I have always loved September. I always look forward to it: the way the humidity softens and crisps into cool autumn weather, the return to a fuller routine, the freshness of it all. To me, Septembers always mean lists and organisation and finally being able to wear jackets, jeans, and boots. To me, Septembers always mean beginnings.I believe in the power of setting an intention. Every new year, I define that by one word : my intention for 2017 is Build (see 2016 on Embrace and 2015 on Recovery here). Every now and again, I’ll try to check in with myself and examine whether or not I’m making decisions that align with that goal. It was by doing this that I decided to choose the Explore program over taking full time summer courses (spoilers: it was amazing. Do the Explore program). It was a practice that helps to keep me grounded, even when making difficult decisions. I quit a job I loved this summer because I knew that I could only build myself up by reducing my workload and prioritising my wellbeing. It was this word build that led me to work on a project that unites two communities I care passionately about (stay tuned later this autumn to hear more on this!).
So, it’s September again. The beginning of my fourth year at Glendon. I feel so blessed that I get to be here on this beautiful campus, taking classes I love and writing this little blog for another year. By now, I am able to examine the patterns that arise through my academic career — and how I want this year to pan out.So without further ado, let’s start this year with some forethought and vision. Here are my intentions for the year ahead.
- I intend to prioritise my health and well-being. Learning to navigate chronic illness during my university years has caused me to take a rather unconventional route: transferring, studying part-time, and building the beginnings of a career on this side of graduation. Last year, I felt as though I had to compensate for taking the slow lane, and so I took on two jobs and several freelance writing projects. The result: a popping CV and a not-so-popping transcript. Not only did my health suffer tremendously, it took such a toll that I had to drop classes. This summer I decided that it was time to curb that habit of taking on far too much, and I’m paring back my workload so that I can focus on enjoying my studies.
- I intend to let go of shame. As mentioned above, I place an unfair amount of pressure on myself. I am my own harshest critic. Being the resident grandma of the eAmbassadors, and having watched almost all my friends graduate ahead of me, I struggle with a lot of shame and self-inflicted judgement. It makes no sense: I don’t subscribe to the idea that everyone should do things in the same way. I celebrate my peers regardless of their circumstances: whether they start their degrees at 17 or 21, whether they take extra time or time off, whether they change their majors or their campus. We are all figuring ourselves out, and that includes me.
- I intend to make use of the services and experiences available to me. We are so lucky as students and residents of the GTA to have so many resources and events available to us, both on and off campus. At the start of my degree I was so shy about attending office hours or making use of any student support services — I thought it would flag me as a “weak” student. By now I’ve learned that profs generally love having students approach them, whether for queries or just a chinwag. The classes in which I’ve made a point of engaging with the prof are also the ones that have yielded As and A+s — just saying. This year, I intend to make use of Salon Francophone and Alliance Française, the GAC, and participate in more events within the Glendon community. I’m challenging myself to try a new place or experience in the GTA at least once a month, and I’ll be bringing you along for the ride by blogging about them.
- I intend to curate my intake. This intention stems from a recent tweet of mine:
What we consume matters: food, online content, art, conversation — we carry these things and we embody them. This year I intend to elevate my intake by reading better books, following people on social media whose content I actually care about, experiencing more art and music, spending time with people I value, and by removing anything that isn’t nourishing to the mind, body, and soul. (That being said… I am partial to a bit of rubbish TV to switch my mind off sometimes. A cheat day once in a while never killed anyone!).
- I intend to strategise and organise. Some say it’s because I’m a Virgo. Some say it’s because I’m Type A. All I know is that I just love a good list and a bit of organisation. This year, I intend to be more strategic about the work I do and how I do it. This is a skill worth developing early on in your uni life, especially for picking classes etc. (I personally have mostly relied on Yassin in academic advising) as it’ll make university and life in general so. much. easier. Skills like time management, juggling school, work, relationships and health, plotting out timetables and having time to relax is vital and an ongoing practice. Being aware of what you want from life and figuring out ways to get it is so important.
This post is, at the very least, a starting point. Maybe putting these intentions out into the universe/interwebs will hold me accountable.
If you’re setting your own intentions, I’d love to hear them! Comment them below, or tweet them @jasminelysiagl.