Fresh Perspective | Goals for the spring semester

Fresh Perspective is a biweekly blog about typical first-year experiences made strange by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Julia Smeltzer, Staff Writer

Home-cooked meals (or more like fending for yourself between four other family members), free laundry service and daily sibling arguments over who stole the phone charger and who gets to shower first. If you haven’t guessed already, I’ve been home. For two months. With my entire family.

Being home has been very nice — for the first couple of weeks. I got to have a very chill holiday season with my family and hang out with my friends, even make some money as I went back to my job getting yelled at by old people who claim their chicken parmigiana didn’t come with enough spaghetti. But as the days rolled on, I’ve been craving being back in my single dorm room on campus with my friends.

But here we are — still at home as the semester starts. My Canvas notifications are the only things hitting my line. I’ve already started wondering why I’m even in college. But as I start to embark on my second semester, I figured it would be good to set some goals for myself for the next 16 weeks.

Spend less money

This one is a very doable goal, but also hard since I do suffer from a shopping addiction. During the fall semester, I thought I had all the money in the world. $11 on Chipotle twice a week? Why not. Weekly Target trips? A must. Let’s also not forget that my very expensive tuition and housing costs aren’t enough for Pitt as I even have to pay to wash my clothes. And hence the shopping addiction — I have a lot of clothes. I was that girl on the floor who used two washers at once.

I tend to do a lot of self-deprecation, so let me stop that for a second. Since I’ve been home, I’ve saved up close to $2,000–some of that went to my first deposit on a house next year. And speaking of saving money, I have the looming monthly rent hanging over my head every time I want to buy another pair of Target sweatpants in a color I haven’t added to my collection yet.

There is nothing wrong with splurging on something you want and using your own money to buy that for yourself — it’s a form of self-care and it’s okay to treat ourselves. But I tend to treat myself too often. My shopping habits are like Jeff Bezos’ but in reality, I only make $12 an hour, so I think saving my coin will be beneficial. So this semester and in 2021, I will spend my money responsibly and in moderation (with the occasional Target trip). I have this blog post to hold me accountable.

Be more authentic

This has been something I’ve been struggling with for a while. I watched a Billie Eilish interview and she said something that hit me like a truck. She said that for the past year, she felt like she was watching herself be someone she wasn’t from an outside perspective. I think with coming to college and just being a young adult in general, I am still finding who I am and what my purpose is. I understand that’s a normal thing for young adults in college to experience, but I’m getting tired of feeling like I’m living my life as someone else and not me.

I want to be more authentic in my relationships with people and everyday life, and even in Fresh Perspective. Sometimes I felt like I was writing what I wanted myself to write, but not really what I needed to write at the time. I want to show up in all aspects of my life, including relationships and work and school, and say “this is me, take it or leave it,” instead of trying to be someone I’m not to please others. At that point, I’m just lying to myself, and I think I’ve done that so much during the first semester that I’m back at square one in terms of trying to figure out who Julia is.

Become a morning person/practice gratitude

Something I have learned to love are mornings. I know, coming from the girl that used to sleep until 2 p.m, it sounds crazy. Not even going to lie, during the fall semester, if I had a class at 9:25 a.m., I woke up at 9:25 a.m., rolled over, opened my computer, and participated with my eyes closed. I wouldn’t even have brushed my teeth or washed my face until noon. It was gross.

When I came home from school for winter break, I continued not to give myself time in the morning just to be. I recalled being more anxious and unusually sad at weird times for no reason and just being in a funk. The kind of funk not even dyeing your hair or rearranging your room can fix. But one of my new year’s resolutions was to take time for myself in the morning.

Now, I wake up around 8:30 or 9 a.m almost every day and immediately drink the glass of water I’ve left next to my bed. I then get up–note how I haven’t touched my phone yet!–and I make my bed and head to the bathroom to do my skincare routine and, yes, pee. Then, I come back and roll out my yoga mat, put on some relaxing music and do some stretching yoga poses. This has worked wonders for me. I sleep like a weird pretzel and always wake up in a weird position so my body hates me. I’ve also been in the habit of working out every day so I’m sore.

Now, here is where the life-changing part comes in. I sip my latte, write in my gratitude journal and meditate. I know it sounds all holy and spiritual, but I love doing this. I am constantly thinking and going from one thing to the next, so when I meditate and journal for even five minutes, it immediately sets the right vibe for the day. Even though I’ve only practiced my new routine at home, I am excited to incorporate it into my daily routine when I come back to campus. Especially since I will be so busy, having at least an hour to myself in the morning is essential.

Be a badass

The book “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero is the best book you will ever read in your life. It was the book I read before bed and in the morning in my routine. It has changed my perspective in so many ways and I plan to incorporate what I learned in the book into my life, especially this semester.

I’m tired of complaining that I’m living a lame life when I know the life I want already exists.

So in my academics and social life, I just need to go out there and attract what I want. I want an A in my class? Then I’ll work hard and go after it. I want healthy relationships and friendships in my life? Then I need to go seek them. We need to start letting go of the things that no longer serve us, and then we will start seeing major improvements in our lives. Why cling on to frat boy Chad who hits you up every two months when you can go out and attract a nice boy who brings you flowers instead of making you cry?

I’m telling you, start attracting the things you want in your life and they will come knocking on your door. Being a badass will change your life.

Now that I’m holding myself accountable for my second semester with these goals, it’s time to actually make them happen.

Julia Smeltzer writes primarily about mental health and self-care. Write to her at [email protected].