’21 New Year’s resolutions even more special because of pandemic

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Image used with permission from Kayla Taylor.

Freshman Kayla Taylor writes down her resolutions on a piece of paper Dec. 11 at home while wearing her Apple Airpods.

Grace Min

After starting the 2020-2021 school year with the distance learning model, students’ New Year’s resolutions are sounding very familiar: less procrastination, improving studying habits and finishing the semester with high marks.

“I think I could have a better attitude about online learning,” freshman Jacob Chen said. “I’m not going to look at joining virtual Zoom sessions as a chore next year.”

Though Chen does not usually view a new year as symbolic, he said he’s looking forward to excelling in school for the second semester as well as the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

“I’d also like to get better at writing because I’m not that great at it yet,” said Chen, who attends Jennifer Kim’s English 1 Honors class on Mondays and Thursdays as part of being in Cohort A for hybrid learning.

Junior Matthew Chang, however, has been in Cohort C since the school’s hybrid learning model started Nov. 2, which explains why he wants to improve his time management and develop new study habits.

“I want to try to remove any distractions that may keep me from doing my homework, like playing video games or being on my phone,” Chang said.

Girls are no different than boys when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions.

“Next year I want to change my habit of procrastinating work and doing things last minute,” said freshman Kayla Taylor, who was in Cohort A before recently choosing to stay home when Orange County started seeing increases in positive coronavirus cases.

“I hope to do this by knowing when my assignments are due and planning reasonable times to work on them.” Taylor also plans to branch out her resolutions beyond academics. “The new year is definitely symbolic for me; it’s a new way to boost my motivation for my goals,” she said. “[My other] New Year’s resolution is to be less negative and more energetic about things.”

Freshman Katie Larson agrees that it all comes down to have the proper perspective.

“I want to be more motivated to do my homework next year,” Larson said. “I also want to be able to look at bad situations as learning experiences to help me grow instead of viewing them as solely bad.”

Teachers and athletic coaches, on the other hand, are orienting their goals around hybrid learning and keeping their students motivated for the second semester.

After transitioning from distance to hybrid learning, Honors Algebra 2 teacher Lauren Johnson hopes to create a class environment where her students on Zoom will be just as involved as the students in her physical classroom.

Johnson wants to ensure all her students have an opportunity to share their voice, especially when a single math problem can be solved in various ways.

“I like to look at the semester as a chance to restart and reflect on what worked and what didn’t [work] so we can all do better,” she said. “It’s a good chance to make sure I’m doing all the things I want to.”

Girls volleyball head coach Amanda Donaldson sees the new year as a time for seizing the day.

“I have extremely high goals for the girls and the program,” Donaldson said. “I think we have a lot of potential on all three of our teams, and I’m really excited to see where this takes us. “With all the unknowns, we may not get as many pre-season matches, which are a big part of our season. … The goal is to be able to simulate game-like situations in practice, which can be tough, but it will be something we as coaches have to plan so we get all the kinks out before [Freeway League starts].”

What’s more, the coach has taken a more optimistic view for what the new year has in store. “I think we are all optimistic about 2021,” Donaldson said. “Everyone is hoping for more normalcy and to get back to full capacity. We can’t wait to represent the Lancers and show everyone what we’ve got.”

This story originally appeared in the Dec. 14 print issue, which can be read here.