New Semester New Me
I tend not to create New Year's Resolutions. Something about January 1st triggering a drastic change in how I conduct my life feels unrealistic. However, I do always write down a number of goals when I start a new semester. This one specifically, my junior spring, many of my goals revolve around planning for the next steps of my future: taking graduate entry exams, choosing masters programs, keeping up my GPA to graduate with honors. My mind is naturally focusing on what is to come. This semester, for me, will be about recentering myself and enjoying the here and now. It sounds cliche, but I am realizing how fast college is going by and how important it is to savor living and learning in such a beautiful and thriving city. Hailing from Long Island, I will never be too far from New York City, but attending a school with so many opportunities is a joy that comes with a harsh expiration date.
A lot of my health-related goals for this semester revolve around the fact that this is the last semester before everything changes. In the fall, I will be thrust into full-time student teaching, applying to graduate school, and writing a thesis (or two, thanks to the Barnard English department!). This is the time that I need to develop good habits; otherwise, it will feel impossible to exercise and eat well when everything picks up. Therefore, this semester I will make physical health a priority. As soon as I get on campus, I am buying a Fitbear pass and attending at least one—but preferably two—classes per week. (Catch me at Zumba or kickboxing!) I also plan to take advantage of the kitchen in my apartment to make nutritious meals for myself. In my experience living off-campus, I have always begun the semester cooking multiple times per week, but quickly tapering off once classes and extracurriculars picked up. Next year, I will need to bring lunch with me as a student teacher and often will not have time to head to campus for dinner. This semester will be my trial run in maintaining a grocery shopping and cooking schedule (and budget).
In terms of mental health, I have almost always had good habits. I try my hardest to listen to my body, working hard when I’m feeling good and taking it easy when I’m rundown. I believe in the power of completing school work early to minimize the negative impact of college on mental health, especially because I suffer from anxiety. As soon as a semester begins, I immediately get ahead in my assignments. I respond to emails right away, complete small tasks as soon as they are given, and begin planning essays a week before they are due. I find that some extra effort in the beginning of the semester sets a positive precedent for the 14 weeks to come. As midterms come and go, I am still working hard, staying ahead of deadlines, and taking breaks even during my busiest weeks. This semester, I hope to maintain these habits while also devoting more time to my physical health and wellbeing. I intend to balance Netflix breaks with treadmill breaks, a mocha latte with hummus and carrots. My three years of college have taught me that no one can run on an empty tank and that nourishing the body and mind is a necessity, not a luxury.