It just seems like yesterday when we were worried that the Y2K bug might render all our systems useless. Remember the time when we thought the world might be coming to an end as the Mayans had prophesied? But we survived them all, come a long way ahead and are now entering 2019.

Hmm… a brand new year!

It’s time for people, party and… pressure! The pressure of making resolutions, finding partners to kiss at the stroke of midnight, getting a brand new life in the coming year and so on.

It’s interesting to note that humans needed to categorize time as early as in the Neolithic period. And from the Bronze age on, we have been using one calendar or the other. So, maybe there is an innate human need to compartmentalize time into periods. And when we transition from one period to another, it triggers a necessity to reflect, curse (but, of course!), celebrate and plan.

We make grand promises to ourselves of turning over a new leaf, dropping to half our body size and climbing mountains when we don’t even walk to the grocer. And this way we set ourselves up for miserable failure. No wonder at the end of the year, many of us feel disgruntled instead of hopeful.

We don’t have to do this for 2019.

In fact, we need a new system of looking at the New Year.

So, we at NewCampus decided to take matters into our own hands. In 2017, we gave you a way to Get SMART, the NewCampus way. This year, we have chalked out a simple but what we hope will be an effective way to ring in the new and ring out the old. Here we go!

Say “no” to resolutions and “yes” to accessions

No, an accession is not a new miracle cure for pimples.

Neither is it the mantra of 2019.

Resolutions, as we mentioned, are way too grand. It’s as painful as growing all your bones overnight (ask Harry Potter, if you don’t believe us!) We believe in a more gradual process of growth.

Accessions are not rapid. They are small steps that you ascend to get to the goal you want to achieve. Unlike resolutions, you have a path here and not just a destination.

And so, we decided to adopt ‘Accessions’ this year.

For instance, Nisha who takes care of our community wanted to read more. However, instead of making that a resolution, she decided to take up the Read Harder 2019 Challenge to “explore different kinds of books”. The challenge offers a set of 24 tasks (an average of 2 per month) to complete. Each task helps you read books on a different genre. One of the challenges in the task list is to read a book of manga. Nisha is excited to do this since she “would usually never feel compelled to read a book like that otherwise.”

Kassidy, our Head of Startups & Curriculum Experience didn’t really intend to become a digital nomad last year. She knew she wanted to travel and so she planned one trip at a time. This resulted in her living in 11 cities over 2018! Not just that, she met so many incredible people from all walks of life, ate incredible food, learned to become way more flexible, gained time-management skills, and saw some pretty incredible places!

Kassidy seen exploring Hatta, outside Dubai


How did planning one-step-at-a-time turn out to be a better idea?

Instead of declaring that you are going to read more, you are choosing a specific path to read more. You are breaking that path down into small tasks that you’ll implement in order to get to your goal.

And as we know and Thornton Wilder put it so — “The happiness of life is made up of little things” :)

Stopping to smell the roses

We love what we do at NewCampus and work really hard in achieving our goals. But we all also take time out to do what really drives us in life as well.

Oftentimes you hear so many people complaining that they are too busy with the humdrum of everyday life. They forget the dreams they once held dear or the lifestyle they desired. Instead, they let routines get the better of them.

We, as a team, always try to encourage each other in taking breaks or chalking off time from our schedules to do what we are passionate about. This year, we hope to do that more.

Isan, our Chief Happiness Officer, in true spirit to her role spent a weekend spreading happiness beyond the confines of NewCampus. She, along with friends from her coworking space worked on improving the infrastructure of the village of Malbago, Bantayan Island, near Cebu, Philippines. From cementing a public walkway and building a bamboo hut for the villagers to painting murals on the library, Isan and her friends took time out from their busy schedules to focus on helping a community that needed support. This is something that warms our heart! And we hope to engage in community service as a team on our next trip.


However, not all our pause buttons need to be of a higher cause. Some are for personal causes.

For instance, our hardworking cofounders Fei and Will are taking some time out during this holiday season to visit loved ones in Singapore. Isan plans to drink less beer so that she can have more energy to go on cool adventures.

Michelle, our Full stack designer had a busy year rebranding QLC to NewCampus. In 2019, she hopes to pursue more personal projects and sketch regularly.

I, on the other hand, plan to write for one hour every day so that I complete my stories and get published in 2019. I have waited way too long!

Away from the black mirror

Many of us have a small strip covering our phone and laptop cameras after getting freaked out by the popular Netflix series, Black Mirror. Well, who can blame us? It seems like we are always carrying it around; from the pot to a party, it’s become our constant companion.

But how about we all get some off time from our screens? On NewCampus team trips, we slot time to explore the city together and get some downtime from work and our screens. If any of us is going on a vacation, we mark ourselves as “OFF”. We inform the team at least four weeks in advance and delegate work so the cogs keep moving even if we are away. Most of us use this vacation time to stay away from our laptops and phones as much as possible.

Team pic on our day trip from Shanghai to the water town Xitang in 2017

I, for one, try to minimize laptop use on the weekends. It’s a simple policy that has helped me read 45 books this year and counting.

Some other tricks to employ to reduce screen time is to set timers (Pomodoro tracker, anyone?), restrict app usage (Facebook and Instagram help you set a limit!) or pick up a physical activity (like a sport, a DIY hobby, etc.) that will keep you away from the screen for a few hours.

Eddy, our Product Manager plays football twice a week and claims he feels that those are the happiest four hours of his week, away from devices with nothing on his mind other than “playing and just having fun with my friends”.

Lily, our VP of Growth begins each day mindfully. She starts her morning with yoga at home for around 30 minutes, guided by YouTube videos and then hits the gym for a workout.

Matt who heads Partnerships takes time out to cycle once a week. He also advises to wake up early in the morning and go to the gym. He guarantees that it keeps one energized for the rest of the day.

Isan took it one step further and wrote about giving oneself a break from the digital world

!The moral of this story is that we as a race are super connected every second of our lives and a little off-time will do us all some good :)

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These three simple things have worked out for us. Maybe these will do the trick or maybe you have to devise your own simple tenets to follow this New Year. Whatever be the case, we at Team NewCampus wish you a wonderful 2019 mindful of your dreams, health and happiness!

March 21, 2019