As we head into the Chinese New Year celebrations for the Year of the Dog, it is important to remember that the holiday is not just a time to relax, enjoy the company of family and friends or travel to exotic or not so exotic ports of call. It is a time to refresh, remember and gear up for all that is to come in the months ahead.
Let’s take a moment though to reflect on what the Earth Dog may bring. One important thing for all of us to remember, no matter what sign we are, is to show empathy and tolerance toward those whom we meet to ensure our karmic balance. This is good advice, but it goes beyond that for those who are in the process of thinking ahead to schools they may attend in the future.
As previous posts have mentioned, schools and universities are looking to see the relevance in personal attributes and characteristics. As you think about your sense of purpose in the coming year, what aspects can you improve, how can you contribute to the betterment of those around you? As an Earth element year, this year may be marked by the growth of social issues, so what can you do and find a sense of purpose?
Over the holidays, take some time to reflect on your personal growth, how will applying to boarding school or university, help you not only be prepared for your career future (in uncertain times) but also set you on a course to be directly involved in improving the lives of those around you. One of the characteristics of the Dog sign is the importance of dialogue and solidarity – acceptance and tolerance of differences between people, races, cultures and other aspects of bringing people together in understanding. When selfishness, greed, and ignorance seem to be driving forces, it comes down to the individual creating change.
So as you look toward that betterment, where can you learn to develop those meaningful skills and attributes? Many schools today talk about Social Justice and character development while providing an education to be prepared for new opportunities in one’s career. Being aware of what the culture of a school is about will help you as you research schools. While a school may not directly talk about their culture, keywords in their materials – brochures, websites, etc… will give you a pretty good idea of what their school is really all about.
It is important to look beyond the home page to see and understand what a school offers. Check out the courses, required seminars and their topics, school and student life, and clubs and organizations. All of these will give you a sense of the purpose of what the school is hoping to develop within you. Remember, academic course offerings are not the only ways you learn and develop.
Every New Year whether it is the end of the Gregorian or Lunar calendar should be a time of introspection and forward thinking. That reflection, at this time of the year, should start small, with you on a personal level. What can you change about yourself? Where do you need to improve – personally, socially and academically? How can you change on those three levels – realistically? As you look forward, with exams looming – what do you need to do, now?
Remember, every day is a new day, and while New Year holidays bring their joys, it is up to you to take advantage of what is in front of you. Prepare, plan, and take action. You deserve it, and so do those around you. The best way to be prepared is to plan ahead, put a workable and reasonable action plan in place and follow it. But as you do so, think about how you can do your part in making this Year of the Dog better, not just for you. Engage in a cause that will make this year better for someone less fortunate than you.