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Spring is a Time to Grow: Reflect with Some Personal Time

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Andrew Carnegie, the man who funded and started libraries, had many secrets to his success –  one of which was a daily time of reflection.  Andrew Carnegie was an extremely busy man who in 2018 dollars was worth over 300 billion dollars from his vast holdings (compare that to Jeff Bezos who, today is worth 129 billion).  If a super-busy baron like Carnegie made sure he had personal time to reflect, shouldn’t your child (and even you) do the same?

At Getting Into The Ivys we always strive for excellence.  We give your child support, mentoring and encouragement-a bulletproof test prep system administered by premium educators.  It is natural for parents and students to think that tutoring, test prep, etc. is all about cramming in dump truck loads of information so that a person’s brain is full and can spit out the information at test time.   While storing and retrieving large amounts of information is important, your brain needs healthy ways to be able to maintain those functions.

When people think of Spring, they think of a time of refreshing or things coming alive.  We have all had to refresh our computers.  Isn’t it frustrating to have your computer freeze right in the middle of something important? Depending upon what is going on, that refreshing can feel like it takes forever.  You want to get your thoughts out and type them out and have them appear on screen or you need to get to a certain website for some important information; but your computer needs a little break, some time to refresh. Behind the screen, your computer is processing a lot of information and, when you find the time to meditate and reflect you are giving your brain the chance to do something similar – refresh.

The great philosophers of millennia past used to give themselves vast amounts of time to reflect and think. Even just two hundred years ago, our founding fathers and people of that time gave themselves time to just sit and think.  Taking time to reflect on your goals, both short term and long term helps you look at the “Big Picture”.  When you are in the grind of school, homework, tutoring, after-school jobs, extracurricular activities, etc. it is easy to get lost in the shuffle and perhaps even ask yourself: “What is the point of all this?”.  Some personal time can help you relax, regroup, refresh, and remind you of why you are working so hard in the first place.

Reflecting on what you have learned is also a great tool for success. As mentioned above, many great minds use reflection as one of their tools for productivity.  Here is a suggestion. Imagine going to your favorite quiet spot, maybe a park, or a lake and planning to be there for a few hours without any distractions (that means cell phone turned off).  Now imagine just relaxing for let’s say half an hour and then moving on to think about the various subjects you are taking at school.  For each one, think about what you have learned so far.  Think about what you would like to learn. Think about your successes.  Think about where you missed questions on a test, and how you could have answered those differently. This deeper thinking helps you grow.  Remember, the key for those who reflect have the goal of not only doing better but learn: “HOW TO DO BETTER”.  Reflecting can give you that know-how.

Meditation and reflection for personal and academic growth is a powerful tool.  Reflecting on your work can enhance its meaning and give you insight and depth to your learning.  Linking your current experience with past learning is a great way to recharge; use your brain in a different way and gain even deeper learning.

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