– Written by Jesse Saperstein, College Experience Habilitation Liaison

My colleague, Judy Hartley and I started off the second-to-last Morning Meeting with a topic relevant to the culmination of the Holiday Season – New Year’s Resolutions. I asked anyone in the class if they would be able to provide a definition.  An ambitious woman raised her hand and said, “They are promises people make to themselves that they never follow.”  I was about to correct this cynical and misguided definition before stopping to think.  She is right.  That is exactly what they are.  I looked at my resolutions for 2016 and realized my main one happens to be a clone of the past two New Year’s – lose about thirty pounds.  I have tried it the past two years and floundered after about a month while trying to defy physiology by consuming the same foods as the carefree days of yore and yesteryear while expecting the pounds to melt off.  Even though I did not exactly tell the woman from the College Experience Program (CEP) that she is wrong…I still gave the class the definition of what they are supposed to be.  New Year’s Resolutions revolve around habits we want to break or to start something beneficial that we failed to begin or maintain the previous year.

It was very interesting to hear the resolutions of the current CEP students. There were ideas related to being more independent, engaging in less drama, and being a better friend.  We went over strategies to increase the probability of success.  We decided the best way to have a fighting chance is to make promises that we may actually keep.  Crackpot ideas such as performing 100 pushups every morning should be thrown in a ginormous garbage can with the label, “Good Intentions.”  We should also make three big resolutions instead of twelve that must be delegated attention on a relentless basis.  There are only so much of us to go around and only 24 hours in the day (not counting the eight that we are hopefully sleeping!).  I have another idea that I should-have, would-have, and could-have thrown on the metaphorical table during the Morning Meeting.  How about creating a Grace Period of “Screwing-Up Time”?  If punctuality is our biggest foe…our yearlong demon then we must rage against this weakness in order to have a fighting chance to thrive in the adult world.  This goes without saying, but there is no job in the world that will tolerate constant lateness no matter what challenges we may face.  Beating this weakness and maintaining long-term success may imply giving ourselves the mercy that may or may not come from other people.  For example, you can give yourself one chance to be late once a week.  This does not mean you are going to be late on purpose.  It just means that if you are human once in a while you are not going to let your goals be thwarted by the burden of shame and fear of failure.

The only negative thing about resolutions is that they do not focus on what has been accomplished over the past year that we should be proud of even if not every promise from 2015 came to fruition.   I would like all of the students of CEP to think about the challenges they have been faced  with especially the freshmen students who were expected to become independent, learn how to cook, co-exist with dissimilar personalities  of housemates, reach academic goals, navigate the community, and adhere to the other standards that are a requirement of the CEP program.  Instead of just focusing on the three goals we want to come to fruition in 2015…I would like all students to dwell on at least three things they did right over the semester or improved upon with the guidance of staff.

Hopefully everybody is enjoying their time home with family and friends. Even though you are technically on vacation, I ask that you do not take a vacation from the valuable skills you learned during the fall semester.  Help your family cook and do the dishes if you see they are piled up to the faucet.  The transition into the spring semester will be much easier if you maintain some reasonable momentum.

Perhaps the staff can learn something from you because we are often your students. As for me, I would like to practice my innovative technique of Backwards Procrastination, which means treating non-time sensitive tasks like really big deals before the clock finally closes in as we all know it does.  I am looking forward to instructing the Community Service and Public Speaking class among my other duties at Living Resources, Inc. as the Habilitation Liaison.  My last message for the students is to always let the staff know what we may do to help them become successful.  Even though we cannot exactly do all the work for you…we may be your navigator if you agree to be the pilots!