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As the fall semester begins, it is important to sit down and ask ourselves the following question: what is my “normal” going to look like? The past few years have created circumstances that changed what our normal day-to-day life looks like. One of the greatest changes of the past two years is the removal of consistency from our day. Fortunately, as we enter a new season, new opportunities present themselves.

If we can learn to balance consistency and spontaneity through our days, it will dramatically improve our college experience.

As college students, it can be very easy for us to live our day-to-day lives reacting to our circumstances. Living a daily life purely reacting to your circumstances is not healthy, will not make you happy and limits your college experience. Creating goals for yourself and setting your own expectations will not only make your day to day proactive instead of reactive, but will also empower you and equip you to handle future challenges.

These goals to a proactive lifestyle can be extremely trivial. Almost every successful person says they make their bed every morning. Other goals can consist of making new friends or meeting a new person every day, spending time in nature or, my favorite option, hitting a new personal record working out at TRECS. It is more beneficial to get a boost of dopamine by adding 20 pounds to your bench press rather than doom scrolling through Twitter. I promise that teaching yourself how to be successful in small, trivial things will help you be successful in the long run.

Work harder.

However, to have a truly balanced lifestyle, it is important to have spontaneous joys. Not everything needs to be planned or coordinated. This is something that I have personally learned after the lockdowns and restrictions of the past two years. While setting goals will train your mind and lift your spirit, spontaneous adventures can help fuel your heart. Find a place to set up your hammock, take a hot girl walk or have a movie night with the boys. Whatever it may be, take time to remind yourself to enjoy the spontaneous moments in your daily life.

Play harder.

At UT, you have an incredible opportunity to try new things and have fun, but you also have a duty to strengthen yourself. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. There are people all around you here who are proud of you and are here to support you. You are not alone and you have what it takes. I encourage you to make great memories and to achieve great things this school year. Welcome to Rocky Top!

You have what it takes.

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