A New School Year, The Hurricane Season, and Rosh HaShanah Reflections

I’m ready for a fresh start. Although the Western calendar places us toward the end of the year, the Jewish timing places Rosh Hashanah in the midst of a new school year, hurricane season and piling to-do lists, a perfect time to reflect and make goals.

Over the last year, however, I found my own to-do lists and goals faded away. Well, more so, my ability to tackle them faded while deadlines and aspirations circled menacingly. Beginning in January, my long-established chronic illness spawned into new diagnoses and medical odysseys.

Thankfully, the introspection and celebration Rosh Hashanah brings has progressed me to new goals and mindsets and a chance for a do-over of sorts. I’m thankful for fresh starts and a push to make a change. One of my biggest goals is to take care of myself and listen to my body. Doing nothing or taking a break is not what college students are accustomed to. But I’m going to try.

With a new cycle beginning and days of reflection and atonement ahead, it’s the perfect time to set new routines for self-care, lay out goals, and acknowledge what went wrong. Change is jarring and messing with routine feels unnatural. Finding fault in ourselves can be tough. Yet, I find it to be these moments that provide some of the most impactful lessons and time for growth.

This year, I’m also going to find sweetness in sour moments. It’s easy to get caught up in what is going wrong. I do it plenty. Now, in health lows, I hope to find new ways to advocate for people with disabilities and for inclusion in society, a positive outlet for my health hurdles and negative energy. I invite others to find a cause that combats the negativities they face.

After you’ve eaten apples and honey and enjoyed the round challah, it can be easy for the momentum of inspiration to fade in a hectic schedule. Take the time to commit your goals to a space where you can track your progress.

The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur isn’t the only time to reflect. However, it is rare to have such a celebration welcoming it in. Life is filled with cycles, and this is a special and joyous one.

Feel free to share your reflection in the new year with UF Hillel on social media. Shana tova!

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