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Keeping It Personal (And Professional)

December 26, 2011

Since Christmas is over and New Year’s Eve is rapidly approaching (yikes), I thought now was an appropriate time to finish putting together the rest of my goals for 2012. In case you missed it, I’ve already laid out my fitness and health goals for the next year. To close out the goals trifecta, here are my personal and professional goals for 2012:



1. Take better care of my friendships. This is something that I’ve let slack an unacceptable and almost embarrassing amount in the last year or so. Once my graduate semesters start, I feel like I’m sucked into a crazy vortex of my own alternate reality. Entire months pass where I’ve marked my time according to due dates. On a weekly basis, I usually crash and burn on Friday nights and then work all day Saturday and Sunday. Pretty soon, I wake up one day and realize that I haven’t talked to some of my best friends in weeks, and I’ve neglected to even lay eyes on my friends here in Maryland. In the coming year, I’d like to call my best friends back at home at least once every two weeks (although once a week would be ideal), and I want to set aside at least one night/day on the weekend to catch up with my friends here in B-more. Not only will this time be good for my friendships; it’ll be good for my mental health, too!

2. Get a better handle on my stress. Did you read #1? It’s no secret that I barely give myself time to process what’s going on in my life, never mind strategize healthy ways to deal with it. While I genuinely enjoy being busy, there’s a line between being busy and being overwhelmed. This semester beat me into the ground, and I had the fatigue and hair loss to prove it. Next year won’t be any easier in the stress department, but I can do a better job of taking stock of my situation.

3. Get back into a reading routine. As recently as last year, I was setting aside an hour each night to read my book. This year, that hour dwindled to 45 minutes, then to 30, then to 15. Some nights I didn’t read at all; I just crawled into bed and crashed. I love the time that I set aside for reading fiction; it’s my oldest hobby, and I think reading fiction makes me a better teacher to boot. I want to start the year by setting aside 3o minutes each night to read; by the end of the year, I’d like to be back up to 45 minutes a night.


1. Write at least half of my Master’s thesis. Of course I would choose the only educational Master’s program in Maryland that requires a written thesis. I should be able to get a good chunk of this thing done over the summer, as one of my classes will require me to do some intensive research and pre-writing, but I’d love to head into my last semester of the program (in the spring of 2013) already having the majority of the paper done and done. Now I just need to pick a topic…

2. Be a better teacher. Vague, right? Bear with me. Unfortunately, being a graduate student has really put a damper on my teaching. While the program has given me incredible ideas that I’ve applied to my classroom, I’ve put WAY less time into lesson planning, grading papers, etc. than I did the first few years of my career. I understand that I can’t do everything 100%, but I don’t want my teaching to suffer as a result of my grad status. I’ll set aside time to devote to grad school, time to devote to the classroom, and time to devote to myself in order to make compartmentalizing a little bit easier.

I truly think all of these goals are reasonable and attainable, and they’re all things that have the potential to make me a happier, healthier me. Here goes nothing!

What are your goals for 2012?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Purpletin permalink
    December 26, 2011 4:19 pm

    good post šŸ™‚

  2. December 28, 2011 8:19 pm

    Great goals! Reading at night is one of my favorite ways to relax!

  3. December 29, 2011 7:13 am

    These sound like great goals! I’m a student too, so mine are pretty similar. I always feel like such a bad friend during the semester since I’m too overloaded with assignments to reach out and contact people. Gotta change that!

  4. December 30, 2011 8:31 pm

    Your first two personal goals really resonate with me. I am always worried and stressed about what I have to do in the upcoming week and sometimes I let it affect my friendships — I’d rather come home on a friday night to finish up chores and relax after a long work week than go out! I need to make more time for friends too, and manage my stress better!

    • December 30, 2011 8:40 pm

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one. Sometimes I feel really pathetic for being the 26 year old who would sometimes rather spend my Friday night falling asleep on the couch, watching Sex and the City re-runs, but by the end of the week, I am usually just totally burned out. I do need to be more mindful of how this affects my social life, too—and my friendships!

  5. January 1, 2012 2:14 pm

    The “Be a better teacher” one is so tricky because I really feel like I had no life whatsoever in my first few years teaching. And while I felt like a GREAT teacher… I had no balance. I really burnt myself out. Then when you throw grad school on top of everything… I’m trying really hard not to feel guilty about “not being a better teacher” because I still think that I’m a pretty darn good one even when I’m not planning and grading for 2-3 hours each night and giving 125%.

    So try not to beat yourself up over it. I empathize. Teaching and grad school is a stressful combo!

    • January 1, 2012 2:20 pm

      You’re 100% right, and I do try to remind myself of all of those things when I start to beat myself up. If I could start balancing them 50/50, I’ll be a happy camper!

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