new school year’s resolutions

Here we are again, at the start of another school year. This seems like a more appropriate time for students to make resolutions than at the beginning of the calendar year, and it is especially important to form good study habits at the beginning of a new program. So, just for the record, here are mine:

  1. More reading! – This has two parts. First, I resolve never to attend a class meeting this semester without having read the assigned material in its entirety. We’ve all failed to do so before, for whatever reason – we’re too busy, it’s too many pages or too boring, or whatever. But now I’m in a program that I am totally interested in, and without teaching responsibilities on top of my coursework. As such, there is really no excuse for not doing the assigned reading. Which brings us to the second part of the reading resolution: I should also have plenty of time to read at least two books per month (either fiction or nonfiction) in addition to the assigned reading for courses. I’d really like to increase that to one extra book per week, but I guess I’ll work up to it. Will be tracking this with Goodreads.
  2. More writing! – I’ve heard it time and time again: to become a good writer, you must write regularly and copiously, even if noncommittally. I believe that this is good advice, and yet I have never taken it… until this semester. From now on, I’m going to write blog posts of ideas as I have them, instead of stashing them away in Evernote, never to see the light of day. Or, if I have a term paper idea, I plan to test it out with a few pages instead of with a few sentences. It’s not as if I’m going to run out of ink or something.
  3. Less internet! – I’m mildly concerned with the possibility that the internet is decreasing our attention spans, and so on. More importantly, though, it sucks up too much of my time and, although I learn some stuff from surfing around and reading blogs, it never gives me a sense of accomplishment. So Google Reader needs to shift from being my main source of reading to a minor one. And I will use it at night, instead of in the morning when catching up on the blogs can easily derail my plans for the entire day.
  4. More socializing! – I am kind of a loner, especially academically. I basically avoid engaging with my colleagues outside of class, hate sharing papers in progress, and have begun even to avoid discussing academic stuff on social sites. But to be an academic loner is bad for you  – it deprives you of exposure to new ideas, practice in critiquing and being critiqued, and networking opportunities. So, I plan to stop being so academically antisocial.

Best wishes for a successful school year to all my fellow students. Or, enjoy not being in school, as the case may be :-)

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