Especially over the holidays just before New Year’s, most of us are gripped by ambition. Family members are suddenly very interested about our studies and start asking countless questions: “What do you actually do with it once you are done? How are the exams going? Have you already started studying for the next ones? You poor students! You guys always have so much to do.” Sentences like these always give me a guilty and uncomfortable feeling. I realized that I can’t present myself as the ambitious student at the Christmas dinner table while then driving home after the holidays to sleep until 12 o’ clock, watch Netflix and look for my notes just right before the first exam. That’s the moment where short-termed and inconsiderate New Year’s resolutions are made.

And then it’s the same as every year anyways: You are resolved to start REALLY early this time but in the end, you come up with the same excuses to avoid having to start studying until the very last minute. Doing laundry, cooking dinner, or doing sport. All of a sudden, everything is more important. AND YES! For some, doing sports is a real alternative when learning would be the other option. But maybe this year it’s time to stop lying to ourselves. Maybe we should realize that there are more important things than to be good at uni, go to bed early, quit smoking, eat healthy and skip drinking with our friends. Because that’s not it. That’s not what 2020 taught us. When I started writing this article, I had different plans. I wanted to ask students what their New Year’s resolutions are and wanted to motivate others to do the same. So, I went and started to talk with one of my friends about her New Years resolutions to get some inspiration. Talking to her helped me to realize that this year is different and all the common New Year’s resolutions are actually nonsense…

Hilke Peters, 21, when travelling the world wasn’t illegal yet.

My friend is in her last semesters. She said that she always wanted to finish her studies in standard duration – 6 semesters and not a week more. Best case scenario would’ve been to directly start a job in a reputable and prestigious company. Something that looks great on the CV but in any case, a gap on it would be more than a shame! But now it’s different. Now it’s the little things that were taken for granted until last year that would mean so much more this year. Her goal is to finally be able to feel more free again and to take any chances she gets.

She showed me that we should try to make up for all the things that last year took away from us. Her New Year’s resolution is to not waste a single day. To laugh a lot, to meet friends and to see the world when we are finally able to do so again. I decided to use this mindset as an example. To slow down life a little. Not only because the pandemic forces me to live differently, but because I realized that this pressure leads to nothing but more stress. We should pay more attention to our fellow human beings, spend more time with them and spend more time with our own desires. Mindfulness and terminal acceleration is the headline for my 2021.

Nevertheless, those who are convinced of the classic New Year’s resolutions should not take on too much. Even small steps are enough. The daily routine doesn’t have to be like this: get up at 7:00 a.m., exercise at 7:30 a.m., study from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., have a healthy dinner at 7:00 p.m. and then go to bed early. If that works for you – great! Keep it up! If not, set smaller goals and you can be happy when you reach them.