Session 1: Defining myself and how I feel about my present situation


Photograph of a young man gazing at his reflection in a mirror
Figure 1.1

What is reflection?

Reflection is a process that involves thinking and understanding – an honest exploration and examination of our previous experiences. Here it is thinking about things you have done and experienced in your life, and working out what you have learned from them so that you can better understand the person you are now, your qualities, what you are capable of and what you want to do. This kind of thinking can be helpful for anyone, at any time of life, whoever you are and whatever situation you are in.

The scope of your reflection can vary. For example, you might want to reflect on what you’ve learned from a recent work placement, caring responsibilities or study experience, or you might want to just take an overview of your life as a whole.

Reflection can be uncomfortable, depending on previous experiences, but it can also be liberating as we develop a better understanding of ourselves and our situation, and can then move on. This is what one student said about their reflections:

To see back – you know what you did, what was your background, and you see now, what’s your position – it’s something useful to you today – or you can use it for the future. […] It makes you stop and think … yeah … you have a degree, you have something, you are not just – because you have a problem in this country, and you can’t do much, it doesn’t mean you are not capable or you don’t have anything.

(OU student at Bridges Programmes)