By Kimberly De Oliveira
If you’re anything like me, you step into each new school year determined to take control and make it your best yet. In the first couple of weeks, it is hard to deny the high energy and positive vibe all throughout campus. People reconnecting after the break or meeting for the first time, the crisp late-summer air, and all the club events going on only contribute to the positive start.
At some point, however, the bliss of the new year starts to fade. Assignments and commitments can start to pile up, making plans with your friends can get more difficult, and life might even throw you a curveball here and there. In these moments, it can be hard to continue pushing through with your best foot forward.
I wish I could tell you that crazy busy, stressful, and overwhelming times won’t come. However, what I can tell you is that despite those moments, you can still have a really great year. Below are a couple of strategies that you can implement to make this your year.
One of the best ways to stay motivated and make actual progress is by reminding yourself what you are working towards. This requires both reflection on the past year(s), but also looking to the future to determine where you want to be at the end of this chapter. I highly encourage writing these goals down somewhere, whether it be in your notes app, a journal, or even a Tim Hortons napkin. Find a balance between being realistic and dreaming big (I believe in you!).
Join a club and/or find a hobby
Yes, the culmination of classes, homework, work, and other commitments can be a lot. However, it is important to try and fit in things that engage your interests so that you can also have something to look forward to! Joining clubs is one of my favorite ways to make new friends and bond over shared interests. Finding a hobby can engage your creativity, talents, and passions.
Figure out your learning style
No, it absolutely does not mean that there is something wrong with you if it is hard to understand new concepts just by reading a textbook. In fact, it is completely normal for learning styles to vary greatly from person to person. The trick is finding out what best engages your learning gears and putting that knowledge into practice so that you can succeed.
Priorities self-care time
Let’s just think this through together really quick. Does it seem healthy to just work, work, and work again without taking time to rest and recharge? Yeah, probably not… There is a right time for everything, and that includes the time you take just for yourself. The best part is that self-care can be pretty much anything, anywhere from exercising, spending time in nature, or catching up with your favorite T.V. shows.
Step out of your comfort zone
I love looking back at certain times in my life and thinking, “I can’t believe I did that!” And that is coming from someone who mostly prefers staying in her bubble of comfort and quasi-control. Somehow, an unexpected opportunity can come up and you have to make a decision. This is not an endorsement for taking any and every risk, but to consider trying new things and maybe doing that thing that you’ve been putting off for forever.
Each year comes with its fair share of challenges but what really matters is how you respond to them. Having your best year yet is not just about your academic accomplishments, but also how much you grow as a person. Sometimes, it’s all about implementing little things that work together to make it your year.