Starting the new semester right.

Amidst my first New England winter, the spring semester has begun. It is very cold and snowy in Boston, and it’s the first time I’ve experienced single-digit temperatures outside. That was how I spent my first week. (AND a Nor’easter is coming in later today, which could end up being the most snow I’ve ever seen.)

Due to the stay-in-place after my flight, I took all my classes remotely from my dorm for the first week. I definitely got lucky last semester where I had more hybrid classes that at least had a little bit of in-person meetings in small groups during the week, but this semester, I have mostly remote classes. All of that considered, I can already tell that this semester is going to feel much different than last. However, I won’t let it stop me from trying to have a positive time in the middle of the chaos.

Typically, I am much more of a pessimist and realist when it comes to goal setting and looking ahead, but the past year has taught me to look closer at everything and try to come up with some semblance of positivity. So, I’ve come up with a short list of goals that I want to keep in mind as the semester goes on.

Goal 1: Stay ahead of my deadlines.

This is really a nicer way of telling myself to stop procrastinating. This is always an unaccomplished goal for me because I always find something else that I want to do more than an assignment that might not be very exciting. However, after the burnout of the end of the fall semester, I don’t want to feel that again.

I’m trying out a new method of tracking my assignments, projects, and due dates this semester, that being Notion. You may have heard of the site before, but it’s basically a glorified to-do list (in a good way). I’ve seen a lot of Notion tours and template videos, and I wanted to try it out myself, especially because you can get a free pro plan as a student. I’m currently in the process of setting everything up, but once I’m done (and hopefully am enjoying it too), I’ll share the experience.


Goal 2: Participate more in class.

We all know that speaking and even turning on your camera in a Zoom class feels quite awkward. The experience behind a screen as opposed to in front of the teacher in a classroom is completely different. It almost feels less accessible because there’s no stop camera or mute in real life. That step changes the conversation. But I want to stop letting it do that to me.

To a certain extent, I want to be that person that overshares and at least raises her hand to answer every question that the professor asks. Part of this is me wanting to build a good relationship with my professors and the other part is me trying to get more out of my Zoom education. I’m making the most out of it, however that may be.

Goal 3: Participate more in my extracurriculars.

Much like the previous goal, with the organizations I joined on campus, all of the meetings and events are online (for good reason, obviously). It’s quite difficult to meet people and make connections within a club where we all have this shared interest when everything is on Zoom. So, I will definitely try to reach out as much as I can to connect with people in the clubs I joined and see where it goes.

Goal 4: Read more.

This is less related to classwork, but I want to read more. Since high school, I’ve fell out of love for reading for pleasure. In middle school, I used to read so much, but the typical thing happened where required reading basically ruined all of my motivation to read. And it’s still hitting me today.

While there are still so many readings that I have to do for class, I want to find time to read fiction for fun as well. I’m still very interested in science fiction and drama stories, and I want to discover and read more of them. (Hopefully, it’ll also help my creative writing skills as well.) At the moment, I’m slowly getting through Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I read a lot of it on the plane ride back to campus, but still have most of the novel left.

It’s possible that I’m being too ambitious with these goals knowing myself and how I don’t particularly like change. However, I’m only going to have an undergrad experience once, so I want to make sure I at east tried to make it good. If you’re also a student, how are you doing with remote learning, and what are your goals for this semester or quarter?

Thanks for reading, stay safe, and warm (if you live in the northern hemisphere)!