Column by Hallie Beard, Junior from Louisville, Ky.
Of all the pseudo-meaningful phrases that get tossed around from Christmas until Valentine’s Day, “New year, new me” is my favorite.
It’s short, sweet and usually false. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty of empty New Year’s promises. While never successful, my resolutions are usually the same from year to year and probably the most popular in America (lose a few pounds, get organized, read more). I don’t take resolutions very seriously, and usually do a mental eye-roll when someone makes a declaration of personal transformation, backed with, “This time, I’m serious!”
That being said, I’ve been hit with a bit of a wake-up call that prompted me to make a resolution of sorts for this semester.
Over break, I caught up with a cousin I hadn’t seen or talked to since early high school; with that much time to cover, it’s hard to know where to begin. As conversation started, I expected the stiff Q & A we know too well: how are you, good, good, how’s school, all right, all right, etc. etc.. Those questions are boring, sure, but easy to knock out with vaguely positive and usually impersonal answers. Instead, when talking about college, she surprised me by asking, “What are you working on right now that you really love?”
Suddenly I couldn’t remember what I spent my time doing at school.
The moment felt cartoonish – I scratched my head, idled and dumbly repeated, “Uh, what am I working on? That I love?” I should have had some golden response at the ready: learning a new language, making art, helping the homeless, something inspiring and impressive. All I could manage, though, was rattling off my jobs and classes – things I do love but just didn’t seem like the right fit to such a defining question.
Long after the conversation ended, I was still thinking about those words, and how I could have answered differently. Didn’t I have something exciting to share?
As someone studying creative writing and literature, I should be the prime example of a student doing what she loves rather than what’s practical, right? In my head, a giant spotlight and drum roll waited for my gem of artistic realization. It’s still rolling but perhaps getting a little quieter.
Here’s the thing: anything can become mundane if we go about our days, weeks and semesters without checking and pushing ourselves. The most heartfelt passion can dull if we get too caught up in the day-to-day mechanics of making it through the week.
My resolution, then, is not to find some new hobby that sounds impressive or inspiring but to rediscover the joy in what I do in and out of school.
So often we forget that going to college – and getting to work on projects we love – is a privilege full of opportunities we won’t have again.
Whether or not we have jobs or certain classes, we are constantly working in college; we establish our voices, we craft relationships, we make things. This is the work we forget to call work because it’s unscheduled and without a contract. This is how we spend our time.
I’m tossing my resolution out to you, readers.
If you’re looking for new motivation this semester or something to bring excitement back into the daily grind of classes and work, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate and remember why you love to do what you do. Let me know what you find, and here’s to a great spring semester.