With the New Year come new resolutions. Or better yet, the same incomplete promises made year after year. The same hopes of losing 15 pounds. The same determination to donate more to charity every month.

However, as teenage students, January 1 tends to be a very artificial “New Year.” Our year began five months ago when the new school year began. Still, January 1 presents us with a time to reflect back on how our year has been so far and allows us to think about what we want to do with the second half of our school year.

To begin with, I think it is safe to say that no matter where you live or what school you go to, a clique problem is present. I am not implying that high schools are scenes straight out of the movie “Mean Girls,” with the jocks ruling the school and the geeks stuck at math competitions all weekend long, but maybe it is time to notice that one kid sitting alone. What is the harm in approaching that “weird kid?” Isn’t it time to stop attributing to our peers the typical stereotypes we have learned from the teen flicks? You never know, that kid sitting alone could end up being the most successful student to graduate from your class. Or maybe your best friend or that one person you end up spending the rest of your life with.

When you measure the hours, there are days when we spend more time at school than we do at home. Or perhaps it just feels that way. That being said, school should be a place of comfort, a place where everyone always feels safe. Personal problems should not be brought there. We should all make a conscious effort to create a dividing line between what goes on at school and what stays off premise. Leave your beef with your enemies at home. Don’t make school a violent or uncomfortable place that students dread walking into everyday. The eight hours a day, five days a week spent at school should be enjoyable ones.

Now halfway through the year, hopefully we have realized what is important, both in school and in our everyday lives. What do we need to prioritize at this point in our year? As the end of 2013 comes into sight, we need to keep in mind that our grades for these years matter more than ever. We need to remember to pick and choose our battles. Is that one boy worth losing a friendship over? (On the other hand we need to realize that some friendships just aren’t meant to be.) Is that one party worth failing that huge Chemistry test? At the same time we need to remember, every once in a while, to occasionally enjoy ourselves and get our mind off the pressures. We can’t let petty things consume us. We need to remember what is important.

For my 2014 resolutions, I don’t want to focus on transforming myself into a new person. For all of us it’s really just a matter of trying to better ourselves as people and to make our lives and the lives around us more useful, positive and fulfilling. New year, better me.