Each week on the Parents’ Page we offer a special message for families of first year students. These are weekly messages that (we hope) have relevance to something the first year students might be experiencing, and we try to offer some suggestions on how parents and family members can help and support their students through that particular developmental milestone or situation.
This week’s message is about “The New You!” and provided some thoughts on what students might consider doing as part of this new year. Dr. Hatch had emailed the campus a message at the beginning of the semester, and he challenged students to try and do three things this semester: 1) spend time with and invest in your friends, 2) appreciate being a member of a community in a way that you may never experience again, and 3) have the courage to spend time alone (read his full message here).
In thinking about resolutions, I stumbled across this list of 30 Accomplishments to Be Proud Of and thought it might be interesting to put here for parents. The writer of the blog had been asked to provide a list of her greatest accomplishments for 2012, and struggled. While there were professional accomplishments, those were not the ones of which she was proudest.
She came to the conclusion that “accomplishments don’t necessarily need to entail productivity, promotion, sales, or profits. Sometimes the most fulfilling things we do in this world bring little recognition, yield no monetary results, and come without fanfare. And yet, they still can mean so much and feel so completely satisfying.”
Our students are so achievement-oriented and so successful, that sometimes it must feel to them like they are struggling just for the grades or the internship or the job opportunity. And maybe it would be a good thing to remind them that they already do a lot of terrific things that are not as easy to measure, but add up to the greater good per the list below.
This list divides accomplishments to be proud of into three categories – your relationship with yourself, with others, and with the world. I’d be willing to bet you can see a lot of your own students’ accomplishments in this list.
Your Relationships with Others
1. Offer your love and support to someone who needs understanding.
2. Show up for someone who needs help—moving, packing, or doing anything that’s easier with an extra set of hands.
3. Plan, organize, or assist with a party or event for someone you love and/or value.
4. Support someone in a fundraiser, online of offline.
5. Respond calmly to a tough situation to keep a small issue from escalating into something much bigger.
6. Speak up for someone who otherwise might not have a voice, or may be too scared to use it.
7. Volunteer your skills and talents to help someone, whether that means proofreading a friend’s resume or cleaning their kitchen.
8. Offer a random act of kindness to someone without expecting anything in return.
9. Give something of yours to someone else if you think they need it more than you.
10. Point someone in the direction of a resource, group, or event that could be life-changing for them.
Your Relationship with Yourself
11. Set a clear boundary in a relationship that lacks them, thereby taking good care of yourself.
12. Follow through on a commitment to yourself, whether it’s to exercise, eat healthy foods, or to try something new.
13. Replace a negative, self-defeating thought with a positive, self-affirming one—and believe it.
14. Stick with something you’re tempted to quit knowing that what matters most is your commitment to the journey.
15. Improve how you deal with criticism, receiving it with an open-mind, without self-judgment.
16. Trust and follow your intuition instead of depending on someone else to define what’s best for you.
17. Forgive yourself for a mistake, creating more space in your mind to see, enjoy, and appreciate what’s right in front of you.
18. Choose a healthy coping mechanism to deal with emotional pain—like deep breathing or taking a walk—instead of doing something self-destructive.
19. Honor your own needs, creating more balance in your life.
20. Allow yourself to get into the zone with something you enjoy instead of overwhelming yourself with persistent mental chatter.
Your Relationship with the World
21. Purchase consciously to support businesses that follow ethical practices.
22. Become conscious of your environmental impact, and try one of these 50 ways to help the planet.
23. Make a microloan through an organization like Kiva to help and empower people around the globe.
24. Recycle. (You can recycle a lot more than you may think!)
25. Pay it forward. Do something kind for someone and tell that person to return the favor to someone else.
26. Give old clothes to charity instead of throwing them away.
27. Use the game at FreeRice.com to help end hunger.
28. Donate marrow to someone whose life depends on it. (You can start by registering on marrow.org.)
29. Do some research on your own to find a charity organization that you believe in and then tell three people about it.
30. Follow Gandhi’s advice and “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Do you have anything to add to the list?