My New (School) Year's Resolution
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My New (School) Year's Resolution

A chance to be more in college than you were in high school.

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My New (School) Year's Resolution
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“If you could redo the last 18 years, start over from the beginning, what would you change?”

My dad asks me this from the driver’s seat of the car, as we drive away from my high school graduation. He means this as a simple question, some small talk, but the more I think about it, the more I realize its depth.

What would I change if I could live my life all over again?

I’d make less mistakes, surely. I would be more careful that one time at the aquarium, when I fell and cracked my head open. I would be less reckless as a kid – end up with fewer scrapped knees and bloody elbows. I’d make certain friends sooner and avoid fights when I could.

But if I changed all these things, little moments made better, would it change the person I became?

If I changed the moments that made me who I am, how different would I be?

And then I got to thinking – would that version of me, the one that got things right, be better than the version that already exists? Or would the lack of mistakes make me worse for wear?

Asking these hypotheticals, however, gets me nowhere. The fact is that I can’t go back in time, and if I could, I don’t know that I would want to. After all, who would want to experience high school more than once? But I can do something even better.

As I approach my first year of college this fall, I have the opportunity to start from scratch. With a new environment, new people, and a new perspective, I have the ability to be whoever I want to be. There’s no precedent set for my personality, no rules for the person I need to become. This is my chance to be brand new. More importantly, this is my chance to be better.

In reality, I won’t change that drastically. Resolutions fall apart for a reason – being what you’ve always been is comfortable while change, even the positive kind, is messy – but I have to seize this opportunity while I have it. Even if the person I become in college is just slightly better than the person I was in high school, it’ll be worth it.

If I had the opportunity to redo the last 18 years, I don’t think that I would. My mistakes, not my successes, after all, make me who I am. But I resolve to make better mistakes in the future, vow to learn from each one, grow with each downfall.

So in college, I will do the things I wish I had done in high school. I will make more friends, and less enemies. I will be more social – go to parties and events without being scared of awkward interactions. I will be less reckless (though I don’t know how much impact I have on my own clumsiness) and watch my actions. I will take this chance to do what I’ve always wanted to do.

By changing the present, not the past, I will change myself for the better.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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