By Hannah Keziah Agustin

2020 was exhausting. COVID-19 has seeped into every crevice of our lives like an uninvited guest. In the past year, we have experienced loss, death, and injustices on a global scale, and if you’re like me, I’m sure that you’re just ready to have a clean slate in order to start fresh and try again. What’s even better is, as students, we can begin anew whenever a new semester comes our way.

With that being said, here are five tips you can do in order to start your year right. I hope that this helps you to not just become a better UW-Whitewater student but a better person in general!

1. Do a self-review.

It can be easy to be ungrateful for 2020, but even the difficult year had a silver lining. Personally, I have become better at time management because of online classes. Even though it was difficult at first because I had to be responsible for my assignments without the support of my colleagues, I eventually got the hang of managing my schedule while being fully committed to my different classes. Acknowledging your growth in the past year can be helpful in determining what areas you need to improve on in the next year.

2. Clean up your space.

Cleanliness helps clear our minds. Decluttering allows us to see what we value and what we don’t. Enter into the new year by making space for things that really matter. If you have a book that you used for English 101 once during your first semester in Whitewater, resell it to the Bookstore. If you have readings that you no longer need, recycle them. You can also consider donating to the Community Space so that other people can benefit from your things!

3. Set new goals.

Nothing feels better than reaching the end of the year knowing that you have accomplished something. Some goals you can set for yourself in 2021 can be as big as self-improvement and getting straight A’s or it can also be as small as learning a new hobby or being intentional with self-care. No matter what it looks like, put together a list that will make you feel proud of how much you have grown.

4. Reach out to your loved ones.

If there’s anything I have learned in the past year, it’s that life is short. We must hold on to the people of our lives that we love most and cherish them while they are still there. This year, be intentional about reaching out to people and letting them know that they are loved. Even in a socially distanced world, we are made close by technology. FaceTime your high school friends, your grandparents, or your old acquaintances.

5. Learn patience.

This year is a good time to grow in your patience for yourself and others. There have been many challenges that we have experienced, and the least we can do is to be gracious and merciful unto ourselves. I hope that this list inspires you somehow to make the most of this year!