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Last month, for many of us, marked the start of a new school year. The first few weeks are always stressful, since we need to deal with new classes, some of us work one or more jobs, and many are involved in clubs, sports, and other activities. This time of turmoil leads to a lot of late nights and early mornings, missed assignments and skipped classes, and, of course, burnout.

There is some good that comes from change, however. I like to treat a new school year much in the same way that people treat the new calendar year: as a time to make resolutions and improve my habits and skills. This feels more impactful to me, as I like to make resolutions during times that are already full of change, and the start of a new school year is more impactful for me than now needing to write 2022 instead of 2021. I’ve found some success in making resolutions this way, and there is even some research suggesting that now is a better time to make new goals. This year I have several that I would like to fulfill.

Journal Keeping

One of my New Years’ resolutions was to keep a journal, and I did okay at it until summer hit. Keeping up with daily entries went out the window as soon as I was able to sleep in and lost most of my sense of responsibility. Now I want to start it up again and am slowly catching up. To make sure I stay on top of it, I’ve been taking my journal to class with me to remind myself to write in it.

Planning

I’ve always been pretty good at planning and keeping track of my to-dos, but this year I have an extra long list of things to track. I’m in four classes, work two jobs, and am an officer in two on-campus jobs.

That’s quite a lot on my plate, and that isn’t even accounting for hanging out with friends and my personal time. I have ADHD, so sometimes I have problems remembering events that I told myself I would, so to alleviate my stress and make sure that I don’t forget things, I’ve been doing some very detailed schedule keeping, putting things like hangouts and events on my calendar that I previously wouldn’t have.

This has worked well for me so far, and I haven’t forgotten anything yet.

Keeping Tidy

I’m not the messiest person out there, but I also won’t lie and call myself one of the cleanest. I tend to spread out in any space that I’m in and sometimes spread too close to the sun. I want to do better at tidying throughout the day, rather than saving it all and letting it pile up. I’m still getting there, but my floor has been cleaner, and my to-be-folded pile of laundry hasn’t piled up quite as high, so I’m treating it as a success so far.

Reading

I’m an English major, which is unfortunate because I can’t read. All joking aside, I do love reading, but I haven’t dedicated enough time to it lately as I want to. This year I want to get better at reading, both my personal books and my class-assigned readings. I have a horrible habit of skimming and saving all the work for the last minute when it comes to classes, so when I schedule my assignments, I now also schedule my readings. Breaking it all down has helped me to do it in manageable chunks rather than saving it all for the end and then deciding to just skip it for the week. Now hopefully I can find the time to also schedule some personal book time, but who knows when that will be?

Writing

My last main resolution is to write more. I love writing and tend to do it in bursts, so one of my goals this year is to build up consistency. Even if it’s just a paragraph a day, or a page or two every week, I want to set goals and keep them so I can further my skills and apply what I’ve been learning in class. It would also be nice to start building up a portfolio for my professional career, so working on this habit now will be very beneficial in the future. Writing is also therapeutic for me, so it will be great to relax and let off some steam as I work.

I try not to make my resolutions too big, but these are the ones that I want to work the most on. A lot of them aren’t quantifiable and looser than many others, but for me, it’s about creating better habits more than it is achieving a number. I want to better myself as a person, and sometimes that means making goals that are smaller and simpler. I hope to make the most out of this year, and even if I just improve slightly, it’s better than no improvement at all.

secondary education major and creative writing minor. frog enthusiast, dog mom, and plant collector.