A Head Start for 2021

As the unprecedented year 2020 comes to an end, here are some highlights on the international, national, and local level as well as an In Memoriam section on the lives lost.

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Amidst the holiday season and the dawning of the new year, students have begun to fill their wishlists, place golden stars on the tops of trees, and take time to reflect on their year. As we enter the final two weeks of this unforgettable year, we ask ourselves: “What are our New Year’s resolutions?”

This extraordinary question has captured the attention of a variety of students, some of whom consider themselves to be resolution-making professionals and others who trivialize resolutions. To most people, New Year’s resolutions present a chance to better themselves, whether they hope to become more outgoing, save money, or pick up a new hobby. As the eventful year of 2020 comes to an end, students at Stuyvesant share their perspectives on New Year’s resolutions.

Freshman Iris Lin is a dedicated student who is willing to take on the challenge of keeping a New Year’s resolution. In fact, she has made one every year since about fifth or sixth grade and has stuck to it every single year. Though she hasn’t figured out the specifics yet for this year, she knows it will follow the same format as all her previous resolutions. “They all have the same basic elements. I don’t have too many, but I try to go into the New Year with a new mindset. One part of my resolution will be something to help me expand my horizons, maybe a certain number of books I want to read that year. Another part of the resolution would be something that allows me to be a little more mindful,” Lin elaborated.

Freshman Eva Skarabot’s goals are similarly practical—she intends to leave the house and go outdoors at least every other day. Skarabot believes that a good way to feel motivated to keep a resolution is to see it as a personal ambition and not a task. “It’s like studying,” Skarabot explained. “While you’re doing it, you think, ‘I’m just going to do all these questions.’ But if you have a resolution, you think, ‘I’m sick of being inside, I’m going to try to go outside at least every other day because staying inside is bad for my mental health.’” She also believes resolutions are particularly useful as a goal-setting technique, as they can help students feel inspired to stay on task and work toward a goal for 12 months straight.

Achieving these goals, however, is a whole different story. Lin recognizes that setting smaller goals helps her get to where she wants to be. “In today’s society, we set […] these big resolutions because we expect such a big change. But really, it's a gradual growth […] In the beginning, I had huge plans for myself, and they always fell short, but you […] learn that it’s okay to miss a day or two of what you’re doing, and eventually, you will change,” Lin explains. Setting small attainable goals has helped Lin achieve progress and see more growth compared to when she used to set larger goals for herself.

Others believe that resolutions are helpful in inspiring more broad change in a person. Freshman Rainie Sun believes that resolutions exist to drive people to change and accomplish personal goals throughout the year. “I think a lot of people make resolutions for different reasons,” Sun answered. “Personally, I’d say the main reason for making resolutions is so that by the end of the year, you come out a different person.”

This idea that setting a resolution can cause a person to grow substantially is trivial for some students. Freshman Yarza Aung, for example, does not plan on setting goals for himself in the new year. When asked if he will make a New Year’s resolution, Aung responded with a strong “absolutely not.” He explained, “I never found myself interested, and I kind [of] was aware that even if I did make resolutions, they weren’t something I would really commit myself [toward].”

Moreover, Aung has not seen many examples of successful resolutions. “In most cases, [for] about 90 percent of people, I don’t think they really work,” Aung said. He perceives resolutions as gimmicks that offer minimal motivation or incentive.

Freshman Rainie Sun echoed this sentiment. “I don’t think I can commit to this one goal for 12 months straight,” she stated. “I’ve actually tried making resolutions in the past, but then they all ended up failing midway because I lost interest.”

Despite giving up on resolutions herself, Sun encourages other students to take a stab at creating a resolution for themselves. “I’m sure resolutions work. I just don’t think they’re for everyone. There are a lot of factors that go into it, like how passionate you are for your goal [and] whether you’re more grounded or spontaneous. In the end, though, I think if you feel strongly for something, you should at least try it out,” Sun said.

Ultimately, everybody has their own approach to creating New Year’s resolutions. Just remember, no matter which approach you take, there is always next year.