Here’s How to Conquer the New Year

2020 Student Edition

Jorge Silva, a Skyline student

Mark David-Magat

Jorge Silva, a Skyline student

When there’s a will, there’s a way.

At least that’s how it feels when we reach the end of December. We bask in the freedom of winter break awaiting the New Year that will transform us into beings capable of success. What better way of sleeping off the year than dreaming of a new one! For a student, you’re just happy you have time to think before your days get filled up with school and work. It’s already been a month in, but so far the workload has been light (hopefully) and you’re getting acclimated to the new schedule, so things are looking good. So far. Just in case you find yourself too overwhelmed later on in the semester, here are some ways to get back on track and bring attention back to dreams of a better you in 2020.

First, get your priorities straight. Why are you here at Skyline? Find the meaning behind these classes, that certificate or the degree, the skills you will gain. Write them down. When you wake up in the morning, remind yourself of that purpose – again, and again. Ignite the fuel as often as you need, because a flame doesn’t burn forever without a little bit of help. If you didn’t already find them, use the resources Skyline has for your goals. There are many, and if you don’t take advantage now, you might not understand the system, and therefore not trust the system, for yet another semester. A list of places you CAN trust to guide you through this semester and those in the future are:

Health and Wellness Services:

They are available to answer a call from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to address any concerns you may have about your physical or psychological health. Don’t be afraid to ask basic questions about how to live more consciously, or about where you can go to find affordable vaccinations, or to request to speak to a professional about any mental health problems you’re currently experiencing, or to seek food, financial assistance, or living accommodations. They have so much to offer! Your health and wellness should always come first before trying to tackle a school and work schedule. The Health and Wellness Service’s phone number is 650-738-4270. Personal counseling location: building 2, rooms 2-206 and 2-237.

Academic counseling:

This is for your future during and AFTER Skyline. They only want you to succeed, but you have to want it too. They work in collaboration with career and transfer counseling too, so they know what they’re talking about. They’ll go over majors, credentials, IGETC (transfer curriculum), and your SEP (student education program). Getting this out of the way will surely give you a peace of mind regarding what lies ahead for you, and these guys will help you get there. Make a quick in-person appointment in building 2, or call (650) 738-4318.

Your best and – let’s hope – most accessible asset is your professor! Do not ignore them when you are going through something or need extra help with assignments. They may not be your best friend, but it’s important that you feel comfortable and able to use your voice around them. Maintaining strong communications will be beneficial to you when it comes to any and all aspects of your life. Do not be afraid to bring up any questions or concerns you have with their class. Like you, they want reciprocation to keep the work flowing at a good pace, so speak up and do develop an inclination towards avoidance. Think about it: They were once students at some point and will understand whatever you’re going through, academically or personally. Seeing where they come from can help you understand why it’s important for them to see where you’re coming from. Do not discourage their faith in you – that is why they became teachers in the first place. They may also suggest the Learning Center here or there, because like you, they are busy. Peers and tutors come to building 5 to help each other out with concepts, classwork, homework, and more. Come in anytime! Everyone is welcome and you will definitely find your preferred style of studying to get the work done.

Sorry to be blunt, but get yourself a planner. It is essential. iCal is also your friend, but if you don’t keep track of the days as they go by, they will catch up to you quicker than this February. Don’t let time swallow you whole this year. Doesn’t matter what he/she/they are doing. This is about you, and your moments and your days. So what are you going to do with them all? Own them. Be aware. Write down whatever keeps you up in the middle of the night, but also pay attention to when your professor mentions a test next week. If you want something a little more jazzy, find a place in the Passion Planner cult and all your organization-related dreams will come true. Doesn’t matter how you get it out there, but get it out there! It’s so much better than letting all your to-dos and assignments cloud up your brain.

Check your Canvas

As often as possible. Teachers use it because it works better than any other system and it’s the best way to stay on top of your classes. This is so obvious it hurts to even be spelling this out to you, but it will suck more the less you check it. There will inevitably be a period during which you forget to check, and it will be okay. We were not born here on earth to constantly be checking emails, text messages, Twitter notifications, DMs on Instagram, AND Canvas assignments. People are not robots, and surely we all have a life outside school to attend to. However, a word of advice: Do not apologize for unanswered messages. Finish your work and get back to your friends. Find what work-relationship balance works best for you and who you most value spending time with. That little comment under your photo does not need an immediate response, and emails can wait, but do finish plans to see someone for a coffee because that bond is more important than the one over a screen. And don’t forget to check Canvas before you go out!

Speaking of relationships, if you haven’t found a trustworthy friend who will support whatever dreams you have, make it your mission to find that person. Discussing passions and personal goals is very exciting, but if it’s not reciprocated, it can feel pretty foolish. Personal desires can be lovely, daring, humiliating, and sometimes strange, but we all have them. If you really want to pursue something, though, and want to be successful at it, tell a friend. That means being courageous enough to say it out loud, and possibly risk being judged for it. But take that risk, because they might just give the most brilliant piece of advice you were looking for. And if they don’t have anything to say, that’s okay too. Talk their ear off about it, or move on. Once you actually get it out there, though, it can make you a lot more self-aware. It allows you to step outside yourself, feel uncomfortably self-conscious for a second, and see what you could become from someone else’s point of view. This is part of growth. It’s advocating for yourself to get out there and follow through, because truthfully, there are many things that cannot be done alone. Don’t sign up for a challenge then never show up because you didn’t think anybody would care.

If you have decided to take on a journey alone, know that it will be a lot tougher, but it can be done. And here’s how: Get your sh*t together. Clean yourself up a bit. Take a day off to scrub away any weight that pulls you down, like your car needing an oil change, the messy room that you keep ignoring, your dry winter skin begging for moisture, or your phone reminding you to backup your photos, loose documents, and post-it notes. It gets way too overwhelming if not dealt with in time. Stay on top of your self-care, technology, and most of all, your environment, so you know that you can always rely on yourself. This allows you to have the space to take care of others too, which can result in a fabulous thing called karma. This year is about efficiency, and if you can’t stay efficient with the chaos that is life, then life will become your own chaotic hell. As if we don’t already have enough things to tend to, like work and school, we have our own familiar demons that require our attention. And when they haven’t been properly fed and bathed, they can become cranky and haunt us when we least expect it.

Not taking care of yourself properly can lead to embarrassing habits, powerlessness, and in some cases depression. Being confident about who you are is not a walk in the park, but the first step in doing so, is taking care of basic human needs. Show up for yourself, because if you really want it, being confident will help you get there. Hopefully you have been keeping up with basic human essentials like eating right, drinking plenty of water, and having a full night’s rest, because you have a lot of work to do in these next few months. Your health will save you most, because once that starts going downhill, everything else will too. So before you go, some words of encouragement to help keep your mental staying on the right track because who doesn’t love a little New Years inspiration!:

Don’t underestimate yourself or what you are capable of. You were meant for greatness and nothing less. And for the other party: Don’t overestimate the world. You’re overwhelming both yourself and everyone else. Only do what you are capable of, perfection is unattainable. Start small and work your way up, because starting big doesn’t make sense for a simple “step-by-step” brain. Patience is the most valuable psychological tool you have. Be grateful for all these wonderful resources community college has for you. Be grateful you live in California – it could be worse. Choose a word to live by this year – growth, balance, acceptance, risk, perseverance, etc. – and use it as a guide whenever you’re feeling unmotivated or stuck. Have fun with your journey, and always notice the silver lining when the going gets tough.

“The secret to getting ahead, is getting started.” – Mark Twain.