I love new beginnings. New Year's is probably my favorite holiday, because it represents the turning over of a new leaf, and the opportunity to grow and learn.
The beginning of each semester is like a miniature New Year's - you get a fresh set of professors, classes, and opportunities. I like to begin the semester by assessing what things went wrong and right during the semester and setting new goals for myself. Here are my goals for the Spring of 2018.
1. Create a daily routine that includes time for prayer, exercise, and reading
My hope is that I can spend the first and last hours of each day experiencing true leisure - which, according to Josef Pieper, involves engaging in tasks that help me to contemplate reality. For me, these activities include prayer to stimulate my soul and initiate the daily conversation with God, exercise to engage my body and release endorphins, and reading to activate the mind. I find that having a regular morning and evening routine helps me to approach my daily task with a positive mindset.
I set out my workout clothes so that when I wake up, I change straight into those and head for the gym. After about 45 minutes of exercise, I return to my dorm, get cleaned up, and spend time engaging with the daily scripture readings and prayer. After this, I head to the dining hall for breakfast then onward to class or the library.
After I finish my homework and chores in the evening, I close the night with a long shower and cup of tea. I like to read a chapter or two in a non-academic book - right now, it's the collection of Father Brown mysteries by G.K. Chesterton. I journal for a few minutes and pray before heading to bed.
2. Officially declare my major and minors
I am excited to pursue the combined studies of Anthropology, Marketing, and English. While I have looked through my school's course bulletin to determine the best graduation plan, I have yet to approach an academic adviser to ensure that my plan will be feasible.
As this semester progresses, I intend to seek out an adviser within each of these departments in order to ensure that I can graduate and complete other college career goals, which include studying abroad, learning Spanish and Italian, and publishing an academic research paper.
3. Join a club that I don't need to be responsible for
As an officer for two clubs, I find that much of my time spent outside of class activities is devoted to the operation and management of these clubs. While I love my duties and the people I work with, it would be nice to have a regular activity to attend that I don't have to take charge in.
I think that I am going to start attending Improv club nights and Outdoor Recreation hiking trips - fun, easygoing events that don't require a large investment of my time or energy yet allow me to meet new people.
4. Read five for-fun books
I read a ton for my major and minors, but I have found myself in a position that I don't read for fun as much as I did in high school. I hope to improve this by reading for fun before bed, and by always carrying a novel with me in order to fill the downtime rather than peruse through my social media accounts.
This semester, the goal is to finish at least 5 non-academic books. My reading list includes The Hobbit, Inferno, Peter Pan, and more. Ideally, I would like to read more books over the course of this semester, but I hope to at least finish five.
5. Write weekly articles for the Odyssey
During my freshman fall, I worked so hard to contribute weekly articles to the Odyssey. This habit deteriorated during the spring semester, and I only wrote occasionally and rarely published. This semester, I would like to return to the habit of posting weekly articles. Not only do I hope to improve my writing ability, but I would also like to increase my understanding of SEO, social media analytics, user engagement, and other content creation technologies through my writing of these articles.
I look forward to writing these articles after mass on Sunday evenings. Hopefully, I will have completed much of my homework for the following week, and this time can be set aside for reflection of previous week's events and lessons.