New Year, New Me?

January 18, 2024

Shruti Varahala is a sophomore pursuing a degree in neuroscience at the University of California, Riverside. She has been a part of the mental health community since her freshman year of high school, with the Global Mental Health Foundation, an organization that strives to destigmatize the negative connotations surrounding mental health amongst high school students. She continues to be an active member in mental health-related clubs on campus, such as UCR Mann Mukti, which aims to promote the importance of mental health in South Asian communities. Shruti is currently on the pre-med track and hopes to pursue a career in medicine in the future. This is her second year as an advisory board member for the Born This Way Foundation. 

This story took place in United States

We’ve all heard the phrase “New Year, New Me” before, and as we continue to move into 2024, I wanted to take a moment to talk about how we can interpret this phrase differently. After speaking with a few people and going through social media, many of us have this perception that we need to drastically change our lifestyle, our physical appearance, or something big in the new year. However, I think this mentality has the potential to blind us to what we’ve learned and experienced in the year prior. 

For example, looking back at what we have experienced throughout the whole year allows us to make some changes, whether positive or negative, on how we want to tackle certain situations in our life moving forward. As an 18-year-old, one of the things I’ve learned this past year relates to my personal relationships and how I treat the people around me. 

By doing this self- reflection instead of making resolutions that I know I won’t be able to continuously fulfill throughout the year, I realize that I can work towards being a better person and focus on character development and who I want to be. 

Physical health is also extremely important. As a college student who is also a STEM major, I know that we rarely get any free time, and when we do, it’s mostly spent catching up on some much needed REM sleep. Physical activity is so important for both mental and physical well- being and it’s important to create this balance in life to prevent getting overwhelmed and stressed out. 

This past year, I’ve also had a lot of time to reflect on my personal relationships and truly realize what I want out of my friends. At 18, this is the time where me and a lot of my peers are trying to figure out who we want to be in life, whether that be career- related or just as a person. I’ve dealt with my fair share of toxic friendships this year, yet, it was so hard for me to let go because of the fact that I always wanted to give the person the benefit of the doubt and truly believed that things could get better. 

This new year, I want to adopt the mentality of knowing when to let go. Holding onto the past, especially the bad memories, creates a mindset where there’s no potential to grow or make positive progress. Being able to take a stand and let go of people and things who you don’t want to be associated with anymore shows that the only person that you truly need at the end of the day is yourself. 

By reflecting on what has made you unhappy this past year and wanting to change your own toxic habits, I truly believe that we all can have a more positive and healthy 2024, where we radiate kindness and love towards one another.