Academic New Year’s Resolutions

I love to make New Year’s resolutions. It feels cheesy to admit it, but there’s something about starting a new year that feels auspicious, that motivates me to start new habits and hobbies. Beginning a new academic year gives me a similar dose of motivation and optimism, a desire to make new goals and meet them. Which makes total sense to me: after all, September is pretty much the academic January.

To come up with the resolutions listed below, I’ve taken some inspirations from self-improvement strategies like the level 10 life system. Their basic concept is that you analyze ten different areas of your life, reflect on how satisfied you are about each of these aspects of your life, and come up with goals to improve your satisfaction about each of these areas. I’m keeping it down to 5 areas of my life (10 was a bit much), and I’ll spare you my insights into my (dis)satisfaction with each, so let’s skip right to the action points I’ve come up with:

1. Grad school work: science and lab work

  • At this point in my project, I need to focus on completing key experiments that will make up the first figures of my first paper.
    • I have already made a rough plan of when I can do each experiment, I just need to follow up and actually do them.
  • I don’t have to do any classes anymore, so that does free up quite a bit of time. 🙂
  • And with this free time, I can read papers and keep up with the literature from my field.
    • I am usually busy with lab work during weekdays, but finding 30 minutes to read every day seems feasible. Going through tables of contents to find new papers to skim-read totally counts.

2. Career development: because I’m not going to be in grad school forever

  • This summer, I learned about the concept of an individual development plan, and I want to develop one for myself.
    • I’ll start by completing the skills and interest quiz at the myIDP site (hosted by Science Careers).
  • Once I have a clearer idea of my career options, I want to actually sit down and make myself a 5-year timeline, to figure out the concrete next steps I can take to pursue my professional goals.

3. Community involvement 

  • I will write regular blog posts for GradLife. 🙂
  • I intend to go and be sociable at my departmental graduate students’ association’s events.
    • Because we’re all in this together, eh?

4. Health goals

  • Since I’m paying for the PGSS healthcare plan, I might as well use it and make some preventative health care check-ups (see: dentist, optometrist).
  • I will figure out what kind of exercise I’ll be doing this semester. Registration for the fitness classes on campus has already begun, and classes will start on September 18th.
    • If I decide not to pay for a fitness class, I will need to actually schedule some running/swimming time at least twice a week. Ideally four times a week.

5. Having fun! I like to have hobbies, they help me relax

  • Play an instrument at least three times a week, even if it’s just going through scales for 10 minutes.
  • Borrow library books (ebooks downloaded onto my phone totally count!) and read fiction for fun.
  • Knit an ugly sweater while I watch literally anything on Netflix.
    • A stylish-looking sweater would also be acceptable. Pattern suggestions are welcome!

How about you? Do you have any academic new year’s resolutions?

Cover photo by GradLife McGill Instagrammer @d_of_echo3 // @gradlifemcgill


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