As the current year comes to a close I cannot help but look back upon the past year with fondness. Hopefully you’ve all been able to spend some time over the holiday relaxing and refecting on the previous semester of work. There is something about a separation (however small), both physical and temporal, that allows our previous work to be seen in a new light and with a new clarity. This past semester I took my qualifying exam and spent a great deal of time studying. I feel confident in saying that it was the worst nine months I’ve spent as a student. Lots of stress and lots of required focus over a long period of time. This period of time, however, has allowed me to reflect somewhat fondly on my time. Much of that reflection is in appreciation that I am finished with that part of my studies forever.
Looking forward to the new year is also an important activity over the holidays. Right now I’m sitting in front of a calming fire with my wife and our son. Part of the difficulty of the previous semester was ignoring them in favor of studying as much as possible in preparation for my exams. The coming semester does not hold the same level of stress that the previous semester held. Looking forward there is a calmness and a determination that is different. I do not feel that I will have to ignore them in the future and neither do they. The new year (like all new years) holds something different and new. Whether a job, a class, or a course of study, there are difficulties and opportunities ahead. Good luck. Decide that you will do your best and get to it. The New Year will hold all sorts of things for all of us. If you’re a student know that last semester was last semester. Whether successful or not the coming year is a clean slate — make the most of it.