Let’s try and look back at 2022 for all of its blessings, and look forward to 2023 with optimismAlice Mainwood with permission for varsity

It’d probably be quite refreshing to go into 2023 hoping for a ‘new year, new me’ type situation. I could follow in my usual tradition of vowing to be more organised, stop with the chronic busyness, and fix my sorry excuse for a savings account. And, if, come next December, I could speak having succeeded in these goals, maybe I’d be quite chuffed with myself. It’s unlikely they’ll really happen though, so what’s the point? Not what’s the point in trying – simply, what’s the point in starting the New Year with a pledge of impossible self-improvement? Why can’t we view the New Year in a more positive light?

There is something so pleasing about the concept of a New Year every January. The monotony of time’s passing is suddenly transformed into a celebration worthy of fireworks, parties, wishes, and resolutions. In the middle of winter – indeed still months away from the traditional season of rebirth and new hope – there is a spontaneous, somewhat surreal sense of newness. That is so beautiful.

Looking back now, I think of how at peace I felt backpacking my summer awayAlice Mainwood with permission for varsity

And so, I don’t think that ruthlessly picking ourselves apart and deciding on a long list of things to change about ourselves is a good way to see in the New Year. If you’re going to wake up on the 1st with a hangover after getting in from a New Year’s party at 4am, then of course resolutions of star-spangled sleep schedules and 7am exercise routines are already out the window – and good riddance! We set ourselves up for an annual, unnecessary and inevitable defeat. If we are to view the New Year as a fresh start, then let’s at least start on a good note. I do get it; there’s room for self-improvement. But let’s not look back solely to resolve to do better.

Despite not really buying into the notion of anyone becoming a newer or better version of themselves just because it’s January, let alone myself, I really do enjoy New Years. I just wish we viewed it as a celebration of our last year, or perhaps as a chance to optimistically anticipate our next one. It’d be far too easy to look back on this year with bitterness. I could indeed resolve to do better at all three of my traditional resolutions.

Upon returning to the UK to accept my place at Cambridge, I once again shot myself in the ‘chronically busy’ footAlice Mainwood with permission for varsity

I am not more organised, as evidenced by my 2022 planner joining its ancestors from the last five years, once again with about three weeks’ worth of pages filled in. I am still chronically busy – see the summer spent backpacking across Europe on the hunt for the best tiramisu on the continent. And as for the savings account, well, see the above. I failed at my resolutions.

On top of that, this year has been by no means perfect. There’s a quiet, but quite certainly tragic nostalgia for a time before moving out, having to take care of yourself, and understanding the suffering this year has brought.

“For fear of saying, I’m young – I’ll worry about all that later, I’ll simply say again, what’s the point?”

So, I should write this year off? Say: “Oh well – New Year, new me”? Why should I? There’s no need to resolve to do better. I can look back and be grateful for the opportunities that have kept me so chronically busy, and, of course, those that have kept my savings account so humble. And to think that in succeeding in my resolutions I’d have missed out on all of that tiramisu. I’m happier as I am.

Upon returning to the UK to accept my place at Cambridge, I once again shot myself in the ‘chronically busy’ foot. Simultaneously, though, I fulfilled a childhood dream I’d worked so hard for. Indeed, it is this childhood dream we can blame for my failure in my ‘get more sleep’ resolution.

Amid quite a turbulent year, there has been so much beauty. Looking back now, I think of how perfect everything felt spending my 18th birthday surrounded by so many people I love. I think of that nostalgic feeling of coming-of-age, and saying goodbye to my school. How free and at peace I felt backpacking my summer away, and the feeling of hugging my family again when I got home.


Mountain View

There’s the rest of my life to try the corporate world – this summer, I’m slowing down

How excited my dog was to see me at the train station. That funny self-consciousness of moving to uni, and then all the surrealism of the gowns, the moment I signed Caius’ matriculation book, and then the anticipatory agitation before my first supervision. The poignance of going home after my first Michaelmas term, saying goodbye to my friends I’ve made here, and then the euphoria of being reunited with my friends at home. How happy it made my inner child to finally be able to spend a proper Christmas with my grandparents again.

How lucky I am to have lived a year of such love and experience.

I do think that the New Year is the perfect time for reflection, but reflection doesn’t have to be self-criticism. Instead, let’s try and look back at 2022 for all of its blessings, and look forward to 2023 with optimism.