Fresh ways to start a fresh year

Carol Hodorowicz, Opinions Editor

Usually, whenever I read something that follows the typical and exhausted “do’s and don’t’s” format, I roll my eyes and do not bother to give it a read.

However, because it is a new year, I am trying to be less critical and be more accepting of advice, no matter how cliché or redundant it may seem.

With the new year comes a new semester. And with this clean slate comes new opportunities to learn from our past … or repeat it, but better than the first time around.

The chances are I am not any more wiser than you, the reader. But after my two and a half years at Eastern, I have picked up a few things along the way. As a belated Christmas gift and warm welcome to the new year, I am passing on my knowledge (for lack of a better term) onto you:


  1. Get organized.

Okay, duh. But I am talking about more than just color coding your notes with different colored highlighters. Get a planner and write down everything every day—assignments, tests, shifts at work—you name it, you write it down. My planner is an extension of myself. I even write down what day of the week I want to set aside an hour to read, write or call one of my friends or family members. In my room, I have a whiteboard with every payment due date for my bills, appointments I made and future days I need to schedule off work. On the outside of my bedroom door, I hang up a printed schedule of both my class and work times. It sounds lame, but it prevents me from spontaneously combusting from stress.


  1. Stay busy.

Free time should be treated as a luxury, not a lifestyle. Before I joined my sorority, started working on campus and got a job, my free time was more of a curse than a blessing. I developed some unhealthy habits that could have ultimately affected my finances and academics if I had not gotten involved and filled up my schedule.


  1. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

People say, “There are no such things as stupid questions.” In my time, I have heard an infinite amount of stupid questions, but these questions do not even begin to compare to the stupidity I have either witnessed or participated in myself from being too afraid to ask for clarification. It sounds stupid to ask your teacher if you should use pen or pencil for your lab report, but it is more stupid to lose points on an assignment for that minor mistake.


  1. Stay grounded.

Some days are going to feel like a 24-minute breeze while others feel like a 24-year sentence in a prison of stress. During both of these times, it is important to remind yourself of who you are, what you are capable of and what opportunities you have in front of you. Be kind to yourself and learn from your mistakes. Communicate with your loved ones about the feelings you are experiencing during this tumultuous time. No matter how you decide to do it, make sure you are doing what is best for yourself.


This one speaks for itself and in my opinion, it is the most important one on my list. You, your mental health and your skin deserve at least seven hours dedicated to catching Z’s.


Hopefully one of you finds my tips useful. Hell, maybe you will find a better strategy along the way. Either way, happy new year and welcome back home, panthers.


Carole Hodorowicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].