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Four Years at the Mount

Junior year

School Year Resolutions

Nicole Jones
Class of 2014

(9/2012) As I write this, I am nearing the end of a two-week long training session for Resident Assistants (RA). What does this mean to the average individual? It means working from 8 am to 8 pm every day, being trained to expect the unexpected, and sitting through many, many PowerPoint presentations. It means going dorm to dorm and filling out Room Condition Reports where you must document every little pinhole and scratch left behind by former inhabitants. It means learning things you had no idea you didnít know, and keeping an eye on young adults who maybe canít keep an eye on themselves. In short, itís a grueling affair, but Iíve already discovered it is well worth all the effort. Iíve met so many wonderful new people whom I am very excited to work with and am lucky to have met. Iím gaining new skills in confrontation and mediation and knowledge of the Mountís policies that I did not have before. Most of all, Iím excited to apply these skills and prove myself as an RA, providing a safe community for fellow students and bettering myself as a person.

Along with the challenge of being an RA, I have been privileged with the position of Managing Editor of the campusís weekly newspaper, The Mountain Echo. I am learning very quickly that running a paper is no small feat. Advertisements must be sought, checks cut, stories written and revised multiple times, then of course there is managing the staff writers and making sure everyone is finishing their assignments on time. It makes me appreciate exactly how much work my own editor, Michael Hillman, puts into this paper. It is truly a momentous task, but one which I feel will teach me much about the profession I am pursuing.

With these two mountains set before me, it may seem ridiculous, even inconceivable, to burden myself with additional personal goals. Shouldnít I simply focus on my jobs and GPA? Arenít those enough for one person to handle? Well, yes and no. For a student, the beginning of a new school year is not unlike the beginning of a new calendar year. Goals are set (though not always reached). There is a tangible excitement in the air. The revitalizing summer has brought with it the promise of new and better year than the last. Though I know I have other obligations, which I fully intend to prioritize, I am determined to enjoy my college experience to its fullest extent. The Mount provides so many opportunities that I havenít even begun to invest in, but I hope that is going to change this year, even by just a small amount.

Part of my resolution is to participate in the Mountís outdoor adventure trips provided by CRUX. The CRUX office organizes everything from hiking and camping to whitewater rafting and spelunking, all things I would like to try. A new program CRUX implemented last year is called the Mount 100. Itís a four part series of hikes with each hike increasing in length by 10 miles. The accumulated length of all four hikes is equal to 100 miles. This is something I am very excited to challenge myself to do, though I know it will require quite a bit of physical discipline on my part. Guess itís time to hit the gym.

Other unique opportunities are provided by the Office of Campus Activities which organizes events and trips on and off campus. Last semester I took advantage of a trip to the Big Apple and, though I would personally never choose to live there, I saw some amazing things like the Statue of Liberty and Timesí Square. Campus Activities also offers the chance to be a part of the infamous Polar Bear Plunge, an event that I unfortunately missed out on last year but one I am determined to try at least once. Cold and crazy? Maybe just a little, but admit it, youíve always had that small part of you thatís wanted to try it just once. Well, Iím indulging that part of me because trying new things is what this year is all about.

Perhaps one of my simplest and most normal goals this year is to eat healthier. One of the perks of being an RA is living in a dorm all by yourself. I was lucky enough to be assigned to one of the campus apartments, which includes access to my very own kitchen. That means I no longer have to rely on campus food, no matter how tantalizing it may or may not be. However, it also means I may be experiencing some cruel reality checks when I come home from a long day of lectures and there is no food waiting on the table courtesy of my lovely mother. During those days it will be only too easy to microwave a Hot Pocket and forget about cooking something healthier. This is the exact kind of pitfall I will be trying to avoid as I enjoy the freedom of cooking whatever I want when I want it. Unfortunately, cooking also demands a certain amount of time and money, making budgeting a must. Alas, with independence comes responsibility.

All my excitement and ambitions aside, I am fully aware that I am at the Mount first and foremost to be a student, and no matter how eager I may be to try new things, academics is always going to come first. Unfortunately that means some of the things Iíve hoped to try may have to be passed up in order to study for a test or finish a project. With the tasks of RA, Editor, and student taking up the vast majority of my time this year, it seems almost surreal that Iíll be able to complete any of the things Iíve mentioned. Nonetheless, I will try my hardest to make them happen, because I believe from every new experience we gain knowledge about ourselves and others. Some things simply canít be learned in the classroom, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."

With this in mind, I think I can summarize my school year resolution with two little words: to learn. Not just in the classroom but everywhere. I want to experience new things so that I can know myself better in order to be the best version of myself possible. I understand that I have responsibilities which will take priority, but I also understand that college is a very exciting experience with a multitude of opportunities that I may never come across again. It is a hub for all things unique, educational, fun and engaging. As the saying goes, "So much to do and so little time," especially as I am already entering my junior year. Needless to say, I expect quite a few sleepless nights this year.

Read other articles by Nicole Jones