Take Time to Reflect

By: Erica Marks

As my time at Penn comes to a close, I find that I am still moving at full speed. In my short, one-year Masters program I am constantly consumed by courses, work and creating a plan for life after Penn. How is it that there are only two short months until graduation? Where has the time gone?

After a week (and weekend) of an exhausting amount of paper writing, I realized what I needed – reflection. Like so many overbooked Penn students, I was operating at an unsustainably fast pace. So I decided I would try it out. How had I not thought of this before? I looked up the definition, Webster’s claims that reflection is, “ a thought, idea or opinion formed; or a remark made as a result of meditation.” It sounded so simple, like something I could accomplish at yoga class. Kill two birds with one stone, you know.

And then it hit me like a brick. Reflection isn’t something that I can multi-task. It can’t be checked off my to-do list. If I couldn’t schedule it, how was I going to do it? Taking time to sleep is difficult enough. The thought of taking time to reflect (when its not conveniently coupled with another task) seems absurd. There is so much pressure to know what you are doing next, there is no time to stop and live in the present.

Taking time to reflect means slowing down enough to stop, enjoy the adventure and figure out what is really important to YOU. Learn what you like and dislike. Do something for fun… for you. All of this reflection may actually help you plan for the future, weird.

I learned something this weekend, in my reflections. You can have ideas about what you want, but you cannot plan your life to a tee. Some of the most important decisions and opportunities will come to you in ways in which you cannot predict. So take some time reflect. And I don’t mean during yoga class.

Author: erica

Erica Marks is a graduate of Penn's Graduate School of Education and a former Graduate Intern in Career Services working with Wharton undergrads.