Finals week is here, and the school year is coming to an end. This can be a bittersweet time. This may be the ending of a chapter for you, and the start of summer may be the beginning of a new chapter. During times of transition, it is important to look back on your experiences and growth.

Take time to mindfully reflect on your school year. What were your goals this year? Were you able to accomplish them? Imagine sitting down to have a conversation with yourself at the beginning of the school year. What advice would you give yourself back then? Were there times that you were too hard on yourself this year? What can you say to show yourself self-compassion now? As you gear up for what lies ahead, use your responses to these questions to guide you to make changes or to continue what works for you.

Reflecting on this past year can help you to continue growing. There might have been good times to celebrate over the past year, and there might have been rough patches as well. All of these experiences contributed to the person you are today, and they can help you to make choices that make you feel fulfilled.

Fulfillment comes from living a life that is in alignment with your values. What values are meaningful to you? Did your actions reflect your values this year? As you go into the summer and the next school year, how can you live your life in accordance with your values?

Remember that your values give you direction in life. They are not endpoints, like goals. They cannot be accomplished. Imagine yourself sailing through the clear Caribbean waters. Your goals are like islands, where you can visit them and then move on to a new island. However, values are like a compass, providing you direction to get to the islands. Though reaching the islands can be achieved like a goal, the compass itself is not a goal.

When making decisions or engaging in behaviors, whether big or small (like choosing a career vs. choosing what to eat for breakfast), tuning into your values can help guide you. Your values may change over time, so it is important to reflect on your life and what gives you meaning. As you leave this school year, how can you use your compass, or values, to live a meaningful life?

The Student Counseling Center wishes you all the best in your next chapter!

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