Posted by Indiana Wesleyan University on Fri, Feb 10, 2012
by Lauren Rahman, IWU senior
Since I try to avoid failure in all forms, I’ve always been a bit leery of New Year’s resolutions. It seems counterintuitive to start a new year by setting up unrealistic expectations.
Maybe I’m a pessimist, or maybe I’d rather enjoy my all-fat extra whip caramel macchiato and then spontaneously decide to go out for Thai food rather than catch up on daily journaling I said I would do. Either way, for my last semester at IWU, I decided to take a different approach and pick a few things I would not do.
These things I resolve to avoid at all costs:
I will not worry about the future
“What are you doing after graduation? Do you have plans? Do you have a job yet? Are you ready to graduate? After graduation, are you going to be poor and hide in the student center to sleep at night while preying on free drinks at McConn for sustenance?”
People are finding ever more creative and encouraging ways to ask me how my planning for the future is coming along. They do offer me good advice and leads: “I know a lady who works at that foundation and I can set something up for you.”
But by far the best advice I’ve received came from a professor: “Just tell them you have many opportunities and now you’re just trying to decide which one to take.”
I will not overcommit
It’s taken four years to perfect the skill, but I think I’ve got saying “no” down to a fine art. The learning curve has been long and the trial and error process of job and project elimination has been challenging. But this semester I’ve pared my schedule down to four classes, one job, two extracurricular projects and one leadership position. Even after throwing in a job search, I think this semester will be comparatively low-stress.
I will not become an introvert
“Does he still go here or did he transfer out?” No, he’s still here, but he’s been sucked into a black hole that formed in the vicinity of his bedroom.
The fun of freshman year has faded, while the future of “real life” looms on the horizon, causing some seniors to hibernate, either in denial or lethargy. But it’s not over yet, so why pretend like it is? I vow to choose McConn over my bedroom, the climbing wall over the townhouses’ exercise room and a Saturday breakfast with friends over sleeping in.
I will not forget about friendships that developed freshman year
The last year at IWU, it’s easy to give a polite nod to the students you sat with in World Changers breakout group and keep walking. But unless I’m rushing to get to the Business Office before it closes, I’m going to stop and talk.
Instead of counting only the friends I’ve gained in the past couple years, I’m going to enjoy relationships with people I’ve known since that first awkward New Student Orientation rally. Just because my freshman year roommate and I went separate ways, living across campus from each other sophomore year, doesn’t mean we can’t stay in touch. Maybe next year we’ll live across the country from each other, but visit on our weekends off work.
I will not pull an all-nighter
It was the week before finals, and I had a paper due — a big one. So I worked through the night in the Noggle study lounge even after my homework buddy for that night gave up and went to bed. I left that room after all 30 pages had been written and edited, just in time for my 7:50 class where I almost fell out of my chair while trying to keep my drooping eyelids open. I was a zombie for the rest of the week, until I curled into my bed that Friday after classes and hibernated until I no longer hated daylight.
In my entire time at IWU I’ve completed one all-nighter. That was enough. I decided it’s just not worth it.
I will not pursue a ring by spring
Some rumors have formed that IWU graduates who don’t have a significant other, an impending wedding or some combination of the two when they leave here either never get married or die by default shortly after graduation. I’d like to dispel those myths and fears. In reality, I’ve met quite a few IWU graduates who appear, at least on the surface, to be quite well-adjusted and happy individuals.
I’ve even heard some talk about something called an “individual life purpose apart from getting married.”
So this semester I’m going to forget about the “ring by spring” criteria for graduation. Another interesting fact I discovered this year is that the Records Office doesn’t require a wedding plan as part of your application for graduation.
I will not complain
Since chicken and waffle fries power half the academic thinking among the student body lately, it’s easy to be frustrated that Chick-fil-A ran out of Chick-fil-A sauce and can only offer Bar-B-Q, honey mustard, and ranch. So we gripe, forgetting that less than a year ago we didn’t even have chicken nuggets, waffle fries and the classic fried chicken sandwich with pickles—but we don’t like pickles on our sandwiches, so this is upsetting as well.
I will not wake up my roommate by pushing snooze on my alarm every five minutes
This may be the hardest item on this list to accomplish. I’m a little ambitious when I set my alarm the night before: I’m going to bed at 1. Oh, I can get up at six to do devotions and eat breakfast.
Last year I ruined the worship song “Hosanna” by setting it as my phone’s alarm tone. Now, all I can think of when I hear it in chapel is “Not now, I still have five more minutes.”
My roommate that year heard it five times every morning. I’ve lived with some saints, but everyone has a limit. I hope to finish this year with all my friendships intact.
I will not take my professors for granted
I don’t know any other school where professors regularly want to get coffee with students and write sparkling recommendation letters, but maybe I’m biased. From the first time I visited my sister here and enjoyed Wilbur Williams’ rendition of the Biblical character Job, it’s been clear that IWU professors are a special bunch in many ways. From Dr. Buck and Dr. Bounds to all the professors in the Business Division, I will take the time to glean knowledge from them before heading out to figure it out on my own.
I will not run out of points before the semester is over
This probably would’ve been a better goal for last semester when I could’ve bought some Christmas gifts from McConn before heading home for break. “Does she drink coffee? Oh well, I’ll get her the green thermos. Who doesn’t need portable hot water?”
This semester, though, I will have points left over to splurge during finals week, to treat my family at graduation, and to buy myself a green thermos. So when I brew coffee wherever I end up this May, I can pretend like it came from McConn and only cost me points instead of “real money.”
When it’s time for “real life” and I look back on my last semester, I feel confident that I’ll be satisfied with how I spent my time. In my opinion, to-do lists are overrated and overused. I can tell you from experience, start making to-don’t lists and you’ll feel a lot better.
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