New Year Resolutions for 2021
What a year 2020 has been! Indeed, it’s been a tough year emotionally and physically (with unprecedented circumstances and restrictions). However, I hope these experiences have made us more resilient and there have been rays of light this year. Here’s hoping for a better year ahead in 2021.
When Term 2 ended back in March 2020, with the country plunged into a national ‘lockdown’, we’ve had to adapt and react to a lot of new things. Whether that be the discussions on the new safety net policy (remember this!) to learning about the online teaching, learning and assessment formats. We’ve had to use the AEP to complete open-book exams or benefit from assignment extensions to complete our coursework over Term 3. In fact, many of us were unable to return back on to campus for a normal Term 3. Indeed, we haven’t even had a normal Term 1 (2020-21 academic year).
I’ve had a lot of opportunities for introspection this year. In particular, the week after Christmas to reflect on 2020.
New Year Resolutions:
- Improving organisation
Adapting to online teaching and learning has been quite challenging, especially from an organisational perspective. I don’t necessarily have that traditional timetable with my lectures and seminars scheduled in, which I have relied on in the past. My lectures are asynchronously recorded- which means I can watch it at any time. However, there’s usually a secondary synchronous/ ‘live’ lecture for some of my philosophy and economics modules too. This has made the work-load increase as some of my lectures have ‘over-run’ or not always been uploaded on time. That’s ok if it messes with your timetable, just improvise! Also, I’m sure most of you can relate to the fact that it takes longer to watch lectures as we don’t necessarily have access to physical copies/handouts anymore.
These have been a few things that have sometimes been overwhelming. However, I have managed to stay on track and not necessarily fall behind. In 2021, I still want to become even more organised to ensure I’m on top of things and become more efficient.
Action point: Speak with friends to get their perspective on what they have done that has been effective for them.
2. Reducing procrastination further
Following on from my point on improving organisation, I want to cut down even more on procrastination when I am doing work. It’s the final year of undergraduate study – which means the stakes are even higher and there is a lot of work to do. I have friends who are working on dissertations. In my personal circumstance, I have now got multiple assignments due in many frequent intervals between January and early May. This is then followed by further online examinations (Summer 2021). I aim to reduce procrastination by forming healthy habits of using social media (amongst other things) with studying. This is not to say that I haven’t done so already, or indeed anyone else hasn’t. However, given the national/ local restrictions that have been in place (and undoubtedly will continue in 2021), we’ve all had our social media activity increase quite a bit. So, every ping and buzz of the phone can be tempting to fall into the trap of further procastination. That’s ok and normal. It’s just about ensuring that we can find the new right balance so that our work isn’t affected.
Action point: Try new techniques such as the ‘pomodoro technique’ or productivity apps to help support my efforts.
3. Becoming more [virtually] social
On the note of social media, I still want to increase my social activity though by scheduling time outside of work to make the most of virtual opportunities. This will take the form of joining more society events and other virtual opportunities. I haven’t necessarily had the chance to do this in Term 1 – and there hasn’t been that much on either. However, given that I am now going into my final full-term of undergraduate study, I want to make the most of it.
Action point: Find ways to stay in the loop of events and finding companions that I can go to a virtual event with so that it’s not always awkward.
4. Continue with volunteering and giving-back
One of the most rewarding things I have been able to work on this year has been giving back to the student community. This has taken many forms- from supporting a new social mobility organisation get started to joining as an alumni adviser, mentor and raising awareness for different organisations. I want to take this further and build on my platform of giving back. I would recommend my fellow university-mates to consider doing something similar on what they are passionate about. If there’s one thing that I would encourage, it would be to consider becoming a mentor.
These were some of my thoughts on 2020 and for the year ahead. I hope you all have a very Happy New Year. Remember to carry on frequently checking your emails and the University web-pages for up-to-date information about the plans for the term ahead, guidance and other important updates.