The Year of the Crock Pot (among other things)

So it's 2016 and like most goal setting people, the beginning of the new year means a bunch of goals and resolutions. Over the years, my resolutions have changed and I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I shoot a little higher than what realistically I can change in a year.

So this year, I made a list (lists are my go-to). A list of things/activities/skills I'd like to hold myself accountable to. In many ways, these are things I already do. But, they are things I could do better or more regularly. In true Hailley fashion, I've outfitted my list with hyperlinks and gifs. No one should be surprised. 

It's the Year of the Crock Pot. It's a name I chose on Monday, a spur of the moment name. Crock pots seem to be an "essential" cooking utensil for everyone, especially young 20 somethings like myself. You throw a bunch of stuff in, turn on the heat, and go about your business, only to return to a delicious meal. I finally invested in one this weekend, my first 2016 purchase. 

Without further ado, what cooking in the Crock Pot in 2016.


Find a full-time job

This one is the most crucial. With graduation just ahead in May, I'd love to walk across the stage, receive my diploma, and know as I smile to the crowd, that I have employment. The #BigSearch has started and while I'm nervous, I'm also very excited. To find a job, it means I've got to continue to update and tweak my resume, make sure my website is in tip top shape, and continue to actively seek out articles to make sure I know what's happening in the field.  

Make the most of my final semester of graduate school

As I find a job, I also want to make sure I still take advantage of all the opportunities at my feet in Illinois. From my job in the residence hall libraries, to working with the kids at UNCC, and to continuing research I began in 2015, I'm ready to finish out graduate school strong. There's no doubt this will be a busy spring.  

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Find ways to keep in touch with friends

I finally think in 2015, I started to figure out how to stay in touch with my friends as they are scattered across the United States (and the world). What I loved about this Winter Break is that I hung out with friends that I hadn't seen in a while (six years was the longest time period) but we picked up as if we had not seen each other in only a week. These friendships are wonderful in so many ways. Technology is great to keep in touch (texts, snaps, random phone calls, emails, and tweets) but there's also something special about a handwritten letter, some homebaked goodies, and even a visit.  

Don't lose sight of the things that make me happy

I know that during my undergrad years, I had some rough semesters. Lots of schoolwork and a mindset that put work over sleep. I've made a lot of progress from those semesters and feel that balance continues to be something I strive for and work towards. Activities like spending time with friends, playing the clarinet, writing, reading, falling into cultural criticism on the Internet, being crafty, among other things help me relax and keep me focused. 

Compliment my academic reading with personal reading

Go figure: I like to read. Sometimes I get so sucked into reading for class I forget to read just for fun. This year I'm going to keep working on making time (even if it's only ten minutes) to read something not class related. I sometimes get my best ideas due to inspiration from books I'm reading just for fun. 

Cook more (especially with my Crock Pot) 

If I bought it, I better put it to use, right? And just in general, I'd like to up my cooking game (grilled cheese and oatmeal only get me so far). Besides, if a rat and small children (Master Chef Junior) can cook, it can't be too hard, right?!?!

For me, I love making resolutions. Even if I don't fully follow through on them, making them gives me a chance to reflect on what I've done and where I'm trying to go. Even being cognizant of how I can change and grow is beneficial. I'm figuring stuff out, with a little dance in my step and spunk in my ideas. 2016 holds the promise of lots of great things and I'm ready to go!