New Year, New Goals

by Tiffany Olszuk, Advancement Office Intern

Tiffany Olszuk is a 2012 graduate of Bryn Mawr College and a resident of New Jersey. When she is not assisting with development projects, she enjoys coaching swimming, singing, and reading positive psychology or sport psychology research.

It’s that time of year when people begin to reflect on the ups and downs of the past year and map out their road in the New Year. For some, this means generating New Year’s resolutions. Whether they are made to be broken or not, it is my opinion that the act of engaging in quiet reflection and focusing thoughts has great potential to generate a sense of optimism or renewed energy going into a new year.

As someone who recently joined the George School staff, I find myself reflecting on all the ways that I have been welcomed by staff, students, and faculty since my first round of interviews and campus tour just a few short months ago. My collective experiences at George School thus far have inspired me to set a few George School related goals before the end of the academic year. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I thought I would share a few of my goals—perhaps others share my sentiments!

Goal 1: Attend another Quaker meeting (perhaps more than one!).

  • Prior to working at George School, my experiences in a Quaker community were limited to studying contemplative traditions at Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College. I dedicated one semester to exploring contemplative traditions in both the United States and Japan and had the opportunity to study the role of silence and mindfulness in Quakerism as well as experience my first Quaker meeting. It was during this time that I realized the value of mindful activities in focusing thoughts and energy or reducing daily stresses. I attended Quaker meeting at George School in November and I was immediately transported back to my collegiate experiences with Quakerism.  The act of being still and engaging in a spiritual community was so centering that I am making it a goal to attend another meeting this year.

Goal 2:  Enjoy the many beautiful spaces on campus.

  • In the two months that I have been on staff, I have seen South Lawn transform into a beautiful canvas with pink, gold, and red hues at sundown (ideal for meditation!) to a sports arena, to an icy winter scene in which I can hear students bursting with laughter or the occasional sound of a snowball whipping through the air. I can’t wait to cheer on the Cougars at sporting events in the spring and take in the peaceful scenery within the next few months.
  • The Anderson Library is another location on my “to visit” list. I distinctly remember stepping into the Library for the first time during my campus tour and being amazed by the floor-to-ceiling windows. It makes me wonder whether George School students draw inspiration for their writing assignments just from being in that space…I know it would inspire me!  I hope to spend some time writing there in the future or perhaps participate in the weekly mindfulness practices held there.

Goal 3: Have more conversations with George School students.

  • I occasionally run into students via advancement office co-ops or brief dashes to the post-office or bookstore. Each time that I do, I learn more about George School and I am reminded of how each student makes unique and meaningful contributions to the George School community.  Whether I am learning about students’ athletic interests and community service activities, or trying to figure how the flamingo trend started (or where they will appear next!)I enjoy these brief interactions, as they  often  motivate me to want to do more to help improve the George School experience through my work.

These are just a few goals that I’m looking forward to working towards in 2014. I would be curious to see what other  members of the George School community are aspiring to in order  to “let their lives speak” in the new year. I invite you to share or comment below!

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