Students share goals as a new year and term get underway

- January 18, 2024

The transition to a new year can provide an opportunity to shift gears and set new goals. (Nick Pearce image)
The transition to a new year can provide an opportunity to shift gears and set new goals. (Nick Pearce image)

Every year in early December, I am admittedly cynical about New Year’s resolutions. Then, the New Year’s Eve party. I find myself on the last day of the year amongst friends and deciding (usually in conversation) that starting January 1, life will get healthier, I’ll lose that weight I put on when autumn turned to winter, and I’ll do something selfless for the environment or my fellow humans.

2024 is no different. (I hope we all accomplish our goals!)

This year, I am also graduating from Dalhousie and like many students in their final undergraduate year, thinking of the future feels simultaneously exciting and scary. Our time at university has been a chrysalis stage, where Dal has hopefully been a safe place for students to grow, learn, and be heard in an inclusive environment.

No matter what year you are in, the first week of the 2024 semester seemed to be an overwhelming experience for many. So, when I set out to ask students about their New Year’s resolutions during the first week of school, I found that many students I spoke to had not made any.

Those who had made resolutions seemed to be focusing on avoiding burnout, a common feeling during the long winter semester. This is what a few of them had to say:

Maddy Roberts, 4th year, Honours English

“My New Year’s resolution is to combat winter semester burnout by making sure I start and end my day with fresh air, going for walks and spending time outside even though it is cold allows me to focus. And I'd like to remain consistent with my meditation practice. Both of these ground me and help manage my cortisol.”

Amelia Lane, 5th year, Industrial Engineering

“My New Year’s resolution is kind of just for fun. When I go to the grocery store, and I see a kind of fruit that I haven't tried before, I want to buy the fruit and try it and then see how many new fruits I can eat before the end of the year. Just because it's a small thing. It's like intentional. I'm trying to find intentional ways to make something as boring as going to the grocery store more interesting. I think that New Year's resolutions can and should be something as small and simple as just finding little ways to make your life a little bit happier.”

Lauren Mosher, 5th year, Recreation Management

“My New Year's resolution is to take things a little less seriously, and just enjoy life with the understanding that things do not have to be stressful. So, if I want to go for a walk, I will go for a walk. I don't need to worry about wearing a smartwatch and logging all my steps…”

Emma Bowes, 4th year, Biology

“My New Year’s resolution is to pace myself better this semester! I’m going to try my best to keep myself organized and study well before my midterms and finals.”

Waleed Seleman, 5th year, Computer Engineering

“My New Year’s resolution is to surround myself with positive people!”

As for myself, I’ve also decided to take inspiration from one of my classes last week and to be “free and kindly with myself,” too, this year like Virginia Woolf was in her 1931 resolutions. On January 2 of that year, she wrote in her diary:

“Here are my resolutions for the next 3 months; the next lap of the year.

To have none. Not to be tied.

To be free & kindly with myself, not goading it to parties: to sit rather privately reading in the studio.

To make a good job of The Waves.

To stop irritation by the assurance that nothing is worth irritation [referring to Nelly].

Sometimes to read, sometimes not to read.

To go out yes—but stay at home in spite of being asked.

As for clothes, to buy good ones.”

Looking for help attaining your 2024 goals?

Dal has plenty of support to offer:

The Bissett Student Success Centre has study skills sessions, career counselling and more available throughout the week. Learn more.

Dalplex offers group classes to de-stress like breathwork and Tai Chi. Learn more.

Student Health and Wellness offers an array of mental health services ranging from same-day counselling and peer support to group wellness sessions and online resources. Learn more.


All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus