One of the benefits of the quarter system is that we get a fresh start every 10 weeks. In the spirit of “New Quarter, New Me,” I like to take a few days before each new term begins to think about what I’d like to accomplish during the next go-round. Some of my goals derive from past failures, while others are simply things I wish I had taken the time and effort to do (or stop) in previous quarters. If this quarter is anything like the last two, I’ll inevitably have varying degrees of success in accomplishing these resolutions, but I’ve found that even writing down my goals motivates me to commit more seriously to them, and I could use all the accountability I can get.
- Watch the sun rise. Maybe once, maybe twice, maybe (probably not) weekly. In an ideal world this resolution would involve a sunrise Dish hike, but I do my best not to set myself up for failure, and the probability that I make it to the Dish before 6:30 in the morning is approximately zero.
- Go to professors’ office hours in addition to TAs’. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that in twenty weeks as an undergraduate I’ve never been to a professor’s office hours – it’s about time to get over those nerves and take advantage of the people who know more than I can imagine about the things I want to learn.
- Find new study spots. So far I’ve been lucky never to need to fight someone for my secret desk deep in the stacks at Green, but the better weather has inspired me to find some sunnier, less secluded spaces to get my readings done.
- Read more than what’s assigned. Spring quarter feels like an opportune time to crack open one of those “for pleasure” books that I hauled here from the East Coast because I was certain that in college I’d be the kind of person who reads for fun all the time. I managed to get through one novel while on duty as a swiper in Stern Dining last quarter, but my overly ambitious pre-frosh self ensured that I won’t deplete my stash if I can commit to a couple more.
- Text people first, make plans and stick to them. Gone are the days when I’d allow myself to wriggle out of commitments with friends because I was tired or stressed or more interested in “This is Us” and a pint of ice cream. Even if plans change based on those factors, I’m going to stop canceling outright – having company for my Rocky Road-fueled Netflix marathons can’t hurt.
- Be healthier on my own terms. Commitments that involve a number of gym sessions per week or a requirement of at least one salad per day have never worked for me. I’d rather commit more generally to striving for health and listening to my body regardless of whether it craves a great workout or a night in bed with some of TAP’s sweet potato fries.
- Get out of bed when I wake up. I’m intensely guilty of lounging in bed until I absolutely have to get ready for class, sometimes hours after I initially wake up. Instead, I’ll get out of bed and start my day as soon as I feel rested.
- Sleep regularly, well and long enough. Obviously I’m not going to be too disappointed if I have to pull a few late nights to meet deadlines, but on weeknights I’m attempting to get to bed at a regular time that allows for enough quality sleep before I need to get to class.
- Stop defaulting to Netflix/social media. In my room, my immediate answer when I have nothing else I absolutely need to do is to press play on an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Outside of Twain, muscle memory has me checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, my email and even Canvas almost constantly. This is going to be the hardest habit to break, but also probably the most important.
- Donate more (time, resources, money, etc.) Trade the aforementioned Netflix time for volunteer work, skip the morning latte and save up money for causes I’m passionate about, and generally be more giving with anything I have to give.
- Take notes on readings. Assuming that I’ll absorb and remember reading material through a once-over is ineffective and frustrating. Some strategic highlighting and a few notes in the margins should make my study sessions much more rewarding.
- Check the weather before getting dressed. I spent too many March afternoons walking back from class in a rain-soaked hoodie and shorts because my outfit that had seemed appropriate in the morning was decidedly inappropriate when the clearly forecasted thunderstorm hit. Checking the weather for the whole day instead of just glancing outside is a 30-second fix that I can definitely spare the effort to make.
Contact Jackie O’Neil at jroneil ‘at’ stanford.edu.