Students are asked to reflect in many different ways, and often reflect without a prompt or assignment. Sometimes, reflective activities are not typical engineering assignments and students can derive a range of meanings or value for the activity. There are several reasons for students to actively participate in reflection.
Taking the time to examine a past experience or performance on a task is a simple strategy that successful engineers use on a regular basis. As a student, taking the time to reflect on coursework, co-curricular, and professional experiences will assist you in developing your strategies for success, or refine your goals in the short and long term. Oftentimes, professors or academic advisors ask their students to reflect in order to prompt some sort of action for the students’ benefit.
Reflection may take a little of your time, but the outcomes are generally positive. The chance to reflect can help you identify concepts that you may misunderstand, help you consider your identity as an engineering student, and inform your path going forward. Reflection is also a different type of learning experience that provides you an opportunity to explain and make sense of what you know, or may not know. The exercise also helps improve communication with others about your knowledge and ability.
Thinking about what is really important can be a difficult task, especially in the busy life of a student. With many demands on time and energy, the chance to think about what is actually important, and potentially reprioritize your activities may be very helpful. As an emerging professional, your resume and transcript only tell part of the story about your abilities and knowledge. By participating in reflective activities, you may be able to develop key stories to share with an interviewer, plan studying for your next engineering course, or specify the field of engineering in which you would like to work.