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This is the postprint of an article published in the Journal of Experiential Education vol. 21 no. 3 (December 1998), pp. 147-152.

Copyright is retained by the author and by the Journal of Experiential Education.


In an effort to better understand the psychosocial and adjustment processes experienced by college students engaged in service learning, 22 randomly selected reflection journals were content-analyzed from a class of 44 child development students who had been engaged in service learning in a variety settings. Three of the themes that emerged in the journals involved students: feeling awkward during the first visits; feeling uncertain about redirecting children's misbehavior; and having ambivalent feelings when bringing their service learning experiences to an end. The coping mechanisms and resources upon which students draw to successfully grow beyond these initial challenges are discussed, as well as practical suggestions for facilitators of the service learning experience.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.