New School Year Resolutions

Photo by Steph Distasio

This past January, I made a few basic resolutions while I was on winter break: go to bed earlier, eat breakfast more often, stop biting my nails — all boring, but necessary, things I should probably get to at some point. But the list held nothing jaw-dropping or exciting whatsoever. I realized when I got back to school about two weeks later that I had a ton of new things to add to that list, and so I began my “New School Year, New Me” list of resolutions. It included being more organized within my tiny dorm room, never procrastinating the small assignments to the point where they become big ones, waking up earlier to have a more productive day, getting more involved around campus in clubs and my actual interests, and learning to just enjoy the moment.

This list led me to a successful, rewarding and exciting spring semester of my freshman year. It instilled a sense of motivation in me to take control of the things I didn’t like about my life and change them for the better, giving me an entirely new outlook on college and all that I could get out of it. It taught me that I need to continue to put myself and the interests that are going to benefit my future first without getting lost in the craziness that college is.

And So It Began

When I returned back to campus, I asked a few of my peers to list five things they want to improve on this semester. While only one of the three had previously considered this question, all of their answers were very relatable:

Student #1 (female):

  • Go to bed earlier
  • Eat better
  • Workout more
  • Study earlier
  • Take better care of myself

Student #2 (female):

  • Go out more
  • Have more fun
  • Put myself together more thoughtfully
  • Go to every class
  • Have a greater variety of friends

Student #3 (male):

  • Go home more often
  • Do more with my days
  • Do more laundry
  • Call my mom more
  • Go out less

While every student had different answers, it is important to note that the majority of their responses included doing “more” of something. They aren’t regretting their previous experiences and instead are choosing to go forward in a slightly different way. Student #1 has a theme of consciously wanting to put herself first over anything else this year. Student #2 wants to enjoy herself more, while keeping school a top priority, making it clear that she is aware of what she needs to improve on. Student #3 seems to have gone too far out of his comfort zone last year and is instead shifting his priorities to be more family and personally oriented.

Being a ‘List Person’

While creating a list of resolutions is undoubtedly helpful if you stick to them, it is also daunting to create a “list of things to change” about yourself. Whether it’s the beginning of a new calendar year, a new school year, or the end of any specific chapter of your life, it is always useful to look over your current situation and evaluate how you want to move forward. You may assess things that used to be important to you and reevaluate your priorities into other aspects of your life. The smallest thing, such as taking 30 minutes everyday to read quietly, can slowly build into a life-changing habit.

Every situation in life is habitual; we have routines that we follow in order to give structure to our lives. When these instances begin to become monotonous, we change them. Life is all about change, and how we adapt to it – a huge aspect of life that we as college students know a lot about. Sticking to resolutions can be difficult, but it can become a great source of self-growth. Go ponder what could make your time and experience here at Penn State even more exciting and fulfilling. Write it down and take action!