I don’t know about anyone else, but creating New Year’s Resolutions has always been nerve-wracking for me. Personally, it’s daunting to plan something regularly over the course of 366 days (Happy Leap Year!); especially when I don’t know what I’ll be doing around this time next year.
As I enter my second semester in the University of Maryland’s MLIS program, I decided to focus on my Spring 2020 goals instead of year-long resolutions. Over the last couple of weeks, I considered goals in five categories: professional development, academic, physical, mental, and personal. As a full-time student with a graduate assistantship and another on-campus job, my semesters can be jam-packed; but these goals will allow me to re-orient myself and remember to establish a better work-life-school balance. Finally, with this tactic, I know I can reflect on my goals each semester and change them as needed.
So, what are some goals I have for this Spring 2020 semester?
Join a professional organization and attend one event
As mentioned in several posts over the years, networking is critical in the LIS field. In my previous experiences, the sooner I connected with a professional, I had more chances at forming a lasting, respectful connection with them. Additionally, since the University of Maryland is only a few miles from Washington D.C. – and within a train ride/driving distance to Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and other major cities – this is a great geographical area to meet others in the LIS field. This semester, I am planning to join ALA or the SLA and keep an eye out for an event to attend.
Apply for – and accept – a field study
As part of my degree program, students are required to write a thesis or participate in a field study for credit. Since I’m still recovering from my undergraduate thesis, you can take a guess at what path I have decided to go for! I appreciate the insight that internships and field studies provide, especially as someone who doesn’t exactly know what she wants to do with her degree just yet. My program does a great job at sharing field study opportunities (both full time and part time) in the Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area; so I know a great one is certainly available as long as I look for it.
Swim 1500+ yards once a week
I was a competitive swimmer for 10 years; I now consider myself a “swammer.” However, just months after I retired from competition, I found myself longing to get back in the water. Not only is it a form of exercise; it also helps me destress and clear my head after a full day of work and the beginning of a night of homework and reading. Plus, my on-campus gym fee is included with my student fees, so I might as well use it as much as I can!
Meditate each day Monday – Friday
Mindfulness is something completely new for me, but also something I’ve been longing to try. With typical life stresses on top of a full course load, I sometimes find myself getting overwhelmed a need a few minutes to re-ground myself through meditation. Each week, I have been adding one minute of meditation for each session (ex: last week I spent 3 minutes meditating, this week will be 4 minutes, and so on) with an emphasis on introducing myself to the practice.
Take a social media detox for 48 hours (all at once or split up) each month
With everything that goes on around the world, it’s sometimes nice to take a step back from the constant, mindless scrolling on Instagram and Facebook. I find that taking just 24 hours to log out of all social media accounts on my phone and laptop just enough to re-focus myself. It’s even more helpful to just delete the apps off of my phone so I don’t tempt myself! Plus, this helps contribute to my next goal…
Read 10 books
Obviously, I had to mention a reading goal! I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 30 books this year. In my mind, if I divide that total up into three semesters (spring, summer, and fall) and include school breaks, this goal should be plenty achievable. In order to get as much reading in as possible, I plan to take part in those social media detoxes and budget out some time at night to read before bed.
How do you feel about making semester goals? How do you find a way to make them challenging, yet reachable and rewarding? What are some of your own goals for the semester? Feel free to share them in the comments!