As I’m writing this, there are less than four hours until the New Year. I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions, and I’m not really one to celebrate New Year’s. I just don’t find it exciting like some people do and am not into the whole party scene associated with it. I’m not hating on it all at, but it just isn’t me.
I do, however, like to reflect on the past year just like most everyone else when it comes to the New Year.
It’s difficult for me to reflect on 2015 as a whole, though, because it just seems like so much. It seems like such a long time—which it can be depending on how it’s looked at.
Somehow it seems like the year just dragged on, yet, at the same time, it seems like 2015 went by relatively quickly. But then I consider that I can hardly reflect on the spring semester let alone 2015 in its entirety.
I’m still trying to look back on how the past year has been, though, and, thinking back, I’ve already done a lot of reflecting throughout the year. I’ve taken more time for myself to reflect upon how my days have gone, how I’ve been feeling. Because of that, I don’t feel the need to reflect on the entire year. Rather, I’d like to reflect on the past few weeks or so, the time I have yet to truly reflect on.
The thing about me is I like to reflect on my day and how I’m feeling right before I go to bed. Sometimes that means I’ll be up until 2:30 a.m., but I’ve found that it’s helpful for me, that it helps me feel better. I haven’t really done that since I’ve come home for winter break, though, and I’m thinking it’s because I’m much more relaxed and don’t feel like it’s as necessary as when I was constantly stressed out at school.
I came home for break feeling so relieved and content that I didn’t even think to reflect because I often associated my reflections with negative thoughts. However, as strenuous as the fall semester was, I came out of it feeling great: I felt very optimistic about my classes and how my grades would turn out, something I hadn’t felt since my senior year of high school.
It turns out my feelings were correct.
Two nights before Christmas, I was sitting on the ground in front of the Christmas tree, wrapping some presents in the family room of my house. When I finished wrapping whatever presents that were left, I picked up my phone and decided to see if final grades were posted yet. They were, and I saw something I hadn’t seen since high school: straight A’s.
I had stopped hoping for straight A’s once I started college. I came in with a slight inkling of hope to accomplish such an academic feat, but I soon realized it was unrealistic. I was already trying to adjust to college and how much my life was changing because of it: I sensed that I’d experience disappointment in some way, and I didn’t want to give myself another thing to potentially be disappointed about.
As this past semester went by, I realized I could potentially get straight A’s with the classes I was taking and how I had done so far. I had, after all, already concluded that, with the mix of classes I had, it was my favorite semester of college so far. But, as aforementioned, I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I just continued on with the semester doing the best I could.
Part of me was skeptical that I could achieve straight A’s because the past semester was, arguably, the busiest semester I’ve ever had. It was my first semester as the photo editor for my school’s yearbook, the editor-in-chief for The Bulls Charge (the Bulls blog I acquired earlier in the year), a columnist for Hoops Addict, and as a board member (and just a regular member) for my school’s To Write Love on Her Arms UChapter. I didn’t even have time to cover a beat for my school’s newspaper, so it seemed absurd to think I could manage straight A’s.
But I somehow did it.
This isn’t meant to be me bragging about my grades either, and I’d like to think this isn’t coming off as such. I’d like to think this is just me being proud of something I accomplished, something I had earlier lost hope for. This is meant to be a lesson for me and, hopefully, others as well.
Despite all of the doubts I had concerning it, I still manage to get straight A’s. Doing my best was actually good enough, and seeing nothing but A’s as my final grades brought a smile to my face, forced happy yells about how grades were posted out of my mouth. Most importantly, it gave me hope for the future.
I stopped being truly hopeful about getting great grades when I got to college, and it’s not like I’ve even received bad grades as a college student. I’ve still done well up to this point, but it hasn’t felt the same. It has sometimes felt like I’ve just settled for good instead of striving for my best and hoping for something great.
Maybe that’s just because college has also discouraged me a bit. I go to such a big school filled with such intelligent people, and it sometimes makes me feel like I don’t belong there among them all because I haven’t accomplished anything spectacular.
But I shouldn’t feel like that anymore. I don’t want to feel like that anymore, and those straight A’s are giving me hope that I won’t feel like that anymore, that I do belong at U of I, that I can achieve some sort of greatness one day. Maybe it won’t be next year or the one after that, but it’ll come as long as I keep working for it, as long as I keep the hope alive.
“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” ― Tom Bodett