Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 26, 2016   |   Ithaca, NY

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New Semester Activist Resolutions

New semester, new blog posts! Let’s do this!

I’m ready to get back to studying about subjects I care about, organizing on campus, and continuing with my projects both new and old. That being said, I had some habits last year that I want to try to break to become a better activist and person.

I took a little hiatus from technology altogether at the end of the summer and spent a few weeks up in the Adirondacks with no internet access. It was a much needed break, but I’m so happy to be back.

Those of you who read any of my very first blog posts know that I’m a fan of resolutions for self-improvement.

Let’s talk activist resolutions!

Here are a few things to think about prioritizing this school year:

  • Set a Schedule

As an activist, you probably have a lot on your plate. You might attend clubs or community happenings. You might organize rallies or events on your campus. You might spend a lot of time reading and writing about the issues you care about.

That’s fine—but let’s make sure to eat, sleep, go to class, and spend time with friends and family too.

Now that I’m a junior (scary) and find myself in lots of upper-level classes (ugh), I find that I have to make a schedule for myself to fit in all the things I want/need to get done. If exercise is a priority, I set an alarm for the morning to get that done before class. I also set aside time at night specifically to make a few meals for the week. I then take the rest of that time and fill in the gaps with what I want to accomplish. For example, right now I have an hour and a half (give or take) of time set aside for blogging 2-3 times per week with the understanding that that will fluctuate.

Basically, write a list of what means the most to you to get done and map out the best way to get there. That way, you will be less likely to become completely overwhelmed. If you find that you’re constantly running out of time and that you’re never getting anything done on time, that’s probably an indication that there’s too much on your plate and I suggest pulling back on some commitments (I don’t mean sleeping or eating).

  • Set Limits

This goal kind of goes along the same lines as the first but be sure to not fill your plate past capacity. If you’re a part of 8 organizations and a writer for the student newspaper with a part-time job, you might be too overwhelmed with everything you’re doing to actually enjoy any of it. That will limit you as a student and activist. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Instead, pick a few things you really love and put your all into it. Use the rest of that time to be with friends and family, have adventures, or have some alone time.

  • Surround Yourself with People Who Support You

This may seem like a weird resolution to have when it comes to activism, but it is an important one. The people you surround yourself with make a difference. Friends can motivate you, encourage you, share ideas with you, or make you smile when you’re having a bad day. However, if you’re hanging around people who make little comments about your work, who downplay its importance to you, or who just plain don’t support you in general will slow you down considerably.

It’s been my experience that if someone doesn’t take the time to realize that your activism and organizing is important to you, then maybe they aren’t the best friend to keep around.

To avoid burnout and stay motivated, you’ll need people who you can share your concerns and victories with. Find those people.

  • Keep Your Commitments

I know this may seem contradictory to what I said before about pulling back on activities when needed, but here me out. Once you find those few activities and commitments you really care about, stick with it. It can easy to get sidetracked by checking your Facebook feed or watching Netflix or worrying about what you’re doing with your life, but shut it down.

For example, this blog is something that means a lot to me. Seriously, a lot. But sometimes I mistakenly forget to update it when I’m stressing about other, less important things. Under certain circumstances, breaks are all right and even completely necessary, but be sure to keep up with the projects that really make you happy.

For me personally, my goal is to update this blog at least 2-3 times per week and to start writing about more advantageous topics.

So be ready for that!

  • Keep Learning

There’s no such thing as a perfect activist who knows absolutely everything about their cause. Keep reading, keep finding new articles from new sources. Most importantly, make sure you’re listening to the voices that are most marginalized and those who are impacted the most by what you’re fighting for.

  • Prioritize Mental Health

I’ve said this before on this blog, but I’ll say it again: mental health matters. If you’re not taking care of yourself then you won’t be able to advocate for others or for your causes properly. Out of all of your resolutions, this one should be your top priority because nothing else written here matters if your health isn’t in the best state it could be. Remember that and seek counseling or other services when needed.

Here’s to another year of blogging and activism,