With students singing those back to school blues as they return to college after their winter breaks, I am sure I am one of the many individuals wondering, “What even are my New Year’s Resolutions this year? How can I even keep up with them with my busy schedule away from home?” What I have realized is that there’s no better time nor place than at the beginning of the year away, back in college, to set new goals. Yes… It’s true that college presents new academic and social pressures than high school, making it difficult for students to carry out their goals away from the comfort of their homes and high schools. However, here are 5 ways to reconcile New Year’s Resolutions with back to school challenges:
- Use this back to school period to reach that goal of being more organized with your work! A college setting is an excellent environment to set new organizational goals with the plethora of libraries, study rooms, coffee shops, and other study spaces that are often available on campuses. I have found that getting out of bed away from my dorm has a number of benefits to organization. For example, as I leave my dorm to head to a library, I create a to do list of things I want to accomplish at the library, and how long I ideally want to spend on each task. Homework can become overwhelming in college with numerous papers to write, readings to complete, and tests to study for. Therefore, it is important to keep up-to-date with deadlines and due dates. The new year and new quarter will help you reach this goal.
- If you want to earn better grades, a new year and semester is a great time to try! Starting with a fresh, clean slate will eliminate any discouragement you may have experienced in the previous semester. Also, learning from the mistakes you made last semester will help you make improvements for this second chance! For example, if you found problem areas in a particular subject, try to take new classes that you find may be GPA boosters. On the other hand, if you cannot escape such sources, as they are part of general requirements, seek help quickly! Take advantage of office hours with professors and tutors available on campus. From my own experience, acting quickly on subjects I do not understand help to improve my grades immensely.
- Losing weight and eating healthily are actually attainable goals in college! There are a plethora of resources including gyms, healthy restaurants, and dining halls with healthy options that can replace the temptations of eating unhealthily. According to the Huffington post blog on December 6, 2017, writer Jean Fain dispels the myth of the “freshman 15,” and notes, “The average college student, both male and female, only gains about three pounds the first year, according to the study. To be exact, freshmen gals gain 2.4 pounds; freshmen guys gain 3.4. That’s what research scientists Jay Zagorsky and Patricia Smith concluded in December’s Social Science Quarterly after analyzing data on 17- to 20-year-olds from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, a survey of 7,000-plus Americans.” With this in mind, getting in shape is not so far from reach as previously thought in college.
- There are ways to make money in college as well! On-campus jobs are always being offered, and there are mentors available such as academic advisors to counsel you on time management and your field of interest. Also, your very own professors may be looking for research assistants who share similar areas of interest. Jobs can include: tutoring, working as a barista, being a teacher assistant, helping as a research assistant, and a number of other roles! There are even other ways to make money that do not involve giving up time away from your studies, such as selling notes and textbooks. With an open mind and a little bit of ingenuity, making money becomes a realistic resolution in college.
- And finally, this may be an overlooked resolution, but meet new people and help others! I have found that the best friendships I've made have been created outside of the classroom through extracurricular activities. Get involved in intramural sports, an accapella group, a sorority, the school newspaper, and the several other enjoyable activities outside of schoolwork. Also, give back to your community! Community service opportunities exist on many campuses, and you can find fun ways to help an individual in need. Though college of course presents its own stresses on students, we mustn't forget about the struggles of those who may be living right by us.