Reflection journal, better known as RJ to Republic Polytechnic students, can be a source of dread to some. One may procrastinate doing it until the last minute or not even do it at all.
If you can relate to that, it might be a sign that you are experiencing burnout. Signs of burnout include having low quality sleep, feeling moody, lacking motivation and submitting a poorer than usual quality of work.
So here are four suggestions that can help you cope with that almost daily task after class.
Freewriting is the practice of writing without any prescribed structure and simply writing whatever comes to mind. Instead of stressing out over how to answer your RJ question, write down whatever you have learnt from class that day onto a blank sheet of paper or digital canvas. It doesn’t matter if it is messy, as long as it is legible to you.
Afterwards, use this as a visual aid for your RJ to help you structure your answers better. Freewriting acts as a physical brain dump that allows you to pick apart pieces of information and organise them.
Writing takes time and freewriting allows you to reduce that mental burden by letting you think aloud.
2. PACE YOURSELF
You could also make sure to pace yourself throughout the day. School days can be tiring for everyone, especially when you have IG (interest group) activities on that day or school ends late for you.
So try to take some time to recharge yourself to ensure that you will have sufficient energy to do your RJ after class. To avoid a situation where you feel too exhausted to do your RJ, make sure that you do not exert yourself. Alternatively, you can also space out your homework throughout the day.
For example, finish your worksheet during break so that you will only be left with RJ after school. This will give you more time to reflect on the lesson and write it down with more depth and detail.
3. BE RELEVANT WITH DETAILS
When writing your RJ, focus on the quality of the work. Some students tend to write lengthy essays in their RJ because they assume that a longer word count will increase their chances of obtaining a good RJ grade, However, this is not necessarily the case. It depends on the module that you are taking and the RJ’s question(s).
Some modules do require you to write a substantial essay to cover all the aspects learned in that lesson. But if you write a long essay that fails to answer the question, you will score badly. So why tire yourself out by trying to increase the word count for your essay?
The key is to ensure that the details you include and the examples you use to support your points are relevant and showcase your understanding of the lesson.
4. TALK TO YOUR FACILITATORS
Finally, if you are feeling stressed out about the RJ, talk to your lecturers about it. Clarifying doubts and knowing what they are looking for in your RJ might be a ticket to an A for your CAG grade.
Getting a better explanation of the RJ is critical to interpreting it correctly. This ensures that your reflection is not out of point.
Some lecturers even allow for point-form submissions, or they may even allow for an extension. But be sure to provide the reasons and proof if you really need an exception.
If you are currently experiencing writing burnout as a student, know that you are not alone. I hope that these tips help you with your next RJ!