Happy New Year!


Just before the first snowfall blanketed the streets of Washington, DC, we said goodbye to an incredible 2014. For the UGRAD team, the year was marked by: one mid-year workshop, three re-entry workshops, one arrival workshop, celebrating our students’ 4,872 community service hours, and so much more! There’s no better time than December 31st to review the year that was. Remembering challenges and triumphs is all a part of the growing process.

The only thing better than reminiscing about the past is dreaming about the future. January 1st offers all of us a chance to set the tone for the year. It’s a time to hit the refresh button, establish new goals, dream big dreams, and make resolutions. The definition of resolve is to “decide firmly on a course of action.” Below are some resolutions that the World Learning UGRAD team has decided firmly to accomplish in 2015!

Jessica: For 2015, I would like to improve my physical, mental and fiscal health. First, I promise to set aside time each week to exercise more. Second, I will aim to eat healthier and cook more home-cooked meals. Third, I will watch my finances closely and aim to save more money. Finally, to maintain mental health, I will set aside time each week to unwind with a book, podcast, or attend a cultural event.

Chris: I will strive to see the positive in every situation. Even when faced with adversity, I will focus on the good, and not waste time by lamenting on the bad.

Bethany: My New Year’s resolution is to be more mindful. It’s easy to get caught up in our own heads and worry about our own problems rather than seeing the full picture. I hope to take a little time each day in 2015 to step out of myself and appreciate each day for what it truly is: a gift!

Patrick: My resolution was to think of something positive every morning when I wake up. No time to be a Negative Nancy!

Roya: I set a theme to each year. This year’s theme is “Let Goodness Lead.” In every situation I encounter, I want to think about what the “good” decision is, not necessarily the one that will get me the farthest the quickest. I want to slow down, take more slow breaths, laugh when I make a mistake, see all angles of a situation, and let goodness lead.

Olga: I normally don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but this year I felt up for a challenge. Basically, my commitment to myself is: No Cookies, Cakes, Caramel! I don’t know about you, but I had too many delicious sweets over the holiday break. And as much as I LOVE cookies and cakes, I also love my health and I genuinely want to start eating less of these sweet treats. If anyone wants to join me and kick off the new year without CCC’s, go ahead and give it a try! The good part is that I am not cutting all sugar out of my life. Dark chocolate and “healthy” ice-cream without corn syrup are still on the menu. As with any New Year’s resolution, you have start small and be realistic about it 🙂


Dorothy: Last winter in DC was unusually cold and harsh and I wasn’t prepared at all physically or mentally. I’d walk home in the cold and snow and come into my beautiful but old house with drafty windows and end up burying myself under blankets for warmth. This meant that I usually would stay under blankets for the whole rest of the night! I let winter dictate everything last year – what I did in my free time, my  exercise schedule, my eating habits – and as a result I got lazy and out of shape. This year I’m not going to let that happen. I’m going to control everything I can – buying warmer outdoor gear, finding lots of indoor activities and even trying to find something I like about winter. I think that even though winter is just 3 -4 months this will really set the tone for my year and help make it a great one!

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