New Year, New Mindset

New Year, New Mindset

By Ariana Katz

The ball has been dropped and here we are with yet another year upon us. A year that each and every one of us has the full potential to shape and create whichever way we choose. Don’t worry, I’m not about to get all sentimental about how we should all sit in a circle and gush about our resolutions and how we all want to work out more and trade cupcakes for salads. But, there are certain lessons that I have learned in the past year and realizations that I want to share with you. As I enter my final semester of high school, and a year that is filled with opportunity, I can’t help but think about how I got here, and how I want to finish my final lap of what has, at times, felt like a never-ending race. Am I expecting this article written at approximately 10:25 pm to inspire those who will read it? Of course I do. So put your New Year’s Eve party hat back on and keep on scrollin’.

2017 is a big year, not only because it unleashes a new time for chances and inspirations as we all ponder our lives and how we want to live, but it is an important period for our country. As we enter a new presidency, one that has largely divided our nation, it is imperative that we seriously think about how we wish to enter this year. While these are extremely difficult times for a vast amount of people, I am willing to acknowledge the fact that I am in no position to comment or write about how I believe people should respond to the upcoming political change; however, I do believe there are certain behaviors that will benefit even our small community of University High School that I wanted to share with you.

As we all gloomily set our alarm clocks again for early school mornings and sharpen our pencils to do another four months’ worth of homework, let’s stop and think first about how we wish to treat each other and ourselves in this next 365-page book. Throughout my time at University, and my past 7 semesters of endless studying and note-taking, I can’t help but think about what I believe the most important lesson anyone can learn is. You might want to get your notebook out for this one.


I realize by now half of the people who took the time to read this article, if anyone did, have probably already clicked off the page with an eye roll as we have all already heard many talks and group discussions about this, as it has been a theme of the school year so far. Again, I am not trying to spark some heartfelt realization in you and I do not think I know everything about humanity or even high school, but let me say this: University High School has got it right in focusing on empathy. We can all sit and finish as many math problems as we want or recite the Declaration of Independence ten times, as I believe that is all valuable information. However, I also believe that in the craziness of tests and papers we forget to focus on the most important thing: how we are treating others. I mean, when we look back on our time here, which we have been told is meant to be some of the best years of our lives, we aren’t going to remember how we failed that one Spanish quiz (yep, that was me) or how many nights we got no sleep because we were preparing for that presentation. When we look back on our time not only in high school, but throughout our whole life, we are going to think about the relationships we made, and how we were as people.

So, as we re-enter the madness of in-class essays and sporting events, let’s remember to also focus on compassion and how we treat each other. Let’s be quicker to listen and slower to judge. Let’s stop and look around for a moment to appreciate the fact that we are here and alive and have the ability to make this year whatever we want. Study hard, but be a good friend. Eat the cupcake instead of the salad. Heck, eat two cupcakes and don’t even think about those leafy greens. Take the time to check in on the people who are present in your life. Take some time for yourself and reflect on where you are and if that is truly where you want to be. And most of all, make the year count. Time is a precious thing, and it is much better used than wasted.

I hope this article, if anything, made you think even for a short second. Even if all it did was make you want to eat a cupcake, at least that’s something. But seriously, I urge you to make this your year, and think about compassion as we enter yet another first chapter of what I expect is going to be a terrific book. Happy New Year to all, and eat the dang cupcake.


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