Better Late Than Never

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Welcome to our fashionably late New Year’s resolution article. Because who needs January to start fresh? Let’s embrace February as the month of renewed determination! Leave your non-achievements, disappointments and failures in 2023, and start the year right with these sure-fire resolutions:

  1. Stop procrastinating!

See what I did there? Yes, I may have procrastinated writing this article, but no more! And now that I’ve learned the error of my ways, here’s my groundbreaking advice for you: Step one: make elaborate to-do lists. Step two: meticulously organize said lists into categories. Step three: promptly ignore everything and binge watch episodes of your favorite anime. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are your responsibilities. Embrace the chaos, my fellow procrastinators, and let’s tackle tomorrow... or the next day. Whenever, really. And while you’re at it…

  1. Seize the day! 

Time is finite. Instead of doing nothing (aka sleep) for eight hours, stay up for four more hours to increase your productivity! Now you’ll have four extra hours to do… I don’t know, something! Imagine all the things you could do – read a science paper for fifteen minutes, get bored and start making slides for a lab meeting, get distracted by social media after 10 minutes of that, doom-scroll through your cursed Instagram reels algorithm, watch “cave diving expeditions gone wrong” videos on YouTube… Can’t stay awake? Drink more coffee! Wait a minute … 

  1. Save money! 

Here at Synapse, we strongly believe that the only way to save money is to drink less coffee. That’s right: the root cause of your non-existent savings is totally not because you’re underpaid, it’s because you’ve been wasting so much money on that daily cup of joe from Peet’s, or that barista-grade, flavored latte at SPRO. You can save a whopping $195 a month just by abstaining from caffeine! Why bargain for a better contract when you could simply take away the morning cuppa that brings you joy? Because…

  1. Work-life balance is for the weak 

Having a great work ethic is key to accomplishing your professional goals this year, and that includes getting to work early (e.g. 8 am) and working till late (e.g. 11 pm). That way, you’ll get way more things done! The longer you stay at work, the more productive you get – it’s scientifically proven but I can’t find the citation to this right now — I’ll get to that later (uh oh, did I just blow my first resolution?). To cut your commute time to work, set up an air mattress in your lab’s break room and take showers in the public bathroom. If you’d like to take it further, give up your apartment and sleep in the lab. And think of this as two resolutions in one — you’ll save so much on rent! Now all that being said, we know you’re not a robot, so…

  1. Take a break

It is normal to feel tired after a long day at work, especially when you’ve cut out coffee and slept for four hours on a lab mattress. So take a break! You deserve it. Take an hour to travel to your favorite eatery and the next two hours leisurely munching and gossiping with a friend. Thought you were supposed to save money by eating out less, you say? Ignore that – let yourself have one nice thing for today, and for the next six days, too. Then why not take a nap at work on your conveniently situated bed? You deserve it! And now that your entire life is revolving around work, maybe it’s time to…

  1. Pick up a new hobby

With the substantial sum of money you’re saving on coffee and rent (shh… no one has to know how much you spent on lunch), spend some on a hobby that you’ll likely give up in a few weeks! Ideally, the activity can alleviate mental stress from work, but in reality, the act of spending money on something you think you might do is sufficient to relieve that stress. Some ideas for you: knitting needles and yarn that you’ll start a scarf with but will quickly end up accumulating dust on a corner of your desk because you’ll be too busy to finish; a mini watercolor set you plan to bring to Dolores Park, but never do because of the hassle; some vinyl records of your favorite albums even though you’ll never invest in a turntable. The possibilities are limitless!


In the end, making New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to set personal goals , but be kind to yourself and be realistic. Take one step at a time in making changes to your habits and lifestyle – change usually does not happen overnight. If you do want to make some resolutions reality, hold yourself accountable and revisit these resolutions regularly, so that you could try and meet them again. Being a graduate student is hard enough, you’re doing good!