Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 | Looking Ahead

2013 was an absolute whirlwind of a year. I accomplished more in the past 12 months than I have in the last few years combined -- more than I thought I would at the beginning of the year. The year was overall full of exciting things, but a few highlights were:
  • high school graduation. I graduated in May without ever earning lower than a B- on a report card and with 27 college credits from community college. Senior year was especially difficult for me as I tackled college and AP courses for the first time while also handling a job and some semblance of a social life, but it was all worth it when I graduated with honours and made it into the honours program at a well-regarded university.
  • working. After I graduated, I took a week off and then returned to working at Target for the rest of the summer. This year, probably because I was 18 and therefore a legal adult, I had longer hours and worked more shifts. I felt much more comfortable working in customer service as I'd done it all before the previous summer and I got to know my coworkers really well. My job also gave me some insight into what kind of career I'd like to pursue in the future.
  • college. The biggest achievement/change was college and everything that goes with it. I moved out of my house in August and into a hall-style dorm, which has had its ups and downs but was primarily composed of good moments. Although college classes themselves are nothing new to me, the whole experience of being completely in charge of my own schedule was new (and I currently miss it while being home on break). There were numerous occasions when a friend and I would get dinner at 11pm or a study group would get together and then goof off until 2am -- things that are difficult to do unless you live 100 feet from all your friends.
  • all As. My biggest personal accomplishment this year was getting all As in my first semester at college. I haven't achieved all As in a semester since 10th grade, so I was very excited when I saw my GPA. I had hoped to achieve all As all of freshman year, and so far I'm right on track to get them.
And now, it's January 1st. The fresh start of a new year. The chance to be better and do bigger things. An opportunity to make dozens of promises to yourself that you really will, this year, try to accomplish your resolutions, despite failing everytime in the past.

I'm cynical about great changes happening in short amounts of time, which is why I've constructed my own little list of New Year's Resolutions that I can actually accomplish.

  • read good books. I'm thoroughly disappointed in myself for last year's reading choices. I didn't read nearly as often as I would've liked and the books I did were fluffy pieces because I didn't feel like reading heavier subjects. This year, I've resolved to read books worth their pages. I'm starting with a list of books regarded as the best of 2013 and branching off from there. I'm also determined to read more nonfiction, particularly about historical events I've always been interested in but have never had the motivation to study.
  • figure out what I'm doing with my life. I've decided to pursue International Studies as a major, but I also want to double major so I'm hoping to discover a second major this year. I also want to do some looking into what I can do with my major of choice and what career paths look interesting to me.
  • make a conscious effort to save money for "big time" adventures. Speaking of IS majors... at my university they're required to spend time studying abroad. I haven't narrowed my decision down to a single country, but I do know that I will need plenty of money for wherever I choose to go. Although I did save up about $2000 last summer, most of that went to buying a new MacBook Pro and contributing to my spending funds for my time spent not working while in school. With a goal to travel internationally either next year or the year after, I need to save up more of my summer funds so that I can enjoy myself without freaking out over finances.
  • get an internship. And speaking of finances... I hope to get a paid internship this summer. While I enjoy working at Target / Starbucks, I would love to get some experience in my field of study and make some money while doing it.
  • watch 50+ quality films I've never seen before. Of course I had to add a just-for-fun goal! Last year, I had a goal to watch 100 films I'd never seen before, which I accomplished 3 weeks before the end of the year. This year I'm lowering the number of films because [1] some of the films I watched last year were absolute crap (watching Saturday Night Fever is one of my biggest life regrets), and thus [2] it will give me the extra space to be a little more selective about finding new films.

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