Student Voices- The New Year: Expectation vs. Reality | Work of Arts
Student Voices- The New Year: Expectation vs. Reality | Work of Arts

Student Voices- The New Year: Expectation vs. Reality

Set your New Year's resolutions, just make them attainable

Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and viewpoints of current Arts students. Through their posts, you’ll experience the creativity and passion of our students as they present glimpses into student life. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.


The New Year ’s Eve party is just a hyped-up runner up to Christmas. And from my experience, the high expectations and lofty goals of the new year can be just as disappointing for students as for anyone else.

No matter how much we may convince ourselves that we will study more or get started on assignments earlier, these promises are usually broken by the time we get overwhelmed by coursework or find ourselves falling back into old habits. While the spirit of self-improvement that accompanies each new year is inspiring in theory, often we can be setting ourselves up for a depressing failure if the goals we set are too ambitious, or if they’re based on things we think we should do or that other people tell us we should want.

We can be setting ourselves up for a depressing failure if the goals we set are too ambitious.

I don’t mean to suggest that New Year’s resolutions are always a bad idea. In fact, if the goal of the resolution is to reduce academic stress or improve as a student, I am all for this. There are a few things you can do to ensure you follow through with your New Year’s resolutions. I hope you find the following suggestions helpful in making the most of your winter term and beyond.

1. Break your resolution into realistic steps. For example, rather than telling yourself that you will study more effectively or get better grades, set a specific goal of a certain GPA and think about how you will be able to achieve this. Maybe you will review your lecture notes and try practice problems after every class or make use of more of the learning resources offered on campus. Figure out the steps it will take to achieve your goal and record these in some tangible way.

2. Visualize your goal regularly. We all know the amazing feeling of opening your Beartracks account to find a good grade or flipping through an exam booklet and knowing that you will breeze through the exam. When you are tempted to stray from your resolutions, remember these feelings and do what is needed to achieve them.

3. Stay positive! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up or temporarily lose sight of your goals. When it comes to academics, there can be unexpected factors that contribute to your marks, which are out of your control. If you have done everything you need to succeed, don’t punish yourself too severely if everything doesn’t go exactly as you expect.

4. Find someone who will keep you accountable to your resolution. Major changes are best made collectively and the same concept behind gym buddies also applies to study buddies. Find someone with similar resolutions to your own and who is more helpful than distracting when it comes to studying and working together. Keeping a commitment to someone else can often be much easier than keeping a commitment to yourself.

Happy new year and good luck with your goal setting!

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About Joshua Hillaby

Joshua Hillaby

Josh Hillaby is a fourth-year Arts student majoring in English. He is currently extending his degree and helping his fellow students by interning at the University’s Office of the Student Ombuds through the Arts Work Experience Program (AWE).