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Personal goals: Learning to prioritize my passions

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Blog Editor

SEPTEMBER 14, 2023

You should be proud of your academic achievements, you’re setting yourself up for a great career! 

Haven’t we all heard that a million times?

Don’t get me wrong, GPA, club commitments, extracurriculars, jobs and other responsibilities that are thrown our way all play an important role in our future — but boy, am I tired of hearing about it.

When did life become solely about these academic and career statistics we obsessively measure ourselves by?

It’s time we start prioritizing other goals in our lives with the same intense vigor.


My junior year was an absolute nightmare. I spent the majority of my weekends at home, escaping the academic pressures of Berkeley. Yes the pressure is real

I want to actually enjoy my senior year — so, I’ve made an agreement with myself to say yes to doing more things with friends. I’m already looking forward to day trips in San Francisco, pottery painting at Color Me Mine and Halloween movie marathons. 

For you, these social goals may look different.

I’d consider looking at your genuine interests and going from there. Maybe you’ve been insecure about your skills but you’ve been dying to take a photography class with a friend or you’re passionate about a project in your community. Maybe there’s this art exhibit, live music event or bar you really want to check out, but you’re too nervous to go alone. 

Well I say, go for it!


I love road biking, but I’ve been too self-conscious to participate in events.

So, I’m forcing myself to do a century race — a whopping 100 miles — during my gap year. Call me crazy, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to check off my bucket list for a while now. 

Your fitness goal doesn’t have to be anything insane. If you’ve been wanting to give yoga or pilates a go, do it now. Have you been trying to find the right time to do a weekly hike? Carve out the time in your schedule. Maybe you’ve wanted to PR in your sport. Allow yourself the time in the day to actually work on it.

Academics and your career are important, but don’t let it cut into your personal time — give yourself the opportunity to set and achieve fun fitness goals.


While my gap year is for gaining work experience before going to law school, I’m prioritizing some non-academic goals as well. I’m going to spend a few weeks abroad!

You’re probably wondering: How? Isn’t it expensive? 

Student discounts and traveling during the off season makes a difference. You can find a hostel, limit your dining expenses and stay away from shopping.  

I may not have planned out exactly where I’ll be traveling, but I find comfort in the fact that seeing what the world has to offer is a realistic goal.

Travel might also include local day trips, weekend getaways or camping excursions. There’s a remarkable amount of sights to see within driving distance — so start planning! 

The point is, our passions shouldn’t fall to the back burner simply because we feel pressured to focus on academics and careers. 

It’s time to change the conversation: You should be proud of yourself for your personal accomplishments, that must’ve been an amazing experience!

Contact Veerle de Jong at 


SEPTEMBER 14, 2023