Magnify your bright spots

Students, as you come to the end of yet another academic year, it’s the perfect time to do an autopsy. Not one that involves corpses. I mean a critical evaluation and assessment of the school year that is now in the past.

Not just the stuff that shows up on a transcript or a test score report (though those should be evaluated, too), but also your activities, hobbies, friendships, relationships with teachers and other adults in your life, and anything else that comes to mind as you review your year.

And as you look back over the year, I encourage you to think really hard about two things.

1. What went well, made you happy, or otherwise is a nice memory as you gaze at the past year in your mental rearview mirror?

2. How could you do even more of that in the future?

One of the unfortunate upshots of the escalating arms race of college admissions is the obsession with identifying and polishing perceived weaknesses. I don’t discount that there can be value in addressing serious faults, failures, or other things that just didn’t turn out as you’d hoped. But there’s far more value—and satisfaction—to be found in magnifying (and celebrating) your bright spots.