The Start of Something New

PL Denishaby Denisha, a Patriot Blogger

…And yes, I might have taken that from a High School Musical song.

As spring semester begins, I realize that I have in fact become of the millions of people who declare that “2013 is my year!” and “I’m going to really do something that makes an impact this year!” It can’t be too far-fetched, right?

My fall semester left me with a 3.69 GPA (and a nice spot on the Dean’s list–trust me, studying seriously pays off!), really amazing friends, and a sleep depravity that could only be made up by hibernating the first two days of winter break, followed by sleeping in until noon for the rest of that week.  However, as a freshman,  fall semester is really all about adjusting, and therefore I’m determined to make this semester even better, so I’ve compiled my “to do” list for the spring semester and the entirety of 2013 (I find that if I call them resolutions, I end up resolving to do them later…) that I hope to (and WILL!) accomplish:

1. Actually start going to the gym. The Skyline gym is so unbelievably close to my dorm, yet the past semester I continually walked past it declaring that I would go “next week” and told a friend of mine ,who kept inviting me to go on Saturday mornings, that “I overslept.” Besides, I need to lose all the weight I accumulated from Christmas dinner and Mom’s home-cooked meals.

2. Lose Procrastination as my middle name. I’ve probably made this a goal, not only on New Year’s, but pretty much every week of my life. I’ve gotten a LOT better at time management as I used to and I stopped hitting ignore every time my phone alerted me that it was time for the study time that I had designated for myself. But I’m still really bad with putting things off until the last minute. So I suppose this goes hand in hand with prioritizing. A professor of mine gave me really good advice and told me to put all of my activities and classes into my planner/calendar, and once I did I’d be surprised at how much white space (free time) that I had (and he was right!). I filled in that white space with time for studying, naps, lunch with friends, etc. It helped a lot, so Professor Hoefer, if you read this, thanks so much!

One other thing on this: if you’ve got work or studying to do, chances are that some of your friends also have some studying to do. My friends and I made a habit of going to Sub 1 or the JC and having what we called “study parties” before we went and got dinner or watched movies or something like that.  We just all got together and did the homework that we had to do. After we got all of our talking and laughing out of the way in the first thirty minutes that we all met up, we ended up being very productive! But this might not work for everyone. Some people study/work better away from friends who could distract them. This is simply something that worked for us. 🙂

3. Take more naps. Don’t underestimate the power of a good nap in-between classes! It’s a good refresher, especially if you’ve got early morning classes!

4. Schedule some quiet time for myself. This one may seem a little odd, but I’ve found life can get really busy and crazy in college, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed. I’ve decided to set aside some “me” time–I’m going to start out every day, but as the semester progresses, I may have to have it be weekly or every couple of days–where I just get away from it all and recharge my batteries. How can I expect to perform at my best if I’m not at my best? Just turn off your phone, close the books, close your eyes, and relax. I’m sure the definition of “quiet time” will be different for everyone. Perhaps it is relaxing with your headphones playing one of your favorite CDs, meditating, taking a hot bath (if you have one of those), playing your guitar, or reading a book that you’ve been wanting to read for awhile. For me, personally, that time will be spent in prayer or reading my devotional or catching up on one of the sermon’s that I have downloaded from Fairfax Community Church’s podcast, but it’ll be different for everyone. It may seem silly and you may be thinking that you’re incredibly busy and have no time at all, but just try it out.

5. Make a list of internships/study abroad options and do some research on them. Trust me, you’re never too early to get prepared for these things. I’ve got to start doing some research on possible future opportunities so that I can be fully prepared for the application process. If you really want to be ahead of the game, make a list of people of all the people within your network, you’d be surprised at how many people you know! These are potential people who could write you recommendations for these things in the future, which leads me to my next goal…

6. Make friends with my professors! Okay, that’s a stretch, I really mean to take advantage of the fact that my professors have office hours, and I could very well go to them if I have trouble understanding something or if I just have questions for them in general. The doors are open so that we can get to know them and they can get to know us on a more personal level.

7. Apply for Fall 2013 scholarships. Because let’s face it, anything that helps pay off that tuition bill is great.

8. Learn to play the guitar. I recently got a guitar for Christmas because I really wanted to learn something new this year in terms of taking up a new hobby. Like quiet time, this is also a good release and way to unwind (of course, I’ll probably have someone teaching me, so it’s not going to be just me at first). For others, it could be scrapbooking, or crocheting, or baking.

9. Watch every episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Weird, I know. It’s not really every episode, but my roommate and I just recently joined a couple of our friends who are on a quest to watch every episode of Fresh Prince (actually, I’m not sure that that’s their goal, they just have some of the seasons and they’ve been watching it episode by episode and we just so happen to be with them when they watch it sometimes…). The title just makes it sound more dramatic.

10. Figure out what the heck I want to do with my life. Looking back at my “about me” section on here, I found that I was certain that I wanted to go into communication, but as fall semester went on, I found myself being less and less drawn to it. I don’t know what I’m being called to do, but I’m not even sure that it’s still in the field of communication. I’m taking a sociology class this semester because I’ve been thinking about going into a non-profit or counseling (especially working with today’s youth), but every time I mention it, I continually hear, “so you want a job with no money?” For me, it’s not about the money, it’s about helping people and making the smile and making their lives just a little bit easier…Can I major in Helping People? No? Then I’m still confused. I’m not sure if I’ll figure it out this semester, but hopefully it comes to me soon.

11. Smile more. “A glad heart makes a cheerful face…” (Proverbs 15:13), and I recently realized that you should never underestimate the power of a smile or a kind word, it’s a small gesture that really could make someone’s day so much better.

12. Break out into a random musical in the JC. Because, hey, it’s the start of something new, right?

Here’s to hoping for a fantastic spring semester, and a truly blessed 2013!