How 15 Minutes of Self Reflection Saved Me Two Years Toiling on Wall Street

This is a guest post by Phil Strazzulla, a current MBA candidate at Harvard University and Founder of 

Recording Memories - Version 2
I’ve kept a journal in some form or another since 5th grade. Sometimes I write every day, and sometimes I go a few months without writing anything down. The consistent trend with my writing is that I get a lot of value out of it.

The brain has an amazing capacity to change our memories and backfill history, so I’ve learned. But, the act of recording history trumps your brain’s ability to deceive.

One act of journaling was quite pivotal in my life: After my junior of college year, I interned at a large investment bank. I didn’t have a great summer and knew I wanted to do something else after school.

Nonetheless, 3 weeks after getting back to campus in September, I was ready to sign my full time offer for said bank. I’d completely forgotten how much I was dissatisfied with my internship, and what my original goals were.

Luckily, before I signed the offer, I re-read a journal entry I’d written over the summer, and remembered how much I didn’t want to go back….the 15 minute exercise of writing that journal entry literally saved me a few years in a job I didn’t want.

Because of this experience, I created

Self reflection is hard. It requires discipline, recording relevant information, and then unearthing this information at the right time in the future.River Guides is an idea born out of this need.

Through ten minutes of work, you can beat your mind’s ability to backfill history, and make sure you’re prepared to get what you truly want out of your internship.

It’s 100% free and confidential – I built this after my own experience so that my classmates could benefit from this feedback loop in a frictionless way that captures the most relevant information.

Check us out at

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  • Zara Yost

    I too have kept a journal since childhood and I agree that personal reflection, when expressed in writing, is a significant key to understanding oneself. Especially when it comes to a momentous decision like a job or a move. However, for personal growth, I hesitate to look back too often to previous entries. I think that it is imperative to choose the “right time” to look back. I think what you describe above to be a truly insightful moment in your life and I applaud your trying to give others a chance to experience that you had. I recommend the sight to look and feel more like a journal. One that invites those who use it to express emotions and intelligent thoughts. You’re on the right track!

    • philstrazzulla

      Zara – thanks a lot for checking out my post and visiting RiverGuides.

      If you have more specific feedback on how to make the site better, please send me an email at phil (at) philstrazzulla dot com. I’d love to hear your ideas!