By Nicole Goodman
This past week was Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the New Year. Around the same time every year we discuss what we can do to improve our values, lifestyle, attitude, and structure of the upcoming year. How does this relate to our Jewish youth? Around the same time of this sacred holiday, kids and teens alike go through a similar process of starting a new school year. A lot of kids end up in the transfer stages of switching schools, some transfer from elementary to middle to high school to college. School can cause a lot of stress especially when going to a new school, but how do we take the traditions of Rosh Hashanah and apply it in our academic life?
During the High Holidays, Jews cleanse their soul and get the chance to start fresh with an unburdened conscience and the intention of doing better in the coming year, just as students start on a clean slate with new teachers, classes, and grades. Usually once students get in the habit of not turning work in on time, coming to school late, procrastinating, or just not trying their hardest it becomes hard to stop this cycle. This year I have decided to take all the traditions of high holidays and apply it to my education. As a sophomore in college I often get stuck in my ways and find it hard to dig myself out. After realizing the correlation between the Day of Judgment and the new school year I am motivated to start the year off right, starting with T’Shuvah. I have to write down all the wrongs I have made in the past school year. For me and many others this includes: procrastinating on many of my assignments, not taking the time to study, not making school my first priority, not turning work in on time or at all, not giving full respect to my professors, and not trying as hard as I can. To make this right I have to seek forgiveness during the ten days of awe. I can do this by making sure to correct all of these things as best as I can and make a habit out of doing them. This alone will start the New Year on a good note and prepare for the year to come.
I believe putting together the high holidays with school is extremely helpful. Kids get overwhelmed by the new atmosphere of their school life and often get intimidated and stressed. By starting out on a clean slate and throwing all your past mistakes away, it is easier to set new goals for the school year without being held back by past negative habits.