Center for Citizenship and Community

Why and how do I reflect on my experience?

"Reflecting was one of my favorite components of the experience." ~ show more

Alex Tallentire '13, political science

Fulfilled Indianapolis Community Requirement by: Building bonds with refugees at Northview Middle School and First Baptist Church

For course: Introduction to International Politics and Political Science Research Methods

Favorite activity: Learning about himself through working with others

An "Aha!" moment: Writing/reflecting on the experience

While students are on site and participating in service-learning each week, they are often openly stressed at the idea of reflecting on their service. Reflecting was one of my favorite components of the experience. Like many students, I would sit down disgruntled at having to do another tedious assignment for class, but I would almost always leave the writing session refreshed and grounded. I had to isolate myself from the pace of my day to properly reflect on the exchanges and experiences I had encountered.

I can understand the stress students feel, but at the same time, I understand the worth of the professor's questions in encouraging students to think deeply about their experiences and to tie class information to service-learning. I would advise students to openly discuss their experiences and interact through service learning organically.


PO201 Reflection
Below is a response on this issue from a student in research methods ICR class. The passage does a great job of touching on issues related to reflecting on experience in this class: ~ show more

"It seemed an impossible task to be required to construct connections between the laughter, hardships, motivation, determination, failures, achievements, and lives of children fated to be blind - a monumental and fluid web of threads, each worthy of exploration in their own right - to the rigid demanding structure of academic research, observation, and analytical evaluation. No one, in my mind, could do such a thing, so then, it dawned on me:  I could not connect my service learning to specific readings, passages, essays, and research, but I could easily connect it to all of it. Service learning certainly is everything we talked about in class throughout the semester, but it is not one thing alone. It is ethnographic field notes. It is quantitative and qualitative analysis. It is the betterment of communities, but it is not any one of those in particular. It is everything. It is infinitely more than the sum of the parts that we explored in class. It is more than I can explain in a paper such as this. Service learning is an experience, and thus, it is something only fully understood when experienced, and attempting to sum it up in a few short pages-no matter the insight, analysis, or angle-seems nothing short of folly. There is simply not enough space on any amount of pages to describe the change of heart that occurs at some level within everyone who has experienced service learning."