Being on campus evokes different feelings in each student. Some people come in happy, enjoying the freedom of being away from home and being reunited with friends. Others start stressing about the impending stress of the academic semester. Regardless of how you feel, it is always a good idea to start the year with goals. I deeply value personal development, so here are four goals that I think will help any student grow this year:
Selfishness is perceived as a trait to avoid, but being selfish has honestly made my life so much more meaningful. College is notoriously known for making people stretch themselves too thin, but when you set limits on how you want to spend your time and selfishly stick to them, you can feel yourself leading a happier life. By being selective with your time, you find yourself doing what you love more and pouring less time into that that does not serve you. You are able to grow so much more when you only commit your time to the classes, people, and organizations that give back as much as you give.
Put Your Pride Aside
Asking for help is uncomfortable, accepting criticism is hard, and rejection is one of the worst feelings ever. Regardless of this, putting yourself out there and doing things without fear of your pride being hurt can be so fulfilling. If you need help, just ask for it. I have learned that people are usually extremely flattered when you think their opinion is useful. When you receive criticism, look at it as someone caring enough about you to want to see you improve, not a way to pull you down. Be okay with the “Thank you for your application, but…” emails. They are not the end of the world, even though it may feel like it. Your pride will be healed with time, but the opportunities and advice you miss while being afraid cannot be replaced.
With social media and adults constantly telling us how we should live our lives or what we need to accomplish in them, it is very easy to feel like you are not living up to some imaginary standard. This leads to a feeling of panic and anxiousness, as if you are behind in some race that you did not even sign up for. No need to worry though, because it is going to be okay. Repeat: it is going to be okay. There is no need to have “x,” “y,” and “z” done by a certain date or to have a plan for the next five years of your life. You will get there when you get there, and guess what? The world will not end just because it took you a year longer than someone else to accomplish some arbitrary goal. We all come from different backgrounds, which means different levels of privilege, strength, weakness, support, trauma, etc., which results in a different life timeline than the person next to you. The energy you put towards rushing yourself is always better equipped for taking care of yourself.
Putting this as a goal was hard for myself, considering how I overanalyzed every aspect of this article in the hopes of reaching a point of perfection that I know is unrealistic, but I know it needs to be on the list. Realizing that we all have limitations and can only do so much is a very hard lesson to learn; however, it is also a liberating one. I put a lot of myself into this list of goals, but I am okay with not reaching them and I hope you are too. This is my first step towards accepting imperfection and hopefully freeing myself of this unreal perfectionist mindset that results in so much stress. I will put forth my best effort, I will set reminders, but I will also be perfectly fine if I do not check them all off the list. That’s just a part of life, and I am learning to be okay with that.