As soon as the first warm day of spring hits, two words float around in sermons, magazines, commercials, and cutesy motivational internet posts: spring cleaning. Sure, there’s a lot of symbolism behind why spring is the best time to clean up your space, but realistically that’s just an excuse to motivate yourself that the time is now. Giving your dorm or apartment a deep clean or de-cluttering your closet can feel nice, but the surface-level clean only lasts for so long before you fall into the habits of throwing clothes across your room and seeing how long you can really go without dusting. This spring, try something more effective than a surface-level spring clean: spring clean your priorities.
College is a time of growth, and sometimes we can get tangled in old habits, old ambitions, and old relationships that drag us down and keep us from moving forwards as our new self. Even if you have new priorities for yourself, it’s hard to break the habits created from previous priorities. I’m not saying to cut all ties from your family and friends and adopt a new persona, but every once in awhile it’s good to get a perspective on where you were, where you are now, and where you want to be, or more specifically who you were, who you are, and who you want to become. Here’s a few questions to get you started.
What topics or issues close to your heart can you not ignore?
Have you been rigorously following the gun control debate, mental health awareness, or the effects of a natural disaster? Look into ways you can get involved and contribute. Whether it’s through joining an organization, registering to vote, finding a way to donate time or money, or simply researching more about the topic, find one that’s interesting to you.
What is something you’re currently involved in that your passion has faded for?
Has your passion faded because you’ve been too busy balancing the rest of your life to focus on your passion, or is it because your interests have shifted in a different direction? It can be scary to admit to yourself that the excitement and passion you held for something just isn’t there anymore. It can be hard to let the past go, but by freeing yourself up from commitments you’re not dedicated to, you can create room to pursue a new passion.
What is a passion or activity you want to devote yourself to but don’t think you have the time to?
Yeah, so maybe that New Year’s resolution didn’t quite happen. Sure, you meant to workout or read or practice an instrument everyday, but then life got in the way. What is something you can cut out from your day, and what is something you can add? Maybe instead of clicking the “Play next episode” button on Netflix you could opt for journaling or sketching. Or, you could use the time to call a friend. Adjusting schedules is hard, especially when your current time management has become a habit. To keep yourself on track, find a friend and encourage each other to stick to your goals.
What relationships are you struggling to hold on to?
Are you staying in some relationships out of obligation instead of actual connection? It can be hard to let people go, especially old friends, but sometimes life, time, and growth tugs people in different directions. You don’t have to completely cut those people off like thorns on a rose, but don’t feel trapped in relationships because of habit. It’s okay to recognize that some relationships might be more draining than supportive, and distance can help put your relationships in perspective.
Who are the people you’re grateful for?
Think of the people who support you no matter what—best friends, parents, siblings, professors, even that nice checkout lady at the grocery store—and think of a few small ways you can let them know you’re grateful for their unending love and support. Make a hand-written note, get them their favorite food or a gift card to their favorite restaurant, offer to buy them coffee or see a movie with them. You wouldn’t be who you are without the people supporting you, and it’s a good time to stop, reflect, and thank the people responsible for helping you become you, because even if you aren’t exactly where you want to be in life, reorganizing your approach, planning intentional actions, and getting a new perspective can help you take the first tentative step towards de-cluttering your priorities in order to blossom this spring.