This month marks the transition into the [secular] new year. For many, the new year is symbolic of the turning of a new leaf in one’s life, allowing them to reflect on all the good as well as the bad that may have occurred in the previous year. These reflections typically lead to promises and resolutions to be achieved in the new year. The new year is about learning from mistakes, moving forward, growing as individuals, appreciating the good and digesting the disappointment and upset.
For most of us, it is in our nature to strive constantly to achieve the greatest possible outcomes. We want to do better, live better and feel better. In alignment with those views, many clichéd new year’s resolutions are to eat healthier, visit the gym more often, call our families more often, be a better friend, and so on. However, many new year’s resolutions are difficult to keep. They tend to come and go in fads, as our busy lives stand in the way of some goals we have set.
University students lead incredibly busy lives. We face a constant struggle to balance time for school, work, family, social lives and personal causes. For many of us, these responsibilities may be daunting at times and difficult to manage.
We are all busy, but we should not let external factors act as obstacles to achieving our goals. This is why it is important to create realistic resolutions for this upcoming year. We must recognize our responsibilities and set realistic expectations for ourselves. A premise of creating resolutions is actually to be capable of working hard enough to achieve them. This year, as you reflect on your new year’s resolutions, there are a few things I think are worth considering.
On campus, we are privileged with having an abundance of meaningful and fulfilling projects, organizations and culturally enriching activities to take part in. This year, I ask you to take your new year’s resolutions one step further. Resolve to achieve something that you typically may not go for. Beyond making resolutions to travel more, work harder, spend more time with family and loved ones – all incredibly important and meaningful resolutions that I make for myself – why not make additions to the list that will add to your university career and benefit you while on campus?
Maybe take on a leadership role with Jewish organizations like Hillel Ottawa or the Chabad Student Network (CSN). A leadership role may seem like a daunting task and it’s not for everyone, and that’s OK. There are other ways to enrich your university experience while, dare I say, also embracing your cultural and religious roots. For example, if you have never attended a Hillel Ottawa or CSN Shabbat dinner, I highly recommend experiencing it. They are a great way to meet other students and may well lead to many opportunities for campus involvement in Jewish student life. There are many other events for Jewish students and young professionals throughout the year that are great networking opportunities.
And there are many resolutions you can make that are easily manageable while on campus. From attending cultural or social events, to resolving to only dating within our faith, I guarantee this year will bring you plenty of opportunities to grow as an individual, learn and bring even more meaning and fulfilment into your life.