Cautiously Approaching my “New Semester, New Me” Resolutions

Similar to a New Year’s resolution, the notion of “new semester, new me” is meant to outline a set of resolutions that a student will incorporate into their daily lives; thus, apparently, allowing them to become a happier and more productive student. However, this never quite seems to happen as we expect it to. Which, again, makes it even more like our vows upon the arrival of a brand-new year. As a third-year student, it’s safe for everyone to assume that I, too, have made the “new semester, new me” vow that tends to be sworn to (and forgotten) within the first two weeks of going back to school. With each passing year of my modest student existence, I have consequently broken my own increasingly elaborate vows; entailing anything between keeping up with all of the mandatory readings, writing entire essay drafts weeks in advance of their due dates, and even eating more brussel sprouts.

The next remaining ten or eleven weeks of my semester becomes a bit of a whirlwind, and my motivation greatly dwindles. My resolutions tend to have a domino effect: and by this, I simply mean that they all come crashing down after the first resolution fails. I tend to pile on more resolutions than I can possibly tackle, and most of them don’t even benefit me as a student. Because of all these complete and utter failures, I’ve learned two important lessons:

Firstly, that I tend to criticize all of the wrong things. Many of my resolutions were made in response to the success of my peers, without taking into account that we all learn differently. My approach to a semester is no better nor worse than that of my peers, and my resolutions should reflect practices that strengthen my academic performance.

Secondly, a daunting twelve or thirteen resolutions are more difficult to juggle than one or two; and through a lot of self reflection, I’ve realized that many of the resolutions I initially wrote down were not necessarily imperative to my success. My advice? Choose one or two goals that will ultimately enhance both your productivity and your learning experience. This might entail making an effort to go to one of your professors’ office hours, once a week, or perhaps raising your hand a little more during class.

This year I’ve chosen to focus on my note taking skills. Last semester, I noticed that I did better in the courses where I rewrote the notes that I had taken during lecture, supplementing any missing information during office hours and consulting with the reading materials. My second resolution is simply to contribute more to class discussions, thanks to the encouragement of some of my professors.

Choose the resolutions that will best benefit you, and honestly? Don’t try to change anything that already proves to work well for you. Best of luck with your winter semester, Lakers!

Amber W.