Words and Intentions for 2019

What is your goal for this year?

January 27, 2019

Members of the UVenus community share their words and intentions for 2019:

Janni Aragon, University of Victoria, BC, Canada

2018 was the year that I focused on my health. I took a medical leave and worked on getting better. As I told my one of my doctors, my body just said no. I am back to work, but in the interim, the job category that I and several others had no longer exists. I am transitioning from five years as an academic administrator back to full-time teaching track and welcome this change. 2019 will be the year of new beginnings—plus I resolve to take better care of myself! Related to this, my mantra is the strategic no. No thank you to being too busy.

Mary Churchill, Boston, MA, USA

My theme for 2019 is Create, Share, and Take Care. This means saying yes to writing as a form of creating, sharing more of myself in multiple ways, and a self-care focus on yoga, meditation, sleep, and healthy eating. Even though it is challenging, I have decided to let go of other ways of creating this year. I want a deeper focus on writing as a creative space and I’m using yoga and meditation to help me focus my creative efforts back to my writing.

My big win of 2018 was developing writing, fiction reading, yoga practice, and meditation as daily habits. It took me all year to get there but by October, I had been able to build these habits.

Fascination was my word for 2018 and it remains my word for 2019 but while 2018’s fascination was about ideas, art, and more abstract things, in 2019, the focus is more fully on people, a general fascination with humanity and what makes us uniquely human. I feel the loss of our humanity on a daily basis and a strong desire to pay more attention to celebrating the positive qualities of humanity in myself and others and that requires that I pay attention and develop a fascination (and appreciation) for the people around me. So, maybe my phrase is “Fascination and Appreciation.”

Rachel Ellett, Beloit College, WI, USA

2018 was a year in which I was forced to face up to the realities of higher education in the U.S. In particular, the challenges for a small liberal arts college struggling with enrollment. While it feels like a deficit based scenario, I want to enter 2019 thinking about it in terms of opportunities. There will be a lot of change, and I hope the changes make my work more relevant to a broader audience of students. At the same time, I also want to be selective and strategic in my engagement with these big picture questions. I still want to work on my own research and teaching. So  . . . here are my words: “strategic institutional engagement” and “steady focus” on my research.

Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, Evanston, IL, USA

I have entered the second half of my third year as director of my office.  My greatest anxiety in applying for and taking the job came from my comparative lack of experience as a manager.  As I look back on my first three years, I realize I engaged in a concerted three year plan that I failed to tout either to my team or to campus partners out of insecurity and inexperience.  Year one was division and efficiency of labor; year two was communications and outreach; year three is embracing data and assessment. I’m pleased that I can finally see this long term strategic development for myself, and I want to articulate it more clearly for others. Phrase? “Strategic Confidence.”

Bonnie Stewart, Windsor, ON, Canada

I made the transition last year from long-term staff and sessional to tenure track, so...that was my big win, and I feel extraordinarily lucky. What it means - and why it matters so much - is that I’m now in a position of being able to look ahead a whole year and feel like I have some agency in planning and choosing what I do. This stability - even with its learning curves - means I’m actively working to let go of habits built over years of precarity, and trying to develop a more strategic approach to life, personally and professionally. I can now plan for conferences and schedule parts of my year for research and writing focus, because I know what my teaching schedule will be...and I can plan - and fund - family vacations and things that have generally had to be piggy-backed onto work travel. It’s a wonderful thing. If I had a word to guide me as I adjust to this new state of being - and the pressures that accompany it - it’d be “goal.” I have the opportunity to shift from a state of “yes” to a more strategic and agential state, and I’m learning, with gratitude.

Anna S. CohenMiller, Astana, Kazakhstan

This year has emerged abruptly and intensely. Last year, I focused on “momentum” as a way to emphasize my academic work and settling into life with young children in Kazakhstan. The momentum in our university allowed us to grow our Consortium of Gender Scholars and achieve the first steps in gender mainstreaming, through a gender audit. During this time, my children developed deeper friendships and a greater sense of home in Astana. Also, I was confronted during this time with the impact of my work as a mother and scholar with The Motherscholar Project. These three aspects of traditional academic work, mothering, and motherscholar advocacy have led me to the beginning of 2019. So, for this year, I see the challenge and opportunity of embracing change and public scholarship in an open-hearted, light way. I see these changes for myself, and also encourage others to join me. And while I don’t tend to write poetry for public consumption, as an arts-based researcher, here is a first step towards public engagement:

light. what is light?

it is bright and bold

it is buoyant

It is weightless.

It allows for change, for movement

f   l o    a t i  n g

along the clouds

grounded. but not stuck

it is making changes, fighting changes, embracing changes

it is       letting         go

            F   l o   a t i   n g

                       a l o n g   the c l o u d s

grounded but not stuck

what is light?

feeling the energy from inside and out.

soft strong bright bold powerful.


F   l o    a t i  n g

letting               go

bright and bold



endlessly, centered

It is me.

It is you. It is us.

F   l o    a t i  n g.

letting               go

soft strong bright bold. powerful.


What are you saying yes to in 2019? What are you letting go of? What were your big wins in 2018? Regrets?

What are your intentions for 2019? What do you want to focus on? Is there a word or phrase that sums it  up for you?



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