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Tags: kindness | respect | resolutions | new years | civility
OPINION

Every Year Teaches Lessons We Can Take to the New

2024 is my year to on paper background
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Kent Ingle By Wednesday, 27 December 2023 10:02 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

Before 2023 comes to an end, most Americans anticipate what the new year holds. Millions write aspirations for 2024, with the top three goals revolving around fitness, finances and mental health.

Like many Americans, I journal my thoughts, analyze the year and write personal development plans. Although New Year's resolutions seem like a faltering trend, I find that they cultivate self-awareness and help us grow. Reflection is something I have tried to teach our students to incorporate into their daily lives.

Looking back on the year gone by, many stories defined 2023 — from Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce to tech companies' mass layoffs to the Titanic submarine going missing and the war in Israel and Gaza. We also said goodbye to a friend (Matthew Perry), lost musical legends (Jimmy Buffett) and political trailblazers (Sandra Day O'Connor).

There are many lessons we can learn from this past year and share with college students as they plan their New Year's resolutions.

Nurture Human Connections

AI took center stage this year. In November, ChatGPT celebrated its first birthday with over 1.7 billion users. The chatbot disrupted higher education and the workforce, with growing concerns about replacing jobs and hindering academic critical thinking. AI's abilities seem unlimited from writing emails, papers and speeches to having conversations with people.

What we have learned in higher education is that although AI should be used with caution, it can be a resource to maximize time and give students an advantage in the workforce. But AI can never replace human relationships. It can't substitute in-person interactions and conversations, cultivating sympathy, relatability and trust. Encourage your student to prioritize in-person relationships in the new year.

Make Your Opinion Count

The year began with Democrats and Republicans announcing bids for presidential candidacy. It's just the beginning of a political wave that will heat up in 2024. Candidates make promises, debate and try to persuade us as to why they should be the next president.

Why should it matter to college students? The elections shape the political landscape of our nation — with the power to nominate Supreme Court justices, sign or veto legislation and command the Armed Forces. Make sure your student understands the gravity of their vote. Help them research candidates and determine who aligns with their values and beliefs. Then, encourage them to set a reminder on their phone to vote on Nov. 5, 2024.

Take Time to Reset

Many events amplified feelings of anxiety and fear for young adults. The U.S. experienced a record number of weather and climate disasters, including the Maui fires. It was a year filled with financial woes, from an increase in inflation to skyrocketing mortgage rates.

Anxiety is on the rise for young adults and more than half of Gen Z worry about not having enough money. College students must get the professional help they need. But it's also important that they learn to disconnect from the world around them and clear their heads.

Share the importance of setting aside time to unwind. Encourage your student to take time away from their phones, start a new hobby, pursue a passion and spend time in nature.

Live in Gratitude

Several conflicts and wars broke out in 2023. Early in the year, thousands of Americans were trapped in Sudan due to a civil war. Ukraine and Russia are still at war. And tensions between Israel and Hamas continue to escalate. This past year prompted us to see how precious life is, how valuable freedom is and how to treasure time with our loved ones.

Unfortunately, tragedies remind us of what we take for granted. Demonstrate how your student can show thankfulness this new year. Expressing gratitude increases one's happiness and physical and mental health. Discuss all that they have been given — from being able to pursue their aspirations to enjoying constitutional freedoms. Encourage them to prioritize time with loved ones and to continually express gratitude.

Choose Kindness and Respect

Civility seems to be dead on college campuses. Ivy League schools were once again headlining news for shouting down conservative speakers and students endorsing Hamas' actions. It's been a nightmare for college leaders as antisemitism and Islamophobia are on the rise, leading to fear of safety and debates on freedom of speech.

In a world of hostility, we need more students who are willing to act out of respect for one another and listen before they respond. Instead of approaching situations with hostility, talk to your student about the importance of hearing someone else's opinion, detaching their emotions and responding with kindness.

While there are many lessons we can learn from the year, we must remind students (and even ourselves) of how we can implement what we learn into the new year. Once we do, it will shape our lives and our communities for the better.

Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the president of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the author of "Framework Leadership.'' Read Kent Ingle's Reports — More Here.

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KentIngle
There are many lessons we can learn from this past year and share with college students as they plan their New Year's resolutions.
kindness, respect, resolutions, new years, civility
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2023-02-27
Wednesday, 27 December 2023 10:02 AM
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