Here at Suwanee Magazine, we love encouraging students of all ages to write about things they are passionate about. This issue, our team asked local high school students to discuss a controversial topic going into the new year.
Savannah Luney, Age 16, NGHS
TEN… NINE… EIGHT… The anticipation builds as the crowd chants in unison, eyes glued to the countdown displayed on the screen. Seven..Six..Five… Almost there, the beginning of a new chapter. Four… The tension escalates. Three… The masses shout louder. Two… Yes, yes, yes. One…
The clock strikes midnight, confetti erupts, screams of joy echo, champagne glasses clink. “New year, new me,” or so the saying goes. But are you really any different than you were an hour ago? Five minutes ago? Ten seconds ago? This isn’t Cinderella. Life isn’t one bippity boppity boo, the clock strikes midnight, and your whole world is suddenly magically different.
Here’s how New Year’s resolutions usually go. You start with the decision to lose weight in this new year. You dive head first into a whole new regimen. Kale for breakfast. Kale for lunch. Kale for dinner. By day three, you’re going, “Oh, kale no.”
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is not that they are overrated. It is simply that people’s fresh goals tend to be too extreme. One cannot expect to suddenly alter their entire lifestyle simply because when the clock struck twelve, they decided they were going to stop wasteful spending or quit smoking. With these standards, you are more likely to win the lottery than last a week with your new plan.
Stop trying to turn the wheel 360O. Make a plan for what you can accomplish today. And then the next day. And then the day after that. Whereas striving for giant leaps may send you spiraling out of control, baby steps will help you turn your life around. There’s no bippity boppity boo; there’s just you.
Imani Sabur, Age 16, Peachtree Ridge High School
It’s the end of the year! The holidays are here, and even closer is the new year. With the New Year, brings old traditions such as partying with your friends and family or watching the ball drop in Times Square in the comfort of your home.You are suddenly moved by excitement and anxiety rolling off your body flowing into the room, you heavily think and hope for greatness out of the next 365 days, you intentionally make changes. Changes you feel are beneficial to make your hopes and dreams come true. One of the biggest New Year’s traditions are New Year’s resolutions.
The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates to 153 B.C. The month January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome. Janus had two faces which allowed him to look back into the past and the toward the future. On December 31st, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forward into the new year. This became a symbolic time for the Romans to make resolutions and changes for the new year, believing Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. In the belief that Janus would bless them in the year ahead the people would give gifts and make promises. This was the start of a tradition that still occurs today around the world.
However, how many of us make New Year’s resolutions that fail later in the year? I began my journey in making resolutions at the age of eight. I started small by promising to keep my room clean and helping around the house. As I’m getting older, my resolutions have become more demanding such as working out regularly and enhancing my finances. Though I have the intention to follow through with my resolutions, why wait until the new year to perform them? A study constructed by the US News reveals approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, so why wait until the new year to change if statistically, the odds are against you?
I believe we still follow the acts of the Romans because it’s tradition, and no one wants to be offbeat to the sound of the world by not following it. However, I also believe you should change when you are ready, not when others expect you to be. I gather that the 80% of people who failed to accomplish their goals had reachable resolutions; unfortunately, the timing was most likely the cause of failure. This is an ongoing cycle that can be discontinued by the power within you. The new year should not define when you are ready for a change.
So while counting down from 10, waiting for the ball to drop and feeling those familiar emotions dancing off your skin, remember to listen to yourself. You know when you are ready to make a change in your life. The changes you decide that will make your hopes and dreams come true!
Cole Cline, Age 17, Peachtree Ridge High School
There is something quite entrancing about the idea of a time of change to refresh ourselves and the world around us. Reinventing oneself to become “the best version of you!” as it is splashed on cheap prints in big-name retailers. It’s seen in everything from our television to t-shirt slogans, almost as ubiquitous as those who complain about this reinvigoration of spirit. For many, even the resistors, New Year’s is the trendiest season for the masses to rush to bookstores for self-help novels, to wellness shops for yoga mats, and their wallets to remind themselves what the three numbers on the back of their card are so they can purchase a subscription to an educational website. The caveat of this excitement lies in its lack of accountability and the distance between the next point of change – a whole year away. No rules of New Year’s resolutions require participants to reaffirm their covenants monthly, or quarterly, or at all. This open-ended nature of half-hearted change fills our homes and empties our bank accounts; with expensive tennis rackets shoved in linen closets along with the designer sportswear purchased alongside it. Indeed, this is the crux of why we love New Year’s resolutions even though they are abandoned in weeks’ time.
Americans are consumerists and we know it. Yet, we do little about it, as some even embrace the companies shilling them cheap trash at increasing prices. Almost a million and a half people follow Walmart on Instagram, and it certainly isn’t for the aesthetically innovative photography. People long to know what’s on sale, what’s for sale at all. On the other hand, we don’t like change, even though we claim we do. Symbols throughout mythology that represent change have come to mean only chaos and destruction, such as the raven and crow, which in old folk tales share a myriad of prophecies, but despite that, we see them only as bringers of death. Many would scramble in their defense at that statement, that no, I really go with the flow! And other trite falsities that they know are to save face. It’s all about the appearance, another thing Americans value, to our detriment. New Year’s is a time when people can proverbially kill two birds with one stone as they demonstrate their progressiveness and self-development while pouring cash into the gutter for useless material objects. Everything loved by the shallow is wrapped in an elegant, seasonal package at the start of the year.
There are a few that reject this notion. Some call them minimalists, but I call them (and count myself among) the Neo-Transcendentalists. We commit to our goals, set by months or weeks or lunar cycles or astrological occurrences. We focus not on what things make us our ideal self but what actions and friends and words. We depend on ourselves to look inward, instead of filling voids with cheap facades. We know that the time and energy we spend lies in our own hands – not the hands of others.
Avery Fowler, 10th grade, NGHS
No, you do not need a New Year to make a change; you can decide to change whenever. The summer before ninth grade my perspective on life took a total 180. I would always be the girl who wanted to start fights, call people out for their wrongs even if it wasn’t my place to say anything, and was so self-conscious about myself, my decisions, and what others thought about me. Now, people’s opinions are the last thing that matters to me. I hate getting myself in drama and instead of trying to look “bad” and call people out, I keep to myself and let the situation happen without stating my opinion. Not caring about what others have thought of me has positively impacted my life tremendously and I’ve kept up with my change by the help of my friends supporting me and giving me guidance to make the right decisions. You have no worries when the only opinion you care about is your own, you make decisions for yourself and only yourself. You don’t have to worry about what others think and if it makes you happy then that’s all that matters. It also causes less stress, not having to fight with others and just living your best life, stress-free of what people think of you. I have kept this change the whole year and it has had such a great impact on my life every day.
Makayla Finch, 10th grade, NGHS
According to which way you look at it, a new year may or may not be necessary in order to make a change. Some people see a new year to make a change beneficial. Others see making a new change randomly to be beneficial as well.
Usually, you hear the saying “New Year, New Me” or “New Year, New Beginnings” when a new year is approaching. Most people feel that a new year indicates leaving all the stressors behind in the past year. Looking at it this way makes it feel as if you have a clean slate. Setting a “change” in the new year, in my opinion, is good for long-term goals. I made a long-term goal at the beginning of 2018 to be more fit and active. When setting long-term goals, it is important to break it down into fragments. Doing it this way makes it easier for you to see what you have already accomplished and what you need to accomplish to complete your goals. I failed my personal tasks by not breaking the workouts and physical activities down to be spread out for each month.
On another note, there is never a wrong time to make a “change”. At certain points in people’s lives, they feel that something different from the usual needs to happen. During this year, I set a goal for my personal academic achievements. This was on a random day that I decided I needed to work harder in school and set a good precedent for myself. I started by realizing that I was spending more time on my phone rather than working on school work and studying. I started putting my phone on do not disturb and placing it out of my reach. I also turned my phone on silent and turned my brightness down. Doing all of this would have required me to do more work to look at my phone rather than to leave it alone, which discouraged me from wanting to engage in my phone. When it came to me being in the classroom, I would put in my earphones and listen to music if the teacher allowed it. This helped to keep me from being distracted by a conversation with my friends and peers. I was successful at these tasks and I was satisfied with the outcome that my change made. Overall, a new year does not need to occur for somebody to make a change or set a goal. A “change” is basically a goal, and people set goals all the time. As long as you stick to your goal and plan it out, then you should be successful.
Fionna Huang, 10th grade, NGHS
Many people say the phrase “New Year New Me”; I don’t agree with this saying. Some people set goals at the beginning of the year hoping to accomplish it. In my opinion, if a person desperately wants to accomplish a goal, he/she does not need a new year. People will still achieve their goal whether it’s a new year or not; it is based on how desperately they want to accomplish it.
For example, if my goal is to pass all classes with A’s and B’s, I need to work for the grade. If I just say I want to get all A’s and B’s then I would not be able to earn it because I did not work for it, or I just slacked off. Many people say that a new year would change a person but changing someone/something is not as easy as it looks.
Just like habits: I wasn’t able to change my habits just because it’s a new year. One year I said I was going to exercise to lose weight but plans never catch up with the change. I would procrastinate and say I will exercise tomorrow and so forth, but tomorrow ends up being never. Then I made a choice of just not eating at nights, but later on, my mom would make food and tell me to go downstairs and eat. It’s food! Who would say no? Because of that, not eating became eating tons.
If I were really willing to make a change, I would not procrastinate; I would exercise every day continually. It has nothing to do with what year, season, or day it is based on whether you are willing to work for it.
Sarah Punjani, Peachtree Ridge High School
I’ve recently read a quote which is, “In a society that profits from yourself doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” You may be thinking; how does this quote have anything to do with New Year’s Resolutions? Well, as each year passes, we grow and mature. Growing up is generally associated with liking yourself; thus, I believe that New Year’s Resolutions are a way to increase your self-love.
As an inquisitive seventeen-year-old, I witness all the monsters in the world attempting to make me sink down a deep, dark black hole. The social media monster infiltrates my mind and makes me question my self-worth. The monsters who surround me at school make me question my beauty and intellectuality. The monsters nag at my brain constantly, and I search far and wide to find a ray of positivity, and many others also struggle to fend off these monsters. New Year’s Resolutions may seem like an unlikely source to find that ray of positivity, but each individual can make their own resolution(s) to make their life better. This may mean engaging in activities which are not in your comfort level but have no fear. Jump off that cliff, even if no one else jumps with you. Adventure to foreign lands, even if you are worried about the dangers. For crying out loud, eat better even if it means straying away from your normal diet. Start and end the New Year right by engaging in things which are positive for your body and mind and if you do, I promise that society and its monsters will have a hard time reaching you.
Hayden Barron, 10th grade, NGHS
The new year starts, and a new chapter begins. A new year is like a fresh start. Every New Year I try to make a new set of goals. One thing I wished I changed last new year were my grades and effort towards school. When the New Year comes I like to reflect on the things I did in the previous year and look at what I need to change for a better me and my future. If you have no New Year resolutions then just try to make a goal for yourself to accomplish and really challenge yourself to meet that goal. Every new year just try to challenge yourself to become the best person you can and try to really achieve the goal you’re going for.
Hunter Buice, 10th grade, NGHS
You do not need a New Year to make a change. Saying you need a new year to make a change is a weak-minded thought that will never get done. If you continue to not go through with what you want different and wait till a New Year, when the time comes for the New Year it will be even harder to stop then rather than it is right now. People that put things off to a certain time never get real work done. People that set their mind and do it rather than waiting are people I like to call the Doers. The Doers don’t put things off they get their stuff done.
I was raised to always do what I believe in and what’s the right thing to do. One goal I set for myself was to become stronger for football. I really wanted to be able to bench press 200 pounds, and I worked hard at that and worked hard every day in the weight room to get that. After I reached that goal I set a new one, which now is 225 pounds. If I work hard enough to get that, there’s nothing that can stop me from reaching that goal.
I was taught at a young age, by my family my father, in particular, he always said, “If you do something, do it a 100 miles an hour.” All my life that’s been a quote I’ve lived by when I want something done. Now that quote could go various ways but the basic meaning of it was if you really want to do something do it to the fullest, do it will all of your heart and mind. I didn’t wait until next year to reach my goal; I went out and I worked hard to be able to get my goal. Don’t wait for the opportunity… become the opportunity.
Jake DeSilva, 10th grade, NGHS
At the start of any year, many people set goals for themselves to try and accomplish throughout the year. A change can be made at any time of the year if you have the motivation and apply yourself. There have been times where I’ve wanted to change, and it eventually showed. However, there have also been times where I wanted to change, and I wasn’t successful. It’s all about how you approach things in your everyday life. These certain reasons are why I wouldn’t necessarily say that you need a New Year to make a change. For example, at the start of this year, I told myself that I was going to attend the gym at least three times per week, which only lasted until the end of January. I’d been pretty sufficient completing my goal until school came into play. One thing I could’ve done better to complete my goal was to use time management, which is a key factor that will lead you to success. Many people get distracted by the smallest things, which will eventually lead them to be off task and wasting a significant amount of time. I truly think that if I used all these key aspects the correct way, my goal would be achieved. You’re going to have many tasks that you need to complete day by day. Unfortunately, these tasks won’t always be the easiest. I encourage everybody to set a goal that they know they will succeed in, which therefore will lead to it being accomplished.
Jaye Curry, 10th grade, Peachtree Ridge High School
January 1st. The day it’s all supposed to change. The day where you will become the person you aspire to be. The day where you actually put in the effort to change your life. To prepare for the momentous day, most people will make the holy matrimony list titled New Year’s Resolutions. The magical list that holds all of your wants and desires and are supposed to take effect on or after New Year’s Day. Now while this sounds pretty funny, it is what most people think. If it wasn’t, then the concept of New Year’s Resolutions wouldn’t be as big a deal as it is. While the concept of New Year’s Resolutions is a bit overrated in my humble opinion, I do see why people think this way.
I mean come on. It’s a whole new year for crying out loud! New year new me. “I can finally lose weight and start going to the gym. I can get straight as this semester. I can start working to get that car I really want.” While these affirmations are great, why couldn’t you do all these things before? I hate to be a Debbie downer, but the coming of the New Year isn’t magically going to make you less lazy or more productive. Why you might ask? Because that drive and work ethic comes from you.
If you actively wake up at 6 am, get up, make your protein shake and go to the gym, you are going to see results. If you continue to lay in bed all day watching Friends on Netflix, then you aren’t going to get that body you want. The point is that you have to put in the effort to make that change. You can make resolutions whenever you want. You could make weekly resolutions for all I care, but the notion that New Year’s Resolutions are going to magically make all your goals happen just because it’s the “New Year” is not true. If you want to change, you can change. Just do it when you’re ready and not under the magical force of New Year’s Resolutions.
Jordan Monica, 10th grade, NGHS
You don’t need a new year to change. Anytime you want to change you can if you’re committed. Starting in March 2018 when I got injured from playing soccer I thought my life was over, I knew things were going to change. I started having a negative outcome for everything that happened. I was really rude to everyone and life for me was awful. Friends became an issue and my grades dropped. I ended up failing math. In summer 2018 I decided to change my perspective on life and I got baptized at Gwinnett Church ever since I’ve changed my perspective of everything. As I got into the beginning of sophomore year I thought I was this new person, kind, loving and smart until the stress and rumors came around and it all went downhill again. I lost some of my friends for getting too involved. Biggest regret. As my “friends” would always gossip and be rude I watched myself turn into that myself. I distanced myself for a while and in that 4 or 5 months I became more responsible, trustworthy and surrounding myself with good people. You can’t change the past, but I keep my head up. New Year is an option for a change, but you don’t need a new year.
Mackenzie Lipton, 10th grade, NGHS
I personally feel that you don’t need a New Year to make a change in your life. I am not always excited when summer ends and the new school year starts. In the beginning of school, I normally don’t start off great with my first, second and sometimes even my third test. This doesn’t help my grades at all and I am already falling two or three of my classes. If I waited for the New Year I would have failed my classes. When you find yourself in a hole that’s when you need to make a change. After realizing i was in a hole I set a goal for myself to make B’s and higher on all of my test. I also set a goal to go in for tutoring and ask more questions. I have now done better in all of my classes. Another example to show you don’t need a New Year to change is working out more. A lot of girls most of the time look in the mirror and start saying they need to go to the gym more. They say the New Year is a great time to start, but why can’t you start that day or the next day, or even that week. The more time you wait to go to the gym the more time you’re just sitting on the couch watching tv and eating food. If you started working out when you had the goal in your head then by the New Year you could of been stronger or faster and could have gotten six pack. The more you wait for the New Year to come, the more you’re missing out on. Don’t be that person who just says a goal but doesn’t do it. The New Year can be so far away. I feel that if you find yourself stuck in a hole that’s when there needs to be a change made. Don’t stay in that hole until the New Year comes because sometimes it can be too late to get out of the hole.
Sofia Jurado, Sophomore, NGHS
Are New Year’s resolutions overrated? This question has been asked every year around the holidays and the clear consensus always seems to be “yes”. But do we take into account all of the good that has come out of our resolutions? Even if they only last a month, or maybe less, it usually has left some impact on either just ourselves or sometimes those around us. Whether your resolution is to lose weight or do more charity work, you can make a lasting impact on your community by setting these goals. They show that people are willing to change.
This stigma around New Year’s Resolutions has always been there, even if you never noticed it. People want instantaneous results and tend to give up if it doesn’t happen. However, this doesn’t mean that the resolutions themselves are overrated. If people realized that the goals they made were too ambitious to achieve in under 30 days, more could get done, and more people would decide to make smaller goals and eventually be motivated to pursue resolutions that may take longer to complete. For example: Instead of deciding to just lose weight, say you’re going to spend at least 4 hours at the gym per week. It doesn’t seem as daunting and you complete the same task in the end. Take your resolution step-by-step rather than trying to complete it all at once.
People only believe resolutions are overrated because they don’t feel motivated and, because of that, they don’t see the impact it could have on their lives.
Sophia Sanders, 10th grade, NGHS
Why should you wait all year to make a healthier change in your life? Changes in people’s lives can happen whenever just make it happen. A change I made in my life was I decided to try even harder in my math class after my family told me my grades weren’t the best. My whole life I have struggled with math, but now as the math continually gets harder, I could not just “wing it” anymore. I did my best to listen harder in class and tried asking a few friends for help. My grade still isn’t an A, but I’m not afraid to ask questions when I am lost, take more notes, and listen closer. Waiting until New Years wasn’t an option for me. I saw I needed to fix things before the semester ended, which is long before New Years. If I didn’t fix my situation before New Years I would have failed the semester. I would have to retake the class if I had waited for New Years, but instead, i pushed through and made changes in my life. Waiting until New Years to make a change doesn’t always make sense, sometimes you need that change in your life. Although, the classic “just cause” New Years resolution (which we all know won’t last) is still fun! Part of the season is making New Year’s resolutions, but don’t be afraid to make changes in your life other time on the year!
Sydney Sennett, 10th grade, NGHS
If someone was to wait a whole year to talk to someone, imagine how different their relationship would be? If someone was to wait a whole year to visit a sick relative, imagine where that would get them? If someone was to wait a whole year to make a change, then what is the point? Someone doesn’t need a year to change, all they need is today. Most people just need the right mindset. The mindset of desire and want, not the mindset of obligated, compelled and forced. Losing all excuses is the key to finding all results. Whether it be a small or huge change, someone could start by simply starting now. Don’t wait…wait can be defined as To stay where one is or delay action until further notice. Therefore, if someone waits, they lose their opportunity to be successful quicker and take more opportunities now. Waiting is the stepping stone holding people’s goals back. Take the step and accomplish lifetime goals by stepping into the “now”.
Vanessa Cruz, 10th grade, NGHS
New Years is known for resolutions or change. It is a time when people make a promise or goal to change bad habits or achieve certain situations. It is also a good time to reflect on the past and possibly some past mistakes. New Years is not always needed to make a change.
I made a resolution to always be thankful for all the things I am given and to stop being lazy. Although I am thankful, sometimes I think I’m not thankful enough. Being messy and unorganized is a bad habit for some people, but many overcome this by taking small steps like either cleaning or doing their bed. I’m not a big fan of cleaning, but of course, it has to be done. Organizing most things in my room made me get up and work to achieve this goal. I would call this a resolution achieved but we can always make a change whenever we want. New Years is not the only time to make a change because we can always do something if we put our minds to it.
Will Pontius, 10 grade, NGHS
It has been proven that New Year’s resolutions do not work. What has worked for me is change at the beginning of a new school year. I made myself a promise at the beginning of sophomore year that I would run a sub 20 5k in cross-country that season. So, I worked really hard every day at practice.
At first, I didn’t see much of an improvement, but Coach Rowland encouraged me to keep trying harder, so I did. Eventually, close to the end of the season, I lined up to run a JV race in Conyers. I was not expecting to achieve my goal this race, but when the gun went off I was feeling really good. So, I decided to push myself, and before I knew it I was dropping seconds off my time.
I kicked up the speed some and when I finished the time was at 19:55. I achieved my goal by changing how I practice. The beginning of a new school year means a lot of changes that you can’t help. While you are in that transition I have found it to be easier to change for the better. Because things move very fast that time of year it can be less frustrating to change because you can see results a lot faster. A new year doesn’t bring on change itself, but a new school year does.