Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New Leaf

(Alternate title: This is not another post about Animal Crossing, so don't worry.)

It's 2014. And things are changing for me.

Sounds cliché, doesn't it? A lot of people take the New Year as a time for renewal and changes. Lots of people make weight loss or fitness-related goals for themselves in 2014. That's not a judgment by any means; it's merely an observation. Whether it's cliché or not, it's still a great opportunity to stop and look at where you are in your life and think of what you'd like to change.

I did this a little earlier--August 2013, to be precise. I was thinking about where I'd like to be right now and school really stood out for me.

I've been on hiatus from university since spring of 2008. I'd had 11 courses remaining, but felt the need to take a break for personal reasons. I just wasn't ready to be where I was and didn't know what I'd do afterwards, anyway. So, I took a step away to figure things out. I don't regret this at all. I had people telling me not to take too long a break because I would never go back. This year, I realised that I was running out of time, and that I had two options: let my courses expire and not finish, or go back and get it all done.

It was a tough decision, because both sides meant a lot of sacrifices. I'll never regret the time I took away from university because I learned so much about myself during it. I worked really hard, made a ton of new friends and acquaintances and even wrote a novella. I took a couple of courses over the last two years and earned higher marks than I had while studying full time, leading me further into the idea that I had learned enough to finally give it full throttle. Doing that while working full time was very difficult and it took a lot out of me, but I succeeded. I now have nine courses remaining. Nine. I have 5 coming up in January, then I'm hoping to take some intercession courses in spring and summer, then whatever is left to take in the fall. I will, finally, finish in December 2014. One year from now, I will finally have my degree. Better late than never!

I struggled with the need to make a change a year ago. I wasn't sure what that change was supposed to be and ended up not making a change at all in the process. I'm glad I didn't, because I don't know if I would have made this decision otherwise.

So, welcome, 2014. I'm glad to see you. I know I have a lot of resolutions that I really want to make this year, but I think I'm just going to keep it to one: focus on school. What's even more exciting is that after this degree is finished, I'll be free, and I'll be able to move on to other things without feeling like I'm half-doing something else.

Who cares if New Year's resolutions are cliché? Who cares if you don't keep them? Thinking actively about your life and what you can do to change it for the better is still a worthwhile exercise. Better to resolve, try, and not keep your resolution, than to do nothing at all. Better to be self aware and fix anything broken than to be ignorant, whether you perceive that ignorance to be bliss or not. Try, and, in trying, may you succeed.

Happy New Year.

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