Starting Fresh

The new year is in full swing and we’re just past the point where we can successfully write 2018 on our notes on the first try. No matter how cliché it sounds the new year is a great time to reflect and renew. These past few weeks I have been thinking of what I have accomplished and learned in 2017 and how I will use those important lessons to change and grow in 2018.

If 2017 has taught me anything, it’s the importance of getting up after failure. Whether it was getting a poor grade in a class or being rejected from a much-desired job, I kept going. In retrospect, those moments that seemed like the end of my career now seem minuscule. In fact, I have learned more valuable lessons in 2017 than I ever have thanks to failure! What mattered was that I kept getting up and trying. That’s what I want to remind myself in 2018—to keep getting up.

Last semester may not have gone well for you in terms of grades, but don’t let yourself give up on the new semester before it has even begun. Reflect on what went wrong and make sure you don’t make those mistakes again. For me, something I hope to work on is my stress management strategies. Last semester I was stressed out so much that I was hindering myself from studying effectively. I want to remind myself to make my mental health a priority this year. Trying out some mindfulness techniques and meditation is one way I hope to prevent this from happening this year. Also, meeting with a learning strategist at U of T might help many of you set some goals and reflect on your studying techniques this semester.

Along with getting up after failure, I also learned how to tackle the struggle of getting up every morning. I try to use each day as a fresh start—another chance to give it your all and achieve all that you can. By setting some sort of routine to my day I hope to create structure in my life and create more opportunity to be productive. Let yourself start fresh and leave the struggles and failures of the previous day in the past.

A picture of school books.
Write down your goals and plan how you want to work towards them each day.

It is important to remember that failure is only useful if you learn something from it and actually implement what you have learned. What have I learned from my failures? I have learned the importance of planning and setting short-term goals. To create a game-plan. To remind myself of the importance of working ahead this semester, along with writing down major exams or assignments,  etc into my agenda, I have also outlined what I want to achieve each day working up to the exam or due date. I cannot hope to achieve an ‘A’ in a course by cramming all the information a couple days before the exam. Similarly, I cannot hope to prepare for a job interview by Googling the organization a couple hours before. Instead, I need to plan for how I can achieve that goal by setting small goals and working towards it a bit every day.

I encourage all you to reflect on what you have achieved this past year but most importantly what you have failed at. Take these experiences as learning opportunities and decide how you want to overcome these struggles in the future.

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