven a daily follow may also help with each bodily and psychological well being:

There are the plain advantages, like a lift in mindfulness, reminiscence and communication abilities. However research have additionally discovered that writing in a journal can result in higher sleep, a stronger immune system, extra self-confidence and a greater I.Q.

Even when it’s not a daily follow for you, you would possibly use a journal as a non-public house to deal with these reflections, responding to any of the prompts or workout routines that resonate with you.

Listed here are among the questions we’re posting in our associated discussion board that may assist you to get began:

  • What do you wish to keep in mind about this college yr? Why?

  • What stunned you?

  • What challenged you?

  • What successes are you most happy with?

  • What did you study, whether or not in or out of college?

  • How have you ever grown?

  • How might you construct on that progress subsequent yr?

  • How are you proper now? How would you describe your emotional well-being at this second, and why?

While you’re completed, reread your work. Are there items you’d prefer to make public, both to others in your college group or by way of our associated discussion board? What did you study your self from doing this train? What could be useful to share with others?


Although this concept for making a Extra/Much less checklist was revealed in early January 2021, because the world was nonetheless grappling with pandemic isolation, you possibly can borrow the train to assume again on this college yr — and plan forward for the subsequent one.

First ask your self, what do I would like extra of in my life? What would I prefer to drop?

Right here’s what to do subsequent:

Seize a chunk of paper and draw a line down the middle to create your drawing space. On the left, write the phrase “Extra” on the high. On the precise, write the phrase “Much less.” Now consider the issues that you just loved this yr (you can even think about issues that may carry you pleasure sooner or later). After you have an thought, draw a easy icon to symbolize it and draw it within the Extra column. If you would like extra jogging in your life, perhaps draw a sneaker. Do the identical for the Much less facet: If you would like much less social media, perhaps draw a cellphone.

These drawings don’t should be practical or properly rendered; they simply should be recognizable to you. Consider them as secret symbols that remind you of your intention. In the event you fear you would possibly neglect what you meant, you possibly can label them with a couple of letters to remind your self. It’s OK to make your symbols easy (a coronary heart, a plus signal) or summary (a scribble, an x). That is the yr forward for you!

You would possibly then share your lists in small teams, or show them gallery-style on the classroom wall. What concepts do you see on others’ lists that belong by yourself?


The concept that battle is important to studying is well-established, based on Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford College and an professional on constructive studying mind-sets. Her concepts and people of different specialists are a part of this piece, about instructional methods constructed on the concept problem is one thing to embrace within the classroom.

Each it and one other latest Instances piece, “Tear It Up and Begin Once more,” emphasize this level:

All of us fail to satisfy our objectives typically. (In the event you’re not failing sometimes, the objectives you’re setting are too secure and straightforward.) That’s not an issue. What’s an issue is failing and never studying out of your errors.

That will help you do exactly that, listed here are some questions impressed by each items:

  • When did you permit your consolation zone this tutorial yr? How did you stretch your self? What occurred while you did?

  • What did you battle with, and even fail at, this yr? What was exhausting about it?

  • What helped while you struggled? What did you do to get your self “out of the pit” of frustration, nervousness or confusion?

  • What might you construct on, in the event you have been to confront a problem like this once more?

  • Trying again, what did you study from battle or failure this yr? How would possibly that assist you to sooner or later?


Like journaling, a daily gratitude follow wherein you consciously rely your blessings has been proven to make folks happier and more healthy. What are you grateful for this college yr? Make as lengthy an inventory as you possibly can.

Then, think about taking the train a bit additional with a “gratitude letter”:

In one examine, researchers recruited 300 adults, most of them faculty college students looking for psychological well being counseling. All of the volunteers obtained counseling, however one group added a writing train targeted on dangerous experiences, whereas one other group wrote a letter of gratitude to a different individual every week for 3 weeks. A month later, those that wrote gratitude letters reported considerably higher psychological well being. And the impact seems to final. Three months later the researchers scanned the brains of scholars whereas they accomplished a special gratitude train. The scholars who had written gratitude letters earlier within the examine confirmed larger activation in part of the mind known as the medial prefrontal cortex, believed to be associated to each reward and higher-level cognition.

This yr, the Properly part ran a “happiness problem,” and a part of it concerned writing this type of letter. Whom would you select to obtain yours? Is there somebody who made an actual distinction in your life this tutorial yr, whether or not a trainer, pupil, coach, good friend or relative?

Right here is Properly’s recommendation for getting began:

Take into account what you’d thank this individual for in the event you thought you’d by no means see them once more. Take a couple of minutes and write down what you’d inform them, with as many particular examples as potential. Don’t overthink it: It may be each dashed off and straight from the guts. Consider it as a eulogy for the residing.

Then ship it — by e-mail, textual content, handwritten notice, no matter. The medium doesn’t matter; sending it does.

Or, in the event you don’t wish to ship a letter to another person, think about sending one to your self. FutureMe is a web site that means that you can write an e-mail that shall be delivered to you in six months, a yr, three years, 5 years and even 10 years from now. What would you prefer to say to your future self? Why?

And for much more recommendation on gratitude practices, learn among the suggestions gleaned from over 800 Instances readers who despatched of their concepts.


What music sums up this yr for you? Make an inventory and clarify your decisions to others by way of quick written annotations that specific what’s notable or evocative about these songs, what they assist you to keep in mind, and why they’ve been a significant a part of your 2022-23 soundtrack.

In the event you’d like an instance for the way to do that, check out Playlist, a weekly tour of notable new music and movies chosen by Instances critics. With sharp and interesting commentary, they analyze every of the ten or so tracks of their roundup — breaking down lyrics, dissecting the instrumentals and discussing the place the tracks match within the present music panorama. Right here’s one from Might that includes Kendrick Lamar, Miranda Lambert, Illuminati Hotties, Mabe Fratti and others.

While you’re achieved, share what you’ve gotten. Are there songs that seem on a couple of individual’s checklist? If that’s the case, maybe you possibly can compile a category playlist to take heed to, when you do a few of these reflection workout routines.


In November, the workers of The New York Instances Ebook Evaluate selected the ten finest fiction and nonfiction books of 2023 and wrote a paragraph about every.

For instance, right here is the outline for “Chain-Gang All-Stars,” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah:

A dystopian satire wherein death-row inmates duel on TV for an opportunity at freedom, Adjei-Brenyah’s debut novel — following his 2018 story assortment, “Friday Black” — pulls the reader into the keen viewers, making us complicit with the bloodthirsty followers sitting ringside. “As a lot as this guide made me chuckle at these elements of the world I acknowledged as being mocked, it additionally made me want I acknowledged much less of it,” Giri Nathan wrote in his evaluate. “The US of ‘Chain-Gang All-Stars’ is like ours, if sharpened to absurd factors.” Amid a wrenching love story between two high opponents who’re compelled to decide on between one another and freedom, the struggle scenes are so properly written they show how straightforward it could be to just accept a world this sick.

What have been the very best books you learn this yr, in or exterior of college? What quick descriptions might you write recommending at the least a kind of books to future readers? Who do you assume could be the viewers for that guide, and why would they prefer it? These descriptions can then be posted as “shelf talkers” in classroom or college libraries for subsequent yr’s college students. Right here’s an instance of how one college used shelf talkers to have fun Hispanic Heritage Month.


Make an information visualization of some facet of your tutorial or private life this yr. You would possibly use our “What’s Going On in This Graph” characteristic as inspiration for each the kind of knowledge to symbolize and the type of graph to finest show it.

For instance, what does a typical college day seem like for you proper now? How might you graph that to point out the breakdown of time you spend going to lessons, doing homework, taking part in extracurriculars, enjoyable or spending time with pals or household? What does your graph disclose to you? Or, as we ask college students weekly in our “WGOITG?” characteristic: What do you discover? What do you marvel?

To determine what you’d like to visualise, first gather some knowledge that pursuits you. Your cellphone could be a supply of issues, just like the variety of steps you absorb a day, your common appointments, or whom you textual content most frequently. It’s also possible to begin amassing new knowledge by noticing and measuring elements of your life that curiosity you, whether or not about your bodily or psychological well being, your habits, relationships, hobbies, objectives, consumption of social media, or the rest, massive or small.

Subsequent, think about the right way to show it. This assortment of over 75 graphs from The New York Instances will present you maps and pie charts, scatter plots and bar graphs. It’s also possible to invent your personal approach to present what you’ve collected by experimenting with the expressive prospects of form, colour and line. The Pricey Knowledge mission, wherein two info designers collected and hand-drew their private knowledge for a yr, can provide inspiration.


What are the neglected and unappreciated issues in your college group that you just would possibly miss now that the yr is over? A category or membership or sport? A spot you want to hang around? A selected meals within the cafeteria? A convention or ritual?

You would possibly work with others to brainstorm an inventory, then every select one merchandise and write a vivid paragraph, or shoot a brief, compelling video, that celebrates it. That work would possibly then be revealed in your college newspaper or in your college’s web site as suggestions for others.


What distinctive, helpful or fascinating abilities did you purchase this yr, in or out of college? Might you educate them to others? Remember the fact that these new abilities may be very small — extra “I discovered the right way to use a semicolon” than “I wrote a novel.”

Some good fashions? This yr we invited youngsters everywhere in the world to take inspiration from the Tip column, a long-running characteristic in The Instances Journal, and write their very own quick “how-to’s.” Right here is the work of the 11 winners:

How might you break down the talent you’d like to show into steps that would assist others grasp it too?


Studying usually means altering your thoughts. As you deepen your understanding of a subject, your considering turns into extra nuanced. Was there an necessary matter or concern about which you modified your thoughts this yr? How did that occur?

On the finish of 2022, The Instances’s Opinion part mirrored on “The 22 Debates That Made Us Rage, Roll Our Eyes, and Change Our Minds in 2022.” Right here is how they framed it:

Debating is what we do right here at Instances Opinion. Good-faith back-and-forth is on the core of our mission and our each day work. We offer you arguments, you resolve what to assume. And so after we evaluate the key occasions of the previous yr — which included a land struggle in Europe, the collapse of crypto and, sure, The Slap — it’s solely pure for us to mirror on the debates: What can america do to attempt to finish that struggle? Is crypto an affordable factor to spend money on? When is it acceptable to hit somebody within the face for making a joke about your spouse?

As 2022 nears its finish, we’re presenting 22 of the debates that outlined the yr, revisiting those you would possibly keep in mind (and reminding you of those you might need tried to neglect) and asking a very powerful query of all: Did you alter your thoughts?

The Instances article is interactive, so it’s straightforward so that you can document the way you felt in regards to the points listed, then see how different readers voted. Do you keep in mind discussing any of those subjects in class?

Lastly, take into consideration what you discovered from revising an opinion, whether or not it was about one thing within the information, a tutorial topic or a problem in your private life. How might the method of rethinking your opinion assist you to sooner or later?


When this put up first ran, we had a companion discussion board the place we invited academics and college students to put up ideas about any of the reflection workout routines on this piece. Over 500 did, and it’s possible you’ll take pleasure in scrolling via a few of these responses.

We’ve opened a brand new discussion board for 2024 that poses the identical questions. Like final yr, we hope to listen to from school rooms internationally, and we hope you’ll take a while not solely to put up your personal ideas however to touch upon the responses of others.

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