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New Year, New You?

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The start of 2012 has for many of brought with it a new burst of enthusiasm for starting our lives afresh. Walking to lectures, one can almost hear students chanting various personal mantras to themselves; MUST NOT EAT CHOCOLATE, MUST DO MORE WORK, MUST BE A BETTER PERSON!

But…a recent survey has shown that the 9th January is the day where most Brits give up giving up. Yesterday was the day reality kicks in and new year’s resolutions go out the window.

I however, think this is a good thing. We all over indulge at Christmas time, but this does not mean that we have to self flagellate throughout the year by denying ourselves the small yet surprisingly uplifting treats that get us through, what can be, the slog of everyday university life.

On a drizzly, cold Monday morning, whilst sitting in the library attempting to decode  Ulysses and secretly concurring with three separate readers who had previously borrowed the book and written on the final page “what the f*** was that about!?” I would be utterly lost, and give up all hope of obtaining a decent degree, had I not the promise of a mars bar at lunch time. Anyone who can endure 700 pages of Joyce deserves at the very least a knighthood, let alone a piece of chocolate and should therefore, not be punished for breaking a self imposed ban on heavenly stuff.   

So whether you are grappling with statistics, labouring over labs, or like me struggling through Joyce, go and get a chocolate bar. It will make you feel better, and you are not a failure for allowing yourself reward.

With exams looming in the far too near future, many students have resolved that 2012 is not the year of the dragon, it is the year of the work. Obviously a healthy work ethic is not something I can discredit, my grievance, however lies with those who insist that frequenting the library from 7am until 11pm will ensure them a first. Sitting in one place for 16 hours, staring a screen with blurry eyes does not equal academic success. Put in the hours, by all means, but don’t be one of those people asleep at their desks at midnight because an innate and unfounded sense of guilt prevents them from going home and going to bed. Work is important but so are sleep, chocolate and friends. You will not become a better (or happier) person because you sit in a library all day every day.

Anyone who says that their new year’s resolution is “to be a better person” is setting themselves up for failure. You were not a bad person before the Christmas period, at the very most you put on a couple of pounds over the holidays, because your mother insisted every night that it was normal to have huge roast dinner, pudding, and then a cheese board. Anything you do now in 2012 that is slightly detrimental to the character a “better person” would posses (whatever this may be?),  will now make you make you feel guilty, which when you think about it is ridiculous. You are the same person you were a month ago, so why insist on punishing yourself anew because the date has changed.

For those of those who have the cognitive, and will power to achieve academic success, and say no to little chocolately treats  I salute you, but for those of us wired less like a superhero I encourage you to heed my advice.

You may not reach 2013 a super academic, athletic Adonis, however you will have enjoyed your time at university and retained your sanity, so start the new year as you mean to go on, put the calorie counting book down, pick up a dairy milk, and arrange to have a drink with a friend.

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