The path to success for a new professor or academic writer is a long one. It is often a hero’s journey. A hero undergoes a transformation by the end of his journey. But that transformation is not possible without reflection. At each segment of your journey, pause and reflect on your beliefs and actions. Spend some time examining whether your beliefs and actions are helping you along your path to success. Consider the journaling prompts in the following section to help you reflect on your academic journey.
Journaling prompts to use for reflecting on your academic journey
You don’t have to do the questions in one day. In fact, do them over one week. Be truthful to yourself when answering. The objective of these questions is to bring your writing struggles out of the shadows and into the light.
- Why do you want an academic life? Does it have a bigger purpose for you? Or is it a personal desire? And why so?
- What do you believe the academic life is about? How do you envision your days, weeks and months to be filled with? This is your ideal academic life.
- What do you deeply desire for your academic career?
- Are you living the academic life you think it should be? What is your actual academic life? How is your actual academic life compare with your ideal?
- What anxieties are associated with your academic life?
- Does your academic writing bring you joy or do you feel wretched?
- What causes your writing projects to stall?
- Do you ask for help in your writing? Do you speak or write about your writing issues if and when you have them?
- What are your feelings as you approach a writing session? What about during the session and after it?
- Do you believe writing skills can be learned and why?
- How do you feel about your academic journey thus far? Which aspects of your writing and academic career do you fear? What about your writing and academic career do you regret?
- What are you grateful for in your writing and academic life?
Review your reflections periodically
A final word on this. Keep your answers in a place that you can return to in the next 6 months or one year. Your answers will help guide you to the changes you need to make in order to live the academic life you dream off. Change is not going to happen overnight so you want to have your beginning point and the description of your dream academic life on hand to benchmark yourself against later on.
As you continue your journey, review your reflections periodically. You may be surprised at the changes you make or how your thinking evolves.
Your journey to your success is worth your time and energy to review your beliefs and actions along the way.