My (Academic) New Year’s Resolutions

shutterstock_62795851Welcome to 2016! This post comes a bit tardy of January 1st, but better late than never. Similar to others, I like to make resolutions to myself in order to make each year as wonderful and full of potential as possible. As we are students here at McGill University, it is important that we make the most of our university career and ensure success so this should most certainly include academic resolutions! I want this semester to be my best and most productive yet, so here are a few of my academic New Year’s resolutions.

  1. Continue improving study habits & work ethic – This past term I had to seriously crack down and teach myself how to study for the first time in my life. Let’s face it – I was lazy in high school. I was clever, charming, and able to do well with little effort. When I arrived at McGill in Fall 2014, I faced the challenge of learning how to actually study and work hard. It’s been a struggle but I am finally getting there. I want to learn how to complete my assigned reading more quickly and thoroughly, study for tests earlier, and continue to write better essays & papers.
  2. Practice foreign languages – In high school, I was nearly fluent in French and couldn’t wait to move to Montreal and speak the language every day. However, I find myself rarely using it here in the city as I live in an English neighborhood and don’t have many Francophone friends. This year I want to seek out opportunities to speak French multiple times a week, even if it scares me. I also want to continue working on German and Arabic, both of which I took last year – I have signed up for a SSMU Mini Course in Arabic and want to join a conversation group or find a language buddy for German.
  3. Keep home workspace organized and tidy – In order to be the best student I can be, the environment in which I work needs to be spotless. My desk at home is often covered in papers, pens, notebooks, and dirty dishes. I am a busy person so cleaning is not the first thing on my mind, but I must keep my workspace clean in order to work hard and be able to concentrate.
  4. Work on getting papers published – I have written several papers that I think are good enough to be published in undergraduate journals, including the intensive POLI 599 research paper which ended up being 40 pages long. As I worked hard on these papers, I want to send them off to journals in an attempt to get published. I keep putting this off but now is the time to be brave and send them off!
  5. Develop more professional relationships – While I have done a pretty good job at this so far during my time at McGill (through internships, fellowships, volunteering, working with professors), I want to develop more professional relationships with professors and other academics though networking in order to gain contacts and potential reference letters for law & grad school.

I’ve got my work cut out for me! Do you have any New Year’s resolutions pertaining to your academic life? If not, I encourage you to write some down!

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