With the end of my freshman year and the soon-to-be start of my sophomore year, I've recently been looking back on what I accomplished in my first year of college and what I've learned from both my mistakes and my successes. My freshmen year was a wonderful mess of growth and change, filled with new friendships, new life lessons, and a new love for microwave ready ramen. This list is a list of goals or hopes for myself for this upcoming school year that will help me improve on my daily life, as well as my general college experiences. It's important to note that these goals aren't necessarily specific to every college sophomore, but they certainly are to me.
1. Find the perfect study spot.
As any college student knows, studying can make or break you, and a big part of studying well or studying successfully is all about the environment you do it in. I'm lucky enough like many college students to have a beautiful college campus, one with many nooks and crannies perfect for podcast listening or flashcard drills. Sometimes college students like myself can fall into the trap of attempting to study, sleep, and socialize all in the same place - our dorm rooms. I've noticed that this is certainly ineffective when it comes to actively studying or even relaxing. So while I'll get the chance to explore and get to know my campus a little better, I will also hopefully find a study spot that can help me feel both comfortable and productive, just by being in the right spot. Maybe I'll find the perfect napping corner, too!
2. Prioritize my mental health.
One thing I discovered my freshman year is that mental health is the real deal and is just as important a part of a person as their physical health. I did also realize that those two can be especially linked, just as healthy eating can impact and be incorporated into exercising well. Mental health is a pretty big spectrum for a goal, so I suppose I'll specify just a little more - to rest. Appreciating rest and making time for it not only when it's drastically needed, but in average daily life routines. I'll rest by prioritizing sleep and making time for technology breaks and school studying breaks, but also by taking the time to just sit sometimes and absorb the world around me.
3. Incorporate more time management.
As any busy college student, or frankly person in general, the busier you are, the more things can start to feel a little bit out of control. By the end of my freshman year I had gone through more than the average number of college credits, taken on two leadership roles, and joined over five clubs… all at once! While this definitely was a great experience, it also was a very busy one with very little sleep involved. For my sophomore year, I want to focus a little more on prioritizing what's really important and managing those priorities in an organized fashion, most likely with a color coded planner incorporated, of course.
4. Keep a budget.
This goal was one I had for my freshman year as well, but again, it feels too important to not have and keep up with. Money is a big part of school, pertaining to classes, housing, food, books, and the occasional Netflix subscription. Budgeting last year felt overwhelming at times. After wading through the many resources of books, podcasts, Youtube videos, and app referrals on app referrals, I finally figured out a budget that works for me. My goal is to keep up with my budget, and even if there are little mess ups, or fall behinds, I'll stick it out.
5. Learn to say "No."
This goal, depending on how you look at it, can have just as much impact on mental health as exercise or healthy rest, and it certainly does with me. Sometimes saying the word "no" and knowing when and how to use it can be like trying to speak another language, and it is nowhere near as simple as French 101. "No," is a powerful word and an impactful one. It can mean the difference between a dinner out with friends or a few extra hours studying. It can also mean a lighter load of responsibilities in a club on campus or a study group for chemistry. I certainly struggle with saying no to myself sometimes when I might add just a little too much to my plate, but I also struggle with using it against others and thus can sometimes make myself the always ready volunteer. However, just like prioritizing rest and my mental health, I also need to prioritize saying "No," and knowing that by saying "No" it translates to a "Yes" for myself - yes to less all nighters, yes to healthier meals, yes to more time for myself and lazy minded Netflix binges, and yes to my priorities staying my priorities. Maybe by saying "No," to some things, I also learn the right times to say "Yes."
6. Nurture important friendships.
My sophomore year goals all seem to pertain to a similar theme, especially this one. My freshman year was all about trying new things and exploring the brand new world of college. This year my goals are a little more minded in the direction of growing and encouraging the things I found and discovered to be important to me. Friendships and relationships can be hard and they can require a lot of time and effort, but the right ones definitely deserve it. This last year, I found some truly wonderful people and I also found an even greater appreciation for people already in my life. This year I want to take the time for those friendships and relationships, like a two way street. I know those people on the other end will too, because true friendships and great relationships go both ways.
Bonus: Cook something outside of the microwave… like in an oven.
With a list full of recognizing and growing the things I found to love, maybe for this year I could still add at least one goal that's a little newness themed. I could even learn to cook something, that is other than ramen… But again, who knows, there's always junior year!