As you might have read in my posts about the fall semester, the last four months have been crazy, busy, but ultimately beneficial, productive, and fulfilling, I think. I had quite a few goals written down at the beginning of the semester, and I have to say, looking back at at it all, I'm pretty proud (overall, anyway) at where I ended up. For the most part. But we'll get to that. Now to go through each goal and give myself a grade...
Read The Bible Every Day
This goal ended up being up and down, as it has been through my entire life, but I am proud to say that these last four months have been my absolute most consistent months of studying God's word that I've ever had. Every morning on my way to school (and on my way back from school) I would listen to the When We Understand The Text podcast and have the Word of God preached to me in a passionate and inspiring way. I went through the entirety of Philippians and most of Colossians this semester, and dug so deep into the context of the verses that I will never look at the books the same way again.
Every Thursday, the InterVarsity group that meets at my college inspired me and challenged me with Scripture and what it told us of the attributes of God, and those lessons will never leave me. No, I did not have a perfect semester spiritually, but I have grown more than I ever have before in Christ and I will never be the same because of it. Yes, there was sin, and lots of it, this semester, but God's grace is more powerful than any of it, and I have been so blessed.
I'm going to give myself an A- bordering on a B+, because I definitely didn't hold perfectly to my goal, but with how much I've grown and matured this semester, I think it's fair enough to give myself a low A. Not that I was doing any of the work, really. But I just managed to be less stubborn than I usually am.
Finish The First Draft of To Look Skyward
This didn't happen, unfortunately. And though November was a great success, as I will talk about later on, December was not so much, and overall, I'm not much closer to finishing the novel than I was a year ago. But I am closer, and this year, 2016, will be the year I finally finish this work. I give myself a D here, but with high hopes for the future.
Be Consistent About Writing Every Day
I did not write every day, that much is true. But like my Bible reading, I have matured as a writer a lot this semester, and that practice will only make it easier to be consistent in the future. My creative writing class was a great help in keeping me motivated to work on writing projects, and I wrote some fiction and non-fiction that I'm really proud of, some of which I'll be posting on this website in the month to come. I'll give myself an A here, even though December lacked much writing, because I was so consistent the rest of the semester.
Finish NaNoWriMo For The Second Year In A Row
I didn't do this either. But as with lots of the goals that I set for myself, they weren't entirely realistic, and it was more the spirit behind them that mattered more than anything. And because of that, I'm going to give myself an A here as well. I wrote consistently pretty much every day, sometimes three thousand words in a day, to get myself to almost 40,000 words by the end of the month. And with all of the school craziness going on, I am extremely proud of that. Go me!
Get Good Grades
I, unfortunately, did not get a 4.0 GPA for the semester. I ended up getting a 3.7, for a 3.8 GPA overall for both semesters I've been at college. I got an A in Creative Writing and Ancient History (of which I was positive I would get a good grade), and an A in Quantitative Reasoning (which was not a shock per se, but a welcome little validation, seeing as it is the last math class I'll ever have to take). But I got a B+ in Physical Geography and it was a five-credit class, so that lowered the GPA a bit. I don't have a real good excuse for the grade--I mean, it was the only class that I missed a session of (two, actually), and the class with the biggest amount of information to digest, but a lot of it comes down to the final exam, I think. I don't think I studied as well as I should have, and that ended up coming back to bite me.
But I'm not terribly bummed about it, to be honest. A 3.8 GPA overall is great, and I'm proud of it. And with all of the craziness that this semester brought, all of the productivity I managed to cram into four months, all of the growth I've gone through as a person, I am willing to accept a B+ in that class. As I said at the beginning of the semester, I'm more focused on actually learning the subject matter than "getting good grades" per se, and I think I took a lot away from that class. And so I'm gonna give myself an A- here and call it even. There's always next semester.
Apply What I'm Learning To My Writing
So, obviously, my creative writing class had the most influence on my writing this semester, and so I definitely applied what I had been learning there, but I've also discovered lots of interesting tidbits from my other classes that I've locked away in my brain for another time. There's nothing in particular that jumps out at me that I know for sure I'm going to put in a story, but if I had to point to one of the classes that helped me the most in terms of fuel for my creative fire, it would have to be ancient history. History has always been the best inspiration for speculative fiction for me, and reading and hearing of the battles, political intrigues, and societies of the ancient world has given me many ideas for later use. I'll give myself a B here, but there are high hopes for improvement in the future.
Be More Involved As A Positive Influence At UW-Rock County
I'll admit, I assumed that I would be doing a lot more of this at the beginning of the semester than I ended up doing. But I definitely wouldn't call this goal a complete failure. I did influence people, and I think for the better. I made people laugh, I got to know new people, and I got to see what my influence from the last semester had been on some of the students. And that was awesome. I'll give myself a B here. Can't wait for next semester to try and up my game here.
Write A Love Song For A Couple's Anniversary
I was about to say that I hadn't actually finished this in time, but then I remembered that I actually did. I wrote almost every lyric for the song (at least, a first draft of the lyrics) on New Year's Eve while I was at work that night. If that isn't last second, I don't know what is. And I'm actually pretty proud of this song, even though it was a long time in coming. I had trouble starting it time and time again, but with a little creative push from a friend, I ended up churning out something that I think will be awesome. I'll keep y'all updated on how it all goes, since the song is due in the hands of the couple in about a week, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to put the song up here, even though I'm recording it. Either way, I'll give myself a B on this, since it was technically due in January anyway, and I got the first draft done in December.
More Home Recordings
This, unfortunately, didn't really end up happening. I did end up releasing a live demo of a song I wrote a year or so ago back in November, but it wasn't really what I had in mind when I wrote down the goal. F for me.
Writing More Songs In General
I didn't do this nearly as much as I hoped I would, and I don't think I actually finished any songs...but I did start the process, and I did like the pieces I worked on, so this goal isn't a complete failure. D here.
The Christian Artist
My podcast The Christian Artist was a great success this semester! Consistently released episodes, not necessarily every week, but definitely most of them, and I'm proud of the content we created. I'm gonna give myself an A- here.
This didn't happen, even though I wanted it to. But as I look back on my goals, this was not a very realistic one to have. I didn't have time to record vlogs, and I was too focused on other media to really do it the way I would have wanted to. For that reason, I'm only giving myself a C. Also, because I did come up with some cool ideas for some videos, even if I didn't execute on them. As I said, unrealistic goals.
Even though this technically isn't a part of any of the goals sections on the website, it was definitely one of my goals this semester to nail down a good first draft of the rules for the role-playing game some friends and I are designing. And I think we succeeded. There are still things to iron out, for sure, and rules that are undoubtedly broken, but we have been playing a campaign with the rules we came up with and enjoying it, so I'm gonna call that a success. A here.
So, given all of my grades, and giving each goal the weight I think it should have, my final tally for the semester is a B+. Not too shabby, all things considering. I had a lot of high aspirations this semester, and I think I met most of them, at least in the spirit of what I was hoping for, if not the exact specifics.
Now I have to get together a set of goals for this next semester. I should have them updated on the website (and with a blog post to boot) in a week or so. I'm not going to make any New Year's Resolutions, at least on the website, simply because I've found my brain works better with smaller chunks of time to assign goals to. And I think, this time, I'm going to make all of my goals very acheivable and much more realistic. Now that I know what I'm capable of if I put my mind to it, and the capacity I'll have for extra projects outside of school, I should be able to gauge it better. Look for that post in the weeks to come!
Good luck on all your own goals and aspirations, and thanks for reading. Happy New Year!