2018: The Year of Balance

2018: The Year of Balance - Word of the Year + my New Year's ResolutionsFinally 2018 is here! Whoop!

2017 was a mixed year, definitely an accurate description of how life has a tendency to be. There were a lot of really great things that happened in 2017. The best being that I got to go back to Kenya and be with my family. It was absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to go again! There were also all the book cons that I went to, especially because I went with my friends! I definitely want to go to more book cons in 2018 simply because it’s really humbling to meet the person behind some of my favorite books (like Angie Thomas!)

But 2017 was also the year of not getting to spend time with my friends. It was also the year of extreme amounts of stress about everything. And the last half of 2017 was when I stopped properly taking care of myself, not exercising or eating right. Basically, I fell off the band wagon.

That’s why in 2018, the word of the year is:


I’m going to do my best to balance school and all of the other things in my life. Because, in reality, my classes are the excuse I use for not doing literally anything and that’s just not good enough. I want to get better at feeling like my classes are just a part of my life instead of being my whole life. But more importantly, I want to feel like I can participate in a variety of things without guilt or do things spontaneously.

So, let’s break it down and see how I’m going to find balance in my life.

|| School ||

This is easily the most important place that I need to find some balance. Right now, it’s taking the most of my energy and creating the most amount of stress. As important as my education is to me, it is almost quite literally consuming my life.

And I know it’s only going to get worse from here because I’m in the last year and a half of college which basically means I have, mostly, really hard major classes left to take. So I need to find a way to not let this become the only thing that I do.

Go to Office Hours

I’ve been to office hours maybe 6 times and they’ve been incredibly helpful. But I don’t always go when I need to know. Instead I’ll spend hours trying to figure it out on my own and end up frustrated. And sometimes I still don’t understand a concept. So to save myself the time and the frustration, I’m planning on going to office hours more frequently.

The other reason I need to go to office hours is so that my professors know who I am. I’m planning on going to med school and I need recommendations. I actually want my professors to be able to talk about the type of person that I am, not just the stats that accompany my name.

Create more review guides

Review guides vs. study guides, definitely a blog post there somewhere…

Regardless, the basic difference is that study guides tell you all of the things that you need to study. You make them before you actually get started studying. Review guides on the other hand are those things that, no matter how many practice problems you do, you forget relatively frequently. These are made after you’ve done the hard studying and are really just things that you know you just have to memorize.

These are absolutely amazing to create about a week before an exam because they give you concrete questions to ask during office hours. And they helped me all last semester when I needed to just memorize a few things right before an exam because, let’s be real, sometimes you have to last minute cram for an exam.

Spend less time mindlessly taking notes

In Organic Chemistry I, I did all of the notes. And it was a complete waste of time. Quite literally when I didn’t do the notes and focused instead on doing a lot of practice problems, my understanding improved dramatically.

With this goal, I want to take the time to figure out whether or not detailed note-taking is absolutely useful/necessary for each class.

|| Blog ||

I haven’t blogged or thought about blogging in several months, not even a little bit. It’s only been in recent weeks when I, finally, started to get a real handle on O Chem that I started to think about blogging again. I may be adding to my plate by recommitting to blogging, but I do want to start writing again, without the months-long breaks in between posts.

Blog Once a Month

I can make this happen. I absolutely know that I can create really good, quality content at least once a month. In reality I’d like it to say twice a month (and my editorial calendar is set up that way), but I simply don’t know how swamped I’m going to be with school + career prep (next section).

Be active on Twitter and Pinterest

I really like Pinterest. It’s a really chill way to destress and to just explore bloggers and other fun stuff. I don’t necessarily want my Pinterest feed to be just blog related stuff, but I do want to put quality content in front of my followers.

And Twitter is just a fun and easy way to keep up with other bloggers and fun people. I’m a Twitter fan mostly because it doesn’t require me to be visual and instead focuses on words which I like to think I’m good at.

|| Career ||

I spend a lot of time thinking about my future. Especially what it takes to get me into medical school and all of the other important things beyond that. But mostly medical school. This is especially true when I think that I won’t be a college student in a year and a half. It can be a little (okay, a lot) scary because I don’t feel prepared. It takes up a lot of my mental space. So this year I want to focus on finding a balance between my dreams and the realities of my situation.

Look for shadowing positions

Shadowing is a requirement for applying to medical schools. And it’s a great way to figure out if you actually want to go into medicine before you spend thousands of dollars getting into medical school.

Network with other doctors

While I’m looking for shadowing positions, I also want to get into contact with all of the doctor friends that my family and friends have connections to. It’s likely that I’ll have to take a gap year and I’d, ideally, like to spend all of that time doing volunteer work outside of the country and the best way to get the ball rolling is to network with other people in the field.

|| Relationships ||

Say no to fewer things

I am really quick to say no to things out of fear that I won’t get all of my homework done. But sometimes I need a break from all of the hard work. And hanging out with my friends is really fun. I want to do fun things like go to carnivals and parties and just trail around downtown for fun. Or have late-night WaHo runs just because we can.

Actually answer texts

Texting is really hard. I don’t know why but I just don’t enjoy it. And I think it’s mostly because I think that whatever I’m doing is more important. The truth though is that, unless I’m in class or actively studying for an exam, there is no good reason for me to not answer a text.

So this year I want to get better at texting the people I care about. All about finding that balance and creating priorities this year.

Be more open to a romantic relationship

This is so weird for me to write down…

There were opportunities last year that I didn’t take. For a variety of reasons. Okay, mostly just the one excuse of I’m too busy with school. Regardless, I feel like I’m at a time where the idea of being in a relationship isn’t entirely out of the scope of possibility.

|| Health ||

Physical Health

Exercise for 1 hour 3 times a week

One thing that I’ve realized over the past few months is that I don’t feel comfortable in the gym by myself. I can’t explain why that is because when I take my other friends who want me to lead them through an exercise routine, I’m perfectly fine. But going by myself fills me with dread.

So, this year, I’m giving myself permission to not go to the gym to get my exercise. However, I do have to get exercise somehow and that’ll probably be through really fund exercise videos in my apartment as I work towards building gym confidence.

Do yoga 3 times a week

I feel so relaxed after a good yoga session, but I haven’t been that great about getting in yoga time the second half of 2017. I would do it every day of the week, but I know myself well enough to know that I can’t commit to that.

Mental Health

6 Hours of Sleep Every Night

Most of the time I get about 5 hours which is…pretty close. But I can do better. I like my body better with 6 hours. And my brain works better with 6 hours. I know, I know, I should try and get 7 hours of sleep every night, but I start to feel sluggish when I get 7 hours. So I’ll stick to 6, thank you very much science.

Read a book everyday

This is another thing that I pushed to the back burner because I didn’t want to make time for it. But not this year, I’m going to make reading a priority again because I love reading.

I didn’t think that I was ever going to do a word of the year type of resolution but ‘Balance’ has been on my mind for months. Especially towards the end of the year, I felt like my life was running me instead of the other way around. It’s such a cliché thing to say, but it’s how I felt. I know I won’t have complete control of my life, life is too unpredictable. But I would like to be able to have a balance amongst all of the things that I value, a balance in the amount of time and mental thought I put into each of these things. That’s what prompted this year’s word of the year.

We’ll see whether or not it ends up being helpful to me. I have a good feeling it will be and, to make sure that it is, I’ll be reviewing my goals and my word every 3 months, with the intention of letting myself change the word of the year and my goals if I need to. Until then, I’ll see what a life of balance has in store for me.

Do you have a word of the year? How’d yours come about? What about your New Year’s Resolutions?