The new year reality check

PUBLISHED: 11:32 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:23 26 October 2009

Tara Bromley is a third-year journalism student at the University of Hertfordshire

Tara Bromley is a third-year journalism student at the University of Hertfordshire

SO, a new year has begun, but brings with it the same stresses as last year. Same faces, same places, same coursework and same non-existent bank balance - a bit of an anti climax after the chaotic celebrations of Christmas and new year. Over are the fest

SO, a new year has begun, but brings with it the same stresses as last year.

Same faces, same places, same coursework and same non-existent bank balance - a bit of an anti climax after the chaotic celebrations of Christmas and new year.

Over are the festivities and with them the excuse to eat as many mince pies as you like, because, after all, it is Christmas, isn't it?

And anyway, a few extra chocolates won't matter, once you've hit the treadmill along with 50,000 other people trying to shift the festive flab, will they?

Alas, like many other new year pledges, the gym got forgotten as three weeks of choosing to watch re-runs of Only Fools and Horses on TV instead of doing essays finally caught up with me.

So, carrying perhaps an extra inch or so around the waist, I've left the comforts of home behind and returned to uni.

Sitting on the train back, I fell into a daydream of new year's resolutions.

Over the years I have pledged to do loads of things... be more organised, get fit, make an effort to speak to family more, and try and do something good for others.

These ideas were soon thwarted, however, by general 'couch potato-itis', cake, and plain low tolerance for annoyance.

Let's be honest, family are annoying, especially family who you haven't spoken to since you were 10 and the generic, "you look well" and "what have you been up to?" spill out of your mouth and before long you've been invited to a weekend in Bognor to 'catch up'.

Damn.

However, one resolution that did make me think was the last one, 'do something good for others'.

I felt guilty for not doing anything about that one - the feeling I get when charity adverts come on the TV imploring you not to turn over, but you do.

I guess that's what I did to the resolution, I turned over.

I turned onto spending my time worrying about not having enough money to go out at the weekend, and moaning about having pasta again for dinner the second time in a week.

Guilt is a strong motivator. So this year, I'm only making one resolution.

Tomorrow at uni I'm going to the volunteer centre and am going to see if there's anything I can help with.

The volunteer centre is run by the university's student union and provides a wide variety of volunteer projects which help the local community.

Activities such as digging vegetable patches in local schools, and helping out at clubs for disabled and underprivileged children are two of the areas we can get involved in.

Not only does the centre provide opportunities for students to contribute the community, it helps to improve relations between the university and the local community (always a prominent subject for Welwyn Hatfield).

Perhaps, if you haven't made a resolution this year, you could also try and do something altruistic.

You don't have to get involved with an organisation; maybe you could offer to go shopping for an elderly neighbour or relative or do some winter pruning in the garden of someone who might not be able to do it themselves.

I don't want to sound too much like a Mother Teresa wannabe here, but I think that a good deed doesn't go unnoticed.

Anyway, who wouldn't want a warm glow inside to help you through a long, cold winter?

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