This time next year

opinions school resolutionsNew school year resolutions and the BC Teacher’s strike

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Sept. 9, 2014

Pessimistically speaking, whatever the New Year’s resolution you made in January was, you’ve probably given up on it as we head into the latter-half of 2014. If you weren’t able to reach your full potential this time around, relax: the way I see it, September is the real beginning.

The mark of a new academic year is always refreshing, even though I—like many students in BC—will not be immediately attending class this autumn. My situation, although different from those who’ve been impacted by the labour strike between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Liberals, still offers room for improvement. After all, classroom settings can only do so much in terms of learning. When it comes down to it, the students need to make that extra effort.

So I bring it back to the idea of setting resolutions. Where will you be in terms of your goals this time next year? Never mind what the world around you is doing—what can you do for yourself? And the better question is, how will you reward yourself next summer? Let’s be honest, this summer wasn’t shabby, but you know that if you can make some strides this fall, winter, and spring, summer will undoubtedly pay for itself.

As students, I feel we put a lot of pressure on how well we do in the classroom environment, yet it’s the workplace that we are really striving to excel in. One of my favourite quotes from Mark Twain is, “Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.” What he means is that the courses you take, the homework assigned to you, and the deadlines you need to meet, should not halt your progress towards your ultimate goal, whatever it may be.

Not only is it common to give up on resolutions, it’s also common to get academic amnesia, where a whole school year would pass by without any recollection. So really suck this school year smoothie dry. If you are in class, try to apply what you learn to something, anything. If you aren’t in school—like me—don’t passively await opportunities, but imagine yourself a year from now. Think of what you want to know that you didn’t know yesterday, and learn it on your own merits.

We often make New Year’s resolutions into ambitious, life-changing goals. We want to lose weight, earn more money, and perhaps achieve something we haven’t before. All that is admirable, but let’s make our school-year resolution a building block towards our New Year’s resolution. Let’s work on our self-discovery and our intellectual enhancement. That way, when January rolls around, we can catch our second wind and improve from there. And it doesn’t matter whether we are in school or not.

Learning is all about attitude. But hey, for those kids who are out of school because of the strike or for those unemployed graduates, relax and enjoy this little break while you can before life grinds the crap out of you. Stick with it, and this time next year, you’ll be better.

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