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2022 Student Reflection Essay Contest Winner


We are excited to announce the winner of this year's Reflection Essay Contest: Hannah Franklin.

To participate in the contest, students chose one pre-college program activity and wrote one 250-300 word essay. In the essay, they reflected on why they believe the activity had relevance to the development of their college preparedness. All pre-college students were invited to participate in the contest.

Hannah's winning essay submission is included below.

Weighing Risks

by Hannah Franklin

Walking through the door and taking our seats, we were ready to start our third day of the Environmental Studies Institute. Bound by our shared interest in the environment and sustainability, we prepared for another day of fascinating, engaging discussions. I could not wait to share the research we were instructed to complete the previous night. The assignment addressed the concept of risk perception. We asked multiple individuals to numerically rate several risks and, later, compared those numbers to the actual risk of each situation. This comparison exposed the differences between the average perception and the actual danger of the risks, as our data presented significant under and over estimates of the accurate numbers. 

Viewing this result, I came to a realization: Others’ inability to accurately predict risks no doubt leads to future stress and challenges. By leading me to discover this notion, this research assignment held the biggest relevance to the development of my college preparedness.

I am familiar with the frequent, overwhelming challenges present in school. At times, I would inaccurately assess the risks of these school-related situations, resulting in unintended consequences. Learning to better estimate these circumstances serves as a key tool to benefit my mental health and work habits throughout my academic career. Managing stressful thinking will effectively allow me to enjoy and bolster both my academic and social life by limiting unproductive thoughts and worries. This assignment also allowed me to realize how different opinions in both research and discussions provide a more enriching, thorough learning experience, proving essential for exploring new concepts and passions in college and beyond. Discovering these newly unlocked strategies of avoiding and eliminating the stress of overthinking, conducting thorough research, and engaging in meaningful conversations will undoubtedly help me confidently and successfully face challenges in college.

Want to read more about students' experiences in our programs?

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