BYU students make resolutions for the ‘next normal’

Students are making new resolutions based on what they’ve experienced from starting off the year in a pandemic. (Photo illustration via Unsplash)

Editor’s note: This story is a part of a series that explores the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and how things have changed on and off campus.

Leer en español: Estudiantes de BYU hacen resoluciones para la nueva normalidad

Creating New Year’s resolutions is a tradition centered on goals striving towards a new self. The year 2020, however, has brought on a huge challenge that has affected many lives: the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the world slowly starts to shift to the “next normal,” people are creating new resolutions based on their experiences with the pandemic.   

BYU senior Jamie Marquis’s resolution is to exercise more, especially outside.

Using her FitBit, she noticed that she was getting fewer than 1,000 steps per day since classes went online. This caused her to go outside and start running as well as go on daily walks. “I feel so much better physically and emotionally when I’m getting some type of physical activity outside every day,” she said.  

With recreation centers opening back up, Marquis said she is now attending her weekly power yoga class, but she still continues her daily walks and running outside. She’s gained more of an appreciation for running and eating healthier foods.

“This new resolution to exercise more actually has me craving fruits and vegetables and my organs are loving it,” she said. “I can’t believe I let myself feel so sluggish for so long.” 

BYU sophomore Riley Gray wants to spend more quality face-to-face time with friends and family instead of living through her phone and social media. 

Gray recently got back from her mission and mentioned how it has influenced her resolution. Her mission had not received smartphones yet, which made her realize how phones can be a detriment to relationships. 

“That really opened my eyes to how much I overused my phone when I was home and the importance of personal, face-to-face interaction and actual telephone conversation,” she said. 

She also realized how much she had taken her relationships for granted, especially after being in quarantine on her mission and when she got home. Gray wants to be present with the people she interacts with. 

“This new generation is amazing, but we have lost how to live in the moment,” she said. “We have lost the beauty and power of eye contact and touch.”

Once it is safer for social interactions to take place, Gray plans on putting her phone down and visiting friends. “I am going to make the extra effort to be with people and show them I love them and am interested in them and want to be with them.”

BYU student Jared Paredes made a resolution to make a concerted effort to sincerely get to know people. 

Paredes said he didn’t make much effort in looking around on campus before the pandemic. 

“I feel like there were many instances when I could have made people around me feel more welcome in the campus community,” he said. 

He mentioned that offering a small greeting to someone crossing paths with him could make a difference. Paredes now strives to notice those who are around him and wants to be more spontaneous in helping people feel welcomed.

BYU student Alex McIntire’s resolution is to reach out to more old friends and acquaintances.

McIntire began reaching out to chat and check up on people over social media when social distancing was stricter. “I found that most people, including acquaintances that I thought I didn’t know well enough to hang out with, were happy to respond and chat for a while.”

He realized the missed opportunities he had to strengthen those acquaintanceships into friendships. 

“People are generally friendlier than we think,” he said. “I’ve struggled socially for most of my life, but the pandemic has really given me the opportunity to get out of my bubble and make more friends.” 

McIntire plans on achieving this goal by stopping and talking with people he sees on campus once it’s safe to have classes. 

“There are so many amazing people here, and getting to know them is a huge part of the BYU experience.” 

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