Students set goals for new year

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2018

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Exiting 2017 is a delight for many people. Although babies born, degrees won and many life experiences will be remembered fondly from the year we’ve left behind, most are ready for 2018—and a fresh start.

Annually, my students complete three to five goals for the New Year. Choosing to set New Year’s goals at the beginning of the calendar year may seem odd for a classroom setting; however, the timing is perfect for realistic assessment. Students have weathered a semester of their classes. They see their challenges and their talents clearly. They’ve had the chance to regret missed opportunities. Sure of where they stand, they’re ready to reassess and progress.

While classmates are out on assignment, these PHS students enjoy a few moments of quiet time to reflect on 2018 goals. (Contributed)

In August, everyone dreams of perfection. All students and parents expect straight As and every freshman’s family is convinced that he or she will be valedictorian in four years. While one stellar student will emerge at the top of the class, what’s more important is that all students achieve their personal utopias.

A few of my seniors’ goals this year include “being happier,” “journaling daily” and “learning how to play chords on my guitar.” One of my favorites was written by a senior who said, “to perform a more personal piece for Write Night because I feel like my more personal work is my best work and I want to open up a little bit more and feel more confident.”

Students must also list practical steps towards achieving their goals and their motivation. In order to live life intentionally, we take ownership of our results. Only then are we empowered.

One young man from Pelham, assessing imperfections after the Sugar Bowl, phrased this mindset perfectly.

“It’s always about what’s next; we’re going to learn and grow and always get better,” said Dabo Swinney.

Empowering students to become positive change-makers in their own lives and communities is imperative. Steps towards achieving this goal vary; however, one teaching tool remains constant—the lives we live.

Being brave enough to self-assess and improve, being bold enough to speak truth and being committed enough to create change are my 2018 goals.