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Hod Klein, who is spending a year in Israel on Nativ before continuing on to college, remarked that his primary choice of reflection is through Torah U'Mada - experiencing Torah through science.
As an EMT, Klein acknowledges that science makes his "belief in Hashem a lot stronger."
He remarked that, "This applies in all sciences: biology, physics and chemistry. And especially in the medical field, such as when doing CPR. The feeling of reviving someone is amazing and you must remember it was not only you who did the work; God's hand is there, too."
One Boston student would disagree. A member of the class of 2006, he reflects about three times a day, in the context of prayer: Shaharit, Minhah, and Maariv.
"I reflect on who I am and what I want to change. By doing this all the time, I can make myself a better person."
Klein remarked that it isn't as easy for him.
"I try to have kavvanah (intent) whenever I daven, but it is a very hard thing to do. It comes easiest for me when I understand the words," he explained, "which is why it's so important for kids to be taught the translation and meaning of davening in schools."
But what is the ideal place or situation to self-reflect? Some, like the Boston student above, would say that the best way to find oneself is in the context of tefillah - prayer.
On, the other hand, Shoshi Rosenbaum, a student in the joint program between Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary prefers to daven sometimes in nature and sometimes in a synagogue, where everyone in the vicinity is focusing on the same kind of prayer.
Craig Messer, a student at SUNY Albany, expresses a view that applies to many of us, but we might be shy to admit:
"I reflect, sometimes during my davening, but mostly in the shower. I don't sit down and close my eyes; when something comes to my mind, I think about it, and then let the thought pass."
In general, Rosenbaum would recommend self-reflection. "It helps me gain understanding, a greater sense of the world and my place in it."
But whether or not the "average college student" actually engages in self-reflection, she acknowledged that "one of the main aspects of the college years is creating a sense of self. Whether or not the average college student is aware of it, I believe that self-reflection is something that always occurs, at least somewhat, during the college years."
In contrast, Andrew Mangino, a student at Yale University, feels that "reflecting is important, but only to an extent. It's also just as important not to reflect too much, because you aren't just who you have been, you are who you want to be. Those who have too many reflective moments start dwelling too much on the past. It's good to just move on, and conquer a new aspect of life, and let your intuition do the trick."
Either way, with the High Holidays right around the corner, we're reminded every morning with the sound of the shofar, the ram's horn, to "Wake up and smell the coffee!" so that we're ready to confess everything we did wrong for the past year. But, as Mangino would agree, reflection should not be an excuse or a method to dwell in the past.
As the prolific writer Charles Dickens once wrote, "Reflect on your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some."
Hinda Eisen is a Special Education major at Boston University School of Education, class of 2009. She enjoys writing, having been on her school's newspaper staff and Board of Directors in high school, and also loves to write in her spare time. Hinda enjoys learning new things, especially about Judaic studies and thinking creatively about painting, sketching, singing and taking photographs.