• Abbie Tibbott

Friday Special: My 2022 Resolutions

I’m not usually one to make solid resolutions, but I thought it would be fun to set some targets for my personal growth over the next year. Too many resolutions are focused on body image, and I think that can be a real detriment to self esteem, so I’m not choosing any of those. For this Friday Special, I want to talk about some things I want to work on that are for my benefit alone, which is the most important factor if you’re considering making your own resolutions; do everything for you.


 

1. Keep improving my relationship with social media


After the 2021 lockdown, I realised I was pretty addicted to the apps on my phone. When I didn’t get the funding I’d applied for, I stayed off Twitter for a while, mainly because I didn’t want to hear other people discussing it. I noticed a marked difference then in how I was using my phone, and decided to make a change in how I used social media.


It’s been a process, but I worked to make my personal Instagram a place that makes me feel happy. I did this by:


· Removing spam accounts and blocking inappropriate accounts that commented on my stories

· Resharing things that were meaningful

· Removing pictures of people that I’m not in good contact with anymore, or who are no longer relevant to my life

· Unfollowing a lot of accounts that sell or promote beauty products, as I don’t wear much makeup these days


After the refresh, I continued to be careful of my screen time, and use apps such as Forest to stop social media from impeding on my work. Instagram has been a useful way of promoting my website and I’ve enjoyed the #studygram environment, but it all has to be in moderation. I don’t feel like I need to delete any apps, and actually enjoy the content I consume.


For 2022, I want to continue in this way, and refresh some of the privacy settings on my social media apps, as well as being careful to share content that makes me happy.


 

2. Keep writing for a non-academic audience


Blogging was a method to help me fall back in love with writing, and it definitely helped fill time during the lockdowns we went through. For 2022, I want to not only keep up with writing for myself, but to expand my scope and write for other people too. It can be tempting to focus on just one style, but I want to showcase my work and build a digital portfolio that will be useful when heading into more employment.


I've really enjoyed the Friday Specials, as they're a little more informal, and let me discuss things that are going on in my life. Academia is a big part of my life, but it doesn't define who I am as a person. Managing my work and relationships during the pandemic has shown me that I tend to get too wrapped up in my work, and it's important to work on my friendships, and of course my relationship with Daniel.


 

3. Learn another language


This one I have already started, and that was a conscious choice as I’m not a fan of starting things in January. My French is basic, and my teaching at GCSE killed off any passion I had for it. I had a teacher who didn’t like me much, and most of the content was focused on grammar and tenses, which doesn’t help that much in being able to actually speak to someone in another language. I think this is a big flaw with language teaching in schools, but I want to try my hand at teaching myself a new language. I decided on German, as my boyfriend has some elementary skill (GCSE) and I’m really interested in visiting Germany one day as their history and culture is really interesting. Being able to read German and have some ability to communicate with local people would be fantastic, and would reduce the stress of travelling for me.


It may seem odd to not carry on with French, but I’m hoping that by learning some German, it will tempt me to start back up with French. I still remember a lot of it, and could probably get by in a French country, so I’d like to come back to it one day once I have a bit more confidence. Also, languages always help with employability, and I’m choosing a route that is quite low-commitment on my part. I’m using Duolingo, which probably needs no introduction from me. Its short lessons are ideal for when I’m having a break from studying, and I’m enjoying pointing out objects and offering the German word for them, much to Daniel’s amusement.


I’m not saying that I want to be fluent by the end of 2022, but I’d love to say that I’ve kept up with German, and maybe even had the opportunity to use it.


 

4. Take more pictures


Not particularly academic, but it’s more of a personal growth aspect. We spend most of our teenage years being conditioned by social media, about how to edit and filter and present a very curated view of our lives to the world. Getting my phone out and taking pictures and making memories is something I want to do a lot more, regardless of whether the photos look good or not. I want to capture the happy moments in my life, not caring whether people are looking or that I don’t perhaps look my best. We only live once, and I want to get out in the world as much as I can.


Not being reliant on makeup was something that came during lockdown, and it's now a source of enjoyment for me instead of feeling like I had to wear it when I left the house. With that, I want to capture more memories without the stress of society's influence, and just enjoy myself. It's pointless being stressed about how other people see you, as 90% of the time they either don't notice or don't care anyway. Finding that freedom has been pretty liberating, and I'm hoping that taking more pictures will help me with my "main character" energy in 2022.

 

5. Become a confident teacher


I’ve dabbled in teaching, mainly through giving presentations and leading tours. Academically though, I’m excited to start teaching the next generation, and the reason lies very close to my heart. Part of the reason I’m a PhD student is due to widening participation opportunities as well as the support of staff at my university. I really want to become a mentor for students who came to university from a similar background as me, as well as show prospective students that a university education is possible.


I think that becoming a good lecturer will take lots of practice, as well as taking in as much training as possible. I’m hoping to enrol on a teaching course in 2022, as well as volunteer when possible to build up my skills. I’ve always liked public speaking, but it’s more high-stakes when you’re responsible for someone else’s educational experience. It’ll be a challenge, but I’d like to finish 2022 feeling confident in my abilities as an educator.



 


Overall, wanting to try a few new things and boosting my confidence in some existing skills makes for a nice mix of resolutions. Personal growth and development is much more important than how you look and dress, so try to choose targets that help you towards a specific goal. It’s okay if life doesn’t go to plan, but engaging in practical ways to help you improve at certain things will help build you up into the best version of yourself.


Have a fantastic start to 2022, and I’ll catch you soon.


Happy studying!