Finding Balance: New (School) Year Resolutions

A photo a bar with an etching that reads University of Toronto in front of a red brick building and a tree

There's one more week before the school year begins. Around this time, I often have mixed emotions that range from excitably happy to anxiously stressed. I imagine these feelings probably are common to many students. I like to explain my experience of these pre-school-year jitters as my body anticipating and preparing for the pendulum-like emotional rollercoaster that is the school year. This year these feelings are coming on a little stronger. I think it’s because I’ve finally reached the end of my degree and so I’m putting more pressure on myself to raise my personal bar a lot further than I’ve already raised it. Most likely, I am psyching myself out. The school year will go by just as others have, and at the end of the year I'll have a new bag of mixed emotions to deal with, but it’s hard to not focus on the here and now. a photo of blogger Jasper's face to his shoulders lying on a concrete slab making a silly frowning faceWith that said, how am I preparing for going back to school? Aside from ensuring that I have the appropriate supplies and being aware of where my classes are located, what else am I doing? Well, I'm the type of person who enjoys making resolutions when opportunities arise (New Year resolutions, Birthday resolutions, New Month resolutions, etc.) and the New School Year is definitely an opportunity. So today, bear with me as I share with you my resolutions for the coming school year (side note: these resolutions are more SMART goals for the year).

Maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the school year by going to the gym or doing something physically active every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for at least 30 minutes and ensuring that I am eating well by preparing a week’s worth of balanced meals every Sunday.

This one is pretty standard fare when it comes to resolution making. I figure I’d actively try this throughout the school year because I know that as the school year progresses, I get increasingly unhealthier. And when you pair an unhealthy lifestyle with the stress of exams and assignments, unfortunate things inevitably happen due to imbalance.

Begin studying for exams and putting assignments together 3 weeks before exams are scheduled and assignments are due in order to complete the task 3-4 days earlier than the due date.

Knowing myself, although I have every intention of getting tasks completed ahead of time, the distractions from shiny objects keep me from doing this effectively. I’m hoping that by writing this down with a very specific framework attached to it (i.e. timeframe), it’ll become easier for me to lock myself down and ensure that I am keeping myself focused on the tasks at hand. I also have never made this a priority during any other school year because I’m confident in my ability to work well under pressure; however, I feel like if I'm pursuing a healthier lifestyle, I should maintain a healthy amount of pressure to work under, meaning cutting out the pressure of regularly cramming or pulling several all-nighters in a row.

Utilize all of my class syllabi more effectively by making complete semester schedules outlining all course related major dates and assigning daily tasks for the entirety of each semester, which I will complete making no later than the week after I finalize my course schedule per semester.

This resolution will create the tool that will help me accomplish my first two goals, and I can’t take credit for it. I’m actually borrowing this idea from a friend of mine who swears that having a tool like this has made her Masters program more palatable. Essentially, rather than maintaining a school agenda by adding my tasks daily, I will be scheduling the entirety of both of my semesters in advance by identifying the dates when readings have to be completed, when I need to begin assignments or preparing cue cards to study from, when I need to start writing my blog posts, when to exert myself from physical activity, etc. This will give me a full semester overview of what I have to get done and allow me to schedule other things in a manner that will least overwhelm me. It will also inform me of what type of free time I can afford and will allow me to shift things if the need arises. Most importantly, it will create balance! These resolutions are fairly large resolutions to maintain, and I am hoping that I will be able to keep this up throughout the school year. To keep myself accountable to you, I plan to keep you updated with a series of posts outlining my foray into making these resolutions a reality and creating some major student life changes. Do you have resolutions for this school year? If so, share them in the comments below!

a photo of convocation hall, a large domed building with a green roof and several pillars, against a blue sky with the photo taken from the perspective of the camera lying on the grass pointing towards the building

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