Verily Verity

The Musings of a Canadian University Student

New Year’s Revolutions — January 14, 2019

New Year’s Revolutions

It’s almost halfway through January, and we all know what that means. Some of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions, some of us are still plugging away like dedicated soldiers, while others of us…well….there’s always next year, right?

Why does this happen? What is the difference between a resolution that lasts and a resolution that fails? A successful resolution will usually align with your top priorities, while an unsuccessful one will not. Obviously there are other factors, such as how realistic and achievable a goal really is, but there are still individuals who have accomplished what many deemed impossible. Why? Because they were determined; their goals matched up with their priorities, giving them purpose and a passion for what they were attempting to achieve.

Sometimes the failure or success of different resolutions can even reveal what our values are. For example, in previous years, the rather academically minded author of this blog has made a list of priorities, and attempted to match them up with goals for the new year. However, she (yes, I’m referring to my past self in third person) was mildly disappointed to find that it was only the goals related to academic achievement that came to fruition. Now, let us warp forward in time to our poor, disillusioned author in the present year of 2019…

Being a person of faith, I would like to believe that my relationship with God is my number one priority. However, the fact that I would set very small faith related goals, such a reading my bible on a daily basis, and fail (not just by a little bit folks, we’re talking about serious neglect here), while setting and fulfilling very high academic goals, shows what I really valued more. Upon further examination, I discovered that my aspirations of doing well in school was taking up much more of my life than was healthy, and resolved to take some remedial measures. The failure of my resolutions drove me to revolutionise my priorities, and so far I’ve been much more motivated to stick to my 2019 goals.

Struggling to keep your New Year’s resolutions may be a sign that they don’t match up with your priorities. If a resolution is really important to you, but you’re repeatedly unsuccessful in keeping it, maybe it’s time to reexamine what’s really important to you. So, what do you think, will 2019 be the year of the New Year’s Revolution?

Verity Bellerose

P.S. If you’re not the New Year’s resolution type, I’m sorry you have been grievously neglected in the post. The fact that you’re still here in this remote corner of the interwebz is really quite astounding, and I must offer my most profound thanks, as well as the hope that I can make it up to you in my next post.

5 Things I Learned in My First Semester of University — December 12, 2018

5 Things I Learned in My First Semester of University

1. Planner + Syllabi = dynamic duo of awesomeness

Seriously, copying down all of my assignments and tests from each syllabus into a planner made my life much, much easier. It can be tempting to simply refer to individual syllabi throughout the semester, but writing out individual deadlines puts everything into perspective, and here’s the big one ladies and gents: it saves time. By the end of the semester I didn’t even have to look at my planner anymore because I could visualise what the month looked like in terms of assignments etc.

2. Reading week is for more than reading.

This may sound obvious to some, but being the keener that I am, I had to learn this the hard way. Spending 95% of reading week studying and working ahead meant that despite being ready for midterms, I was super burnt out. Please, don’t be like me. Take some time to recharge so you can resume classes a paper-slaying-insanely- motivated-midterm-killing-ninja.

3. All-nighters are not necessary.

This point needs some explanation:

  1. I value sleep more than the average human…if hibernation was acceptable among  homo sapiens….well…you get the picture.
  2. As you can imagine, stories of uni students pulling all-nighters during exams felt like a dire threat to my sleep-loving existence.
  3. I embarked on a mission to avoid this cruel and unusual form of sleep deprivation at all costs.

As implied by the heading, I achieved my goal. How? Well, let’s just say that it involved some meticulous flashcard making after virtually every psychology class. Not only did this mean that I got to write exams feeling extremely well rested, but my psych exam in particular was almost completely stress free (more on this in a later post).  

4. Questioning one’s existence is a good thing.

No, this is not a reference to Hamlet. I’m simply referring to the re-evaluation of why you’re doing what you’re doing, and if you think you’re fulfilling your goals. In other words, are you getting everything you want out of the college/uni experience?

If you’re going to school in Timbuktu because you love the scenery and culture, are you actually getting out and experiencing it, or are you living your life barricaded in the library? If you’re going to Hogwarts because they have the best professors, but you’re spending all your time traipsing around the village of Hogsmeade with your friends, what are you doing???

I chose my university because it offers a lot of opportunities outside of pure academia, so on occasions when I found myself neglecting these, I had to reconsider my priorities.    

5. Studying and musical chairs don’t have to be all that different.

Just image a game of musical chairs where everyone sat down in a chair and didn’t move until the next round. Kind of kills the entire game, doesn’t it? Studying is somewhat similar. As someone who used to review an entire course before starting the next one, forcing myself to shuffle between them was an enlightening experience in multiple ways:

      1. Studying became interesting because of the constant switch between subjects.
      2. Not allowing myself to get bogged down in any one subject meant I was able to cover more material.
      3. Because I would move on to a difference subject after a certain amount of time instead of after accomplishing a certain goal, I was motivated to complete a cycle of five different subjects in order to get back to the first one.

Like a mental game of musical chairs, the constant movement kept studying interesting and kept me moving toward my goal: winning the game, or doing well on exams for those of you that like to be dishearteningly realistic about these types of things.

The moral of the story? Sleep lots and treat life like a game, just make sure you plan it out and question everything while you’re doing it. Oh, and don’t spend too much time reading. 😉

Verity Bellerose

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