Credit: Marta Lukomska | Mustang News

With a year marked by social unrest and a pandemic over, Cal Poly students and staff are looking forward to 2021 — creating New Year’s resolutions inspired by the events of 2020.

Political science sophomore Bryan Shahbani said his New Year’s resolution — to have financial stability — was inspired by this past year.

“I’m just really setting the goal to get on my feet and try to be independent from my parents as much as I can,” he said. 

Shahbani said he does not normally create New Year’s resolutions because he believes you should not wait for a new year to start a goal. This year, however, he thought differently.

“I just saw a new light in this year and I found new hope and then I realized that it definitely is a new opportunity to start fresh,” he said. 

To keep his goal alive, Shahbani is working for Postmates and Doordash and said he hopes to get a job on campus when possible. He said he lost his job in November due to COVID-19.

“I would like to put more of my income into my savings, just so if another thing happens, like the pandemic, I have something to lean on,” he said. “I didn’t foresee that happening and I suffered definitely not having enough savings.”

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English professor Melanie Senn said her New Year’s resolution is to stop drinking alcohol for the month of January. 

“It’s not about perfection, but can I cultivate something that’s healthy and present and truly productive,” she said. “This is just a check-in for myself.”

Senn said she wanted to move on from 2020 and felt that the resolution would be a clean slate.

“Maybe there’s a feeling very much of a fresh start,” she said. “I think that’s the compelling thing about the New Year.”

Another reason she decided to create her resolution is she wants to feel at her best for activities like yoga and surfing, which she does in the morning, Senn said. 

Senn said she is going to start with the month of January and extend her resolution to a couple of more months if things go well. 

“I’m trying to be productive and healthy and also a good role model to my children, who are on the precipice of what could be risky behavior,” she said.

It is important for students to consider setting goals for themselves because what they do now is the foundation for their lives later, Senn said. 

“It’s not about obsession or perfection, but about maybe that joyful moderation or balance, because you want to be in it for the long haul, right?” Senn said. “Mentally, physically, emotionally, and so really you’re laying a lot of groundwork.”

Biochemistry junior Ava Brackenbury said her New Year’s resolution is to be happy.

Brackenbury said that surrounding herself with “kinder” people at the end of 2020 inspired her to apply happiness to all other aspects of her life. 

“There’s a lot of personal stuff too that I have also been working on and other people that have come into my life that have already helped me work towards that goal of just being happier this year,” Brackenbury said. 

She said she plans to go hiking and camping to help make her goal last throughout the year. 

“I just realized that I don’t really need to put up with stuff that makes me unhappy anymore,” she said. 

Higher education counseling and student affairs graduate student Liana Rivera-Cardera’s resolution is “not giving up on society.”

Following the Black Lives Matter (BLM)  protests this summer, rising COVID-19 cases in San Luis Obispo and the raiding of Capital Hill this past Wednesday, Rivera-Cardera said her resolution was inspired by 2020 events. 

“I can’t help but hope that we can come together as Americans and unite as one,” she said. “With politics and race aside, we need to be there for each other.”

To help keep her goal alive, Rivera-Cardera said she is staying off social media as much as possible and not watching the news. She said she also hopes to use her voice on campus.

“If I can be somewhere or find somewhere on campus where I can be an advocate and try to bring rainbows and unicorns on campus that’s what I hope to do,” she said. 

Rivera-Cardera — who was surrounded by COVID-19 patients while working at a hospital in the Bay Area — said the COVID-19 pandemic helped her realize that society takes people for granted. As a career advisor, she said she hopes to bring positivity into students’ lives this year.

“Not giving up on myself, I feel like, is always going to be the hardest, but as long as I can get through it, I know that we as a community can get through it too,” Rivera-Cardera said. “We are all one big family.”

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