Reflecting, planning for a more intentional year


This weekend marked the beginning of Advent. For Catholics, it’s the beginning of the liturgical year when we are encouraged to prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ through self-reflection and evaluation, but I think around this time of year, it makes sense to reflect and re-evaluate life in general as well, especially in preparation for the new calendar year and those pesky New Years Resolutions (did anyone keep theirs? I didn’t).

I admit that this year has been full of changes for me at all levels — personal, professional and academic — and having time to sit down and reflect on those changes has helped me look at the past year objectively and set goals for what I hope to accomplish in the rest of 2015 and into 2016. I’ve already identified some of my goals for the upcoming year, and my new planner is currently sitting in my apartment daring me to open it up. Additionally, this year, I took my journey one step further and ordered Lara Casey’s Powersheets for goal setting. One of my goals for 2016 is to live a more intentional life especially when it comes to working towards my goals and strengthening my faith, which I admit has been lacking in the past couple years. I’m super excited to continue to share with you guys my journey.

An article in Psychology Today stated that students in our generation are some of the least resilient. Students are seeking counseling for smaller and smaller things. One counselor said a student had been traumatized by her roommate calling her names and in another, two students needed counseling after finding a mouse in their off-campus apartment. In addition, faculty members are afraid of students’ emotional fragility when assigning low grades. Students are increasingly blaming professors for their low grades expecting them to lay out for them what will be on an exam or how to score well on an essay.

I admit that I’ve faced my share of emotional trauma when it comes to academics. My heart still races every time I check an exam grade, and I admit that I have used the out of sight, out of mind approach on occasion and refused to look at my grades in certain classes out of fear.

I’ve had many failures, but I’ll be one of the first to admit that failure scares me a little bit. Not enough to go down without a fight, but sometimes I get scared that my best isn’t good enough.

After spending some time reflecting on my year — the things I emphasized, the things I neglected, the things I failed out and the things I succeeded at — I decided that my goal for 2016 was to work on myself. I’m currently in the process of applying to doctoral programs, so this year will definitely be one of transition and hopefully growth. Resilience is one of the areas that I hope to grow in throughout the upcoming year through intentional goal setting. I’ve had my share of life changing experiences of resilience that have inspired me, but I’ve also had experiences where I felt like I could have done better, been better.

I admit that I can’t help but feel a little lost. While many of my friends are beginning their careers and embarking on the last stages of their academic journeys, I feel like a little kid still waiting for some kind of validation or acceptance that I’ve made the right decision and that I am on track to meet my goals. Some of my friends say the feelings of lost and fear go away after you receive an acceptance, but the prospect of not getting in anywhere also looms in the distance. But I hope that by being intentional with my time and my life in the next year, that I will be able to take some control over what happens next.

I’m excited for change. I’m scared, but I love the idea of new beginnings. I think in the spirit of Advent, it’s good to be prepared and reflective about our lives and hopefully what is left to come. At this point last year, I don’t think I would have guessed that my life would have taken the twists and turns that it has. It’s easy to dwell on the negative aspects of the year — the failure, loss and heartbreak — but it’s also good to take time to reflect on the positives — the successes, friendships and support. Reflect on the good and the bad and hopefully watch the humbling way every event and decision influences your life.


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