No one actually does New Year’s Resolutions anymore, mainly because all the ones people are coming up with are extremely boring. Whilst learning a language, eating healthily, going to the gym more often, and stopping smoking/ binge drinking/ bringing flamethrowers to bops are all laudable goals, we all know they’re NOT going to happen.
Here’s an alternative list of better resolutions for 2015.
1. Take more selfies (but get a selfie stick).
Yes, I am from the Philippines, selfie capital of the world. Yes, I know I look like a tourist and I am okay with that. No, I do not have a selfie stick because I have short arms.
2014 was dubbed “the year of the selfie”, but I assure you, 2015 will be the year of the selfie stick. I’m sure even the least self-confident person secretly likes to take selfies. At some point, you have to learn to love yourself, and what better way than first learning to love the thing you see in the mirror every day? Fun fact: your selfies might look odd to you because you always see your face mirrored (left-right reversed) when you look in a mirror, so for the selfie-unconfident, just take selfies on Snapchat, so it’s mirrored and looking the way you always see you.
People think the selfie is just for self-obsessed good-looking people, but I beg to disagree. One does not use the selfie to flaunt one’s good looks; one uses the selfie to record an event, good times with friends, and great new places one finds in Oxford (see next resolution). But take heed, please don’t take a selfie of you putting on an ugly face (known as an ‘uglie’) – that was SO 2014. And please, if your arms aren’t long enough to get all your friends AND the view behind you… get a selfie stick! You don’t want to be that guy that cuts out your least important friends in photos. I promise it’s not narcissi-stick.
Disclaimer: This article was not sponsored by any companies selling selfie sticks.
2. Actually go and visit places in Oxford.
Where are you going to take selfies if not around one of the best tourist destinations in the UK? Oxford is actually home to so many wonders, and it shocks me how many people (freshers, I’m looking at you!) haven’t visited them.
Got a bike? Cycle to Port Meadow, Blenheim Palace, and Brookes. If you have a friend at St. Hugh’s (lol, what?), visit them and see all 10.5 acres of garden. It’s bigger than Trinity’s lawns and you can actually walk on the grass.
Food lover? Have breakfast at Tick Tock Café (the walls are covered in funky clocks), lunch at Turl Street Kitchen (great for social justice), and dinner at Gee’s (super expensive but also super classy). All over Oxford there are hidden gems of places we just walk by all the time: Zappi’s Bike Café (want to have coffee while surrounded by the smell of rubber tyres?), Vaults & Garden (lunch by the Rad Cam is incredible), and Edamame (very intimate – do not take anyone whose personal bubble you are not willing to enter).
Nutella lover? Go to the Pizza Artisan van outside Christ Church and buy a £6 pizza called ‘Fifty Shades of Nutella,’ which is a pizza base with nothing but Nutella on top, with mascarpone cheese optional. Then take a selfie of it and tweet it with #50shadesofnutella. I promise you a satisfied tummy and diabetes within two years.
3. Post things on OAOU.
The number of posts on the infamous ‘Overheard at Oxford Uni’ seems to be declining, despite this activity being one’s one-way ticket to BNOC-hood. Do continue to post things on there, but please make sure they are actually relevant/ funny/ interesting. First one to post a selfie on OAOU wins at life (okay, I’ll stop with the selfie talk now).
4. Talk about mental health and disabilities.
TW: Discussion of Mental Health and Suicide
We worry a lot about our physical health. Many New Year’s Resolutions include not smoking, exercising more, and eating healthily. Of course, those are important things; we want to invest in a healthier old age free from strokes and heart attacks. But what about now? The biggest killer of men and women in the UK in the 20 to 34-year olds is actually suicide, according to the Office for National Statistics. As around 90% of people who die by suicide have mental health problems, we really should be tackling this major health problem.
We talk a lot about a five a day of fruit and vegetables for our physical health, while we don’t have a similar five a day for our mental health. For the record, some people have come up with a five a day for mental health: connect with others around you, be active, take notice of yourself, the world around you and the positives in your life, keep learning and give time to yourself and to others, one random act of kindness at a time. Have a friend who is struggling? Speak to them about it. Ask someone how they are and never invalidate their feelings. If things seem particularly bad, take any warning signs seriously. Remember, this could save someone’s life.
5. Be a social justice advocate, and not just a keyboard warrior.
Sometimes, with the short terms that we have, soul-crushing deadlines, and far too many an essay crisis, it is tempting to care about no one but yourself. But the world has so many issues out there that even the most privileged, wealthy, cisgender, heterosexual, white, public school-educated and able-bodied male should be able to find a problem that they will find difficult to ignore.
But to those who are already on Tumblr and are already advocates for social issues (especially for issues to do with gender and sexual identity), can we please stop with the infighting? To people in the cis-gay male community, a friendly reminder that transphobia and cultural appropriation of Women of Colour is not okay. To the wider LGBTQ community, not everyone is sexual, and asexuality does exist. To monosexuals, biphobia is wrong. To everyone else, intersectionality (e.g. being both black and lesbian, Asian and hard of hearing, trans* and Muslim, etc.) does exist, and it does make life hard for people who live at such intersections.
Also, just because most people in Oxford are not dying from starvation, malnutrition, and malaria does not mean that issues such as homelessness, being more environmentally sustainable, and the Living Wage campaign are not important. In 2015, resolve to be more actively involved and more educated on all issues, not just those which affect you personally.
6. Have More College Rivalry (But Stop with the Brookes Bashing)
Yes, it is perfectly okay to mock Pembroke for being the stupidest college and to hate on (read: become extremely jealous of) Merton for getting to the top of Norrington. (Like anyone reads that anymore? Oh wait.)
People have become too tame nowadays. Gone now are the days of Lincolnites leaving Brasenostrils to die by the hands of the townies. No longer do Pembrokians paint Christ Church cows pink, forcing Christ Church to retaliate by throwing Pembroke cats off Tom Tower.
To the Christ Church medic that stole a Lincoln plate, good on you. To the LMH medic that urinated into the pond in Tom Quad at Christ Church, shame on you. You know who you are.
7. Write for (Good) Student Publications
Join OSPL (not to be confused with OSFL) and any of its wonderful publications: Cherwell, Bang!, Industry and The Isis (not to be confused with that other ISIS).
Oxford Student Publications Limited is independent from the university, unlike certain publications (you know which one I’m talking about). OSPL is the powerhouse of Oxford’s only independent student newspaper, the oldest independent student magazine in the United Kingdom (the unfortunately-named ISIS), the only student magazine dedicated to science, the most popular fashion magazine (Industry), and even the best freshers’ guides that Oxford has ever seen – Keep off the Grass.
If Sylvia Plath, Nigella Lawson, George Osborne, Rupert Murdoch, W.H. Auden, and Evelyn Waugh have all contributed to OSPL, then obviously, so should you. Make it a New Year’s Resolution to write for good publications.
Happy New Year!