Keep your books close, keep your friends & family closer

I’m a huge advocate of the notion that we are constantly learning just by virtue of living and it is up to us to be open to  the lessons, knowledge and wisdom that is presented to us every day. I learnt an important lesson over winter break that most textbooks don’t outline: keep your books close, but keep your friends and family closer.water U of T has a reputation for being anti-social and is stereotyped as a school where students lock themselves up in a library or in their room in order to produce A’s (note: social isolation is not healthy!). This is often joked about on-campus—but every joke has a grain of truth to it, I think. When my last final rolled around I was tired but glad that I could finally put my textbooks down. My schedule was suddenly free from the burden of essays, assignments and exams. I took a plane home and was immediately greeted by friends and family. It felt like I hadn’t spoken or seen them in such a long time. Precisely because I hadn’t. As the end of the break drew closer, I thought about how I would miss being surrounded by friends and family once I returned to school.  My last day at home was laced with sad goodbyes as my friends all left for their respective universities. That’s when it clicked! The holidays were time away from my books to be spent with loved ones but should a semester at school mean the inverse? As I played back the events of the past semester in my head, I noticed that communication and interaction with my friends in Toronto had dwindled with the progression of the term.  We would set up coffee dates weekly, but eventually they would be pushed back further and further until all talk of seeing each other vanished. I realized that a school semester shouldn’t mean an end to my social life. Unlike stationary, inaminate objects that are textbooks, my friends are interesting and dynamic and the times when our lives intersect are precious to me. So this realization was a lesson for me and became the basis of my resolution for 2014:  to maintain an active social life throughout the semester and to find more balance between studying and socializing.  I plan to do this by not only scheduling but keeping time set aside to meet with friends, as well as planning study time that involves groups. Did you do any reflecting over the break? Did you make any resolutions for the New Year? How do you plan to keep them? Gloria

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