Thursday, December 17, 2009

Students Make New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are based as much on hope as resolve, which is why they are such fun. They make us smile, even when the smile is tempered by longing and a sense of time passing. That the resolutions are instantly shareable with friends in the age of social networking only enhance their pleasure.

What New Year’s resolutions animate college students?

For Natalie, it begins with a reflection on what she did and did not achieve in her last year’s resolutions. There were a few things she had no control over and few that she did and still they went wrong. She is determined not to repeat her mistakes. About one thing she is certain: in 2010, she plans to laugh, giggle and relax more with her friends.

Jennifer’s main resolution is to transfer to a university after passing the subject that has haunted her for several years: Math. She has tried tutors and spent countless hours trying to master its complexity but nothing seemed to work. For a while she was convinced she had a math blockage in her brain! But she knows there is no such thing. She has redoubled her efforts and is confident she will complete her math requirements and transfer to San Jose State University (SJSU) in 2010.

Glen’s resolutions consist of getting out of debt (don’t we all!), not to get declined from a state university because of budget cuts, and to continue to learn new things, not just for earning more but for the pleasure and joy of learning.

Gissel would like to choose a major in 2010, go to the gym and be a better person in every way. She would also like to move out of her parents’ house, get a job and become financially independent.

Karim has been carrying a story in his head for two years. He has only one resolution for 2010: “I will complete my novel, at least the first version of it. I have the structure, the plot, the characters. I will write at least one page a day.” He doesn’t care if his book is published or if it will sell. “I just have to write it.” He will find the time without the distractions of emails, Facebook or Twitter.

Ismael had a turbulent 2009 but in the end everything came through for him. On the verge of selling his beloved Ford Mustang to support himself, he got a job and so didn’t have to part with his car. In the New Year, he will not make any ridiculous goals that he cannot attain but complete small tasks one at a time. He will give thanks more often and appreciate everything he has. No matter how difficult the situation is, he reminds everyone never to give up hope.

Hannah is a dancer. Others may find her resolution silly but she is very serious about it. “I am a dancer and I vow this year not to take the lead but to follow my partner.”

Athena is set on losing some weight in 2010. She feels she is on the “chunky side” and losing 20 pounds would be “awesome.” She plans on joining a gym and using it three times a week. What will help is her PE class in 2010 that meets two nights a week. She is confident she will lose weight because of the support of her boyfriend. Her other goal is to transfer to SJSU in the Fall of 2010. Budget cuts and other restrictions may make admission difficult. Her alternative is California State University at Hayward but that’s too far to drive, so she is really hoping that she will be admitted to SJSU.

Liz is determined to graduate in 2010, for herself and to make her parents proud. But she also intends to enjoy life more. Life is not just studying and being serious. She has rarely partied or gone to a club but that will change in 2010. “I just want to enjoy every moment in life and be happy.”

Chris’s New Year’s resolution is to let things work out the way they will. “I put too much time and effort in trying to make things happen the way I feel they should, when in reality, all that effort is pretty much wasted.” By allowing things to work themselves out in their own time, Chris feels it will be a lot less work on his part and he will probably get better results. He over-exerted himself in 2009, working at various jobs while taking several classes. “It was a mistake not to make school a priority,” he says. Money is important but in 2010 he will focus more on acquiring knowledge and skills than on earning money. “Too much of life passes unnoticed because of too many interests. At least in my life I need to stop it before I lose myself.”

Procrastination has been a big problem for Ruth. She intends to overcome it in the New Year. She will pay her bills and complete her assignments on time. She will keep her appointments and plan her chores and not wait until the last moment to do them. She will also maintain her workout schedule. This year she let her health slip but she will not neglect it in 2010, because “nothing is more important than your health.”

Patrick’s resolutions remind us of life’s fragility and the inexorable march of time. He wants to stay healthy, become a better chess player, learn to play the piano and, most important of all, “develop a better relationship with my dad before it’s too late.”

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