As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, people across the globe make promises to themselves—promises to better themselves physically and mentally, to bring order to their lives, and to treat those around them with more courtesy and respect.
Beginning a new school year should not be any different; Instead, learn more, become better organized, and put your best foot forward with our top 10 academic New Year’s resolutions for the new school year. Sometimes, the smallest changes make the biggest difference.
How Students Can Prepare For The New School Year:
1. Eat Better
While this might sound more like a New Year’s resolution than an academic goal, it is important to eat healthy—especially during the school year. Students are apt to eat poorly as they rush to classes. The problem with this is that the candy bar at noon, the soda at 2 pm, and the burger after class adds up quickly.
Driving this force is the study that shows that poor eating habits can become addictive. CNN reports that scientists have found, “A new study in rats suggests that high-fat, high-calorie foods affect the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin. When rats consume these foods in great enough quantities, it leads to compulsive eating habits that resemble drug addiction” (Klein). Food is a source from which people gain energy to boost and brainpower and function. Eating fatty, high-caloric foods robs the body of much-needed nutrition. Whereas, a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can lead to a healthier body, which can result in fewer missed classes.
Making a mental note to improve eating habits is an important step to success in college. This tip is true for online students as well! Eating while watching TV or using the Internet is proven to promote overeating. In essence, your mind goes on autopilot; before you know it, that entire bowl of popcorn has been reduced to a few measly, un-popped, buttery kernels at the bottom of the bowl.
This also applies to the other great college activity – drinking. Going out to college night and dorm parties will definitely be a part of the tapestry that makes up your university memories. That said, don’t sabotage yourself by agreeing to go out before a big test or during a challenging week of deadlines. Alcohol, not just the hangover induced by it, makes you slower, sleepy, and unable to perform your best. Practice self-restraint so you’re able to balance a good academic career with fun college life.
Similarly to the aforementioned tip, this New Year’s resolution is a common standard seen after the holiday season ends. However, students should consider claiming this resolution for the new school year. Exercise promotes clear and positive brain function, enables student-athletes to excel, and supports a healthy immune system.
Group exercises activities on campus are a great way to meet friends and practice good stress management. It’s often thought of as a waste of time or distraction from your studies to do these kinds of activities, but nothing could be farther from the truth! A good balance of activities actually strengthen all the others.
Exercise is anything that gets you moving, so don’t assume that you need to sweat or pay for trainers. You can enjoy ultimate frisbee, hula hooping, or bird-watching – anything!
3. Get Organized
The organization is not only beneficial to make it through each semester, but it is a great way to prepare for a future career. Most jobs require some form of organization, and students who plan to move up in a company will absolutely need to possess strong organizational skills. Don’t just excel in school—prepare to excel in life! While you are at it, check out the best apps to help you in this endeavor.
These days cloud-based apps mean you never have to be without your class notes, essays, syllabi, or discussion forums. Take the time to set up these apps and always have access to everything you need. This will also make you reliable classmate that others will turn to for help.
4. Stop Procrastinating (or, Manage Procrastination Better)
Many students procrastinate; there is no changing that. However, by paying greater attention to which assignments are crucial and by properly accounting for the expected amount of time needed to complete assignments, procrastinators can feel less stressed. Those who prefer to work under pressure can still do so, but with the added benefit of knowing and believing they really will finish on time, without needing to stay up until 4 am.
More ways to improve time management: watch less television, and browse the Internet less frequently during allocated studying time. While it is fun to stream movies and short clips for hours on end, students should learn to make their time useful while adhering to their schedule. There are apps and websites that will also temporarily prevent you from accessing your social media profiles. You can also form a study group where you all are required to put your phones in a pile in order to keep each other accountable.
Another method to prevent procrastination is to not set unrealistic goals for working on your projects, but allow yourself to work on things for as little as 5 minutes a day. Before you know it, hours of work will have gone into research or brainstorming making the assignment that much less daunting.
5. Pay Attention to Important Tasks
Yes, we have already discussed the difficulties of procrastinating too much on assignments, but this goes for important details, too! Don’t wait until the last minute to sign up for classes or to apply for graduation! Be advised it is crucial to adhere to a timely schedule, especially where it matters! This can help avoid many of the annoyances and stress.
Attention to detail is a trait you will carry for the rest of your life. Often it simply takes slowing down and asking more questions. These simple steps will save you a lot of frustration and embarrassment. Pay attention in class, when people are speaking, and to all instructions on paper.
6. Take the Time to Manage Your Social Media
Students, take the time to scrutinize yourself, your actions, and your online personal brand before potential employers get the chance! While your contacts might love seeing the photos from your friend’s party, your potential employers may not. While students are encouraged to be themselves and be genuine, they must also be mindful to remain professional; old college posts can come back to haunt!
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take silly pictures or videos, but try the old school way of keeping them to yourself!
7. Assess Mental Health, Stress, and Anxiety
The school year can become a challenging time for students. The many stresses of juggling assignments, tests, research papers, student clubs, finances, new responsibilities, sports, and social life can easily become overwhelming. This is not uncommon. Never feel embarrassed to reach out for help, when needed. While it is important to effectively complete tasks, it is equally as important to curb stress and take a break every few hours to unwind the mind.
Learn the signs of burnout and take preventative measures. Prioritize your peace of mind and mental health ahead of any class. Make this your New Year’s resolution. It’s harder to get your sanity back than it is to make up for a bad class grade.
8. Don’t Be Shy—Speak Up in Class
While many students are comfortable speaking up in class or chiming in on an online discussion, other students struggle with this. As they say, there is no such thing as a dumb question; speaking one’s mind in the classroom is a good way to get the professor’s attention and show them that you are following along in class. Not to mention many teachers grade on participation!
9. Just Do It—Complete Assignments, On Time
One of the hardest tasks for many students (especially those who scraped by to receive a high school diploma) is not only completing homework assignments and research papers but also doing so in a timely fashion. In college, professors do not waste time babysitting their adult students. Turn in the assignments, period. If not, run the risk of failing.
10. Get to Know Your Professors
Building a professional relationship with one’s professor nearly guarantees access to letters of recommendation needed in the future. As an added benefit, these students tend to experience a smoother semester. Knowing professors well means that one is comfortable asking them questions—and they will remember this type of student!
We have a whole article that outlines the benefits of getting to know your professors and the value they can add to your college career and every subsequent career afterward. Read it here.
Florida National University: We Want to See You Succeed
All in all, the academic resolutions you decide to make this school year are your choice; but don’t forget that they can affect you for years to come! Now that you know our suggestions for the best New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to put them into practice! If you are interested in attending Florida National University (FNU), apply online, now! It is that simple.
Klein, Sarah. “Fatty Foods May Cause Cocaine-like Addiction.” CNN. Cable News Network, 30 Mar. 2010. Web. 19 Aug. 2014.