Bass Connections experiences are fast-paced and multi-faceted and often require students to adapt quickly to new kinds of knowledge and new styles of collaboration. These experiences can also be transformative, sparking new ideas, uncovering alternative perspectives and causing us to rethink how and what we know. Because this kind of learning can be both disorienting and enlightening, we encourage all students to incorporate reflective practices into their Bass Connections experience.
Reflection is an indispensable part of the learning process that encourages us to think carefully and critically about our thoughts, feelings, experiences and actions. When we reflect, we give ourselves time to consider how we gather, process and apply new information, how we interact with others and how we approach and assess problems. Reflecting can also help us better understand our own beliefs, assumptions and biases, help us identify strengths and weaknesses, make us better aware of how we learn and help us articulate how we arrived at the present and envision a path into the future.
We encourage students to reflect on what they've learned from their Bass Connections experience. Reflection can help you consolidate your experience and articulate what you've learned and how you've grown. The process and products of reflection can also help you better communicate what your team did and what skills you've developed, an important skill for interviews with future employers, essays for graduate school, applications for future research funding, etc.
What Are Reflections?
Reflections can take many forms and can be completed individually or as a team. They can be written in blog or essay form; they can be completed interview-style through Q&A; they can take shape around a collection of photos; they can even incorporate video or audio recordings.
A section of the Bass Connections website hosts a growing collection of student reflections. These reflections offer first-person accounts of experiences on year-long project teams, semester-long courses and through affiliated summer programs, and explore how Bass Connections has shaped students’ pathways at Duke and beyond.
Examples of student reflections of varying forms on our site include:
- Closing a Part of My Life: Two Years in the Cost of Opportunity Project by Adair Necalli (text and photos)
- Notes from the Peruvian Amazon I, II, III and IV by Kelsey Lansdale, Melissa Marchese, and Jackie Gerson (text and photo series)
- Math and a Masterpiece with Rachel Yin (transcribed interview)
- Tracking Infectious Disease in Malaysia with Laura Borkenhagen, Jane Fieldhouse and Sarah Philo (radio podcast)
- Four Views of Bass Connections (video interviews)
Examples of student reflections by degree type:
- Undergraduates: Ryan Fitzgerald, Katie Kanter, Jess Chen, Tori Trimm, Nathan Liang
- Graduate students: Kathleen Burns, Alex Rudee, Lizzie Hunsaker, Trey Sinyard, Hannah Ontiveros
Who Do I Talk to about Reflections?
We encourage students interested in writing reflections for publication to take a look at these optional reflection prompts and talk to Meghan O’Neil, Assistant Director of Bass Connections. Meghan is available to discuss the forms a reflection can take, brainstorm and workshop ideas and strategize sharing your work with the larger Duke community and beyond.