A New Academic Year’s Goals

It is the start of my second year at Durham, studying a non-vocational (and therefore more chaotic) degree, and I am determined to successfully navigate this year at university. To guide me, I’ve set some academic goals to give more structure to my studies and my approaches to them. If I’m honest, I did not try my hardest in first year, I didn’t join very many societies and I didn’t take part in college life. And if I’m really honest, my lack of consistent focus towards academics did not serve me in the slightest. So this year, I am reclaiming that academic spirit that got me to Durham in the first place, and setting myself some goals.

The first; actually go to stuff. COVID has turned all of our lives upside down, but if I’m going to be a silver-lining sort of person, I’ll start by saying that at least now I have a much higher chance of attending all my lectures. In first year, I frequently did not make it to a weekly lecture that was a fifteen-minute walk away. Now that I’m living in the student housing and no longer on the Bailey, all of my classes would be at least twenty-five-minutes away, which does not bode well for my marks. At least now I get to open my laptop when I wake up just in time for a 2pm and not miss an academic commitment.

The second; support myself. I know I’ve been shooting myself in the foot with all this painful honesty about how loosely I’ve previously approached my academics, but the result of that was a complete loss in motivation for my degree and ensuing career, and a loss in structure that left me feeling aimless. The constant socialising coupled with nights out, and lack of regard for my health did not help either. If there is one thing I am going to do this year, it is to put myself first. I will frequently check in and look after my mental health, taking advantage of the university’s resources for this and in turn improve my wellbeing which will no doubt help my academics. Let’s not lie, 2020 has not been the greatest year for any of us, which is why now more than ever we need to do what is honestly best for ourselves.

This leads into my third goal; to find balance. I’ve realised I need to find balance between spending time with my friends and resetting with my much needed introvert breaks. I’m finding a balance in prioritising my health and academics, while also allowing myself a healthy dose of pub nights and drinking games with my seven chaotic flatmates. I’ve found that keeping a really organised schedule keeps me feeling on track and it is a much easier way to balance the two!

I’m not sure what this year will hold academically, but I’ve got a good feeling about it, for all of us. Well, anyway… I’ve got to wrap up, I’m off to Spoons.

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