10 New Year's Resolutions Every College Student Should Make

Students talking at the Entryway Monument
As the new year approaches, now is the perfect time to think about the past year and make new plans for your future. What goals do you want to achieve next year? How do you want to improve your life? It’s never too late to make a fresh start. As you prepare for the upcoming year and your new semester of classes, think about setting some achievable goals for yourself. Not sure where to begin? Here are 10 great New Year’s resolutions every college student should consider making:

Shoot for Perfect Attendance

You’re paying for your classes, so you might as well get as much out of them as possible! Besides, attending your classes will help you understand essential information and concepts, which will prove to be crucial when you need to write papers and take exams. Of course, life has a way of throwing curveballs at us all, so do what you can to prepare for unexpected events. Leave early to avoid traffic or car troubles. Take care of yourself and keep up with good hygiene to stay healthy. Get plenty of shut-eye so you don’t sleep past your alarm (or alarms). Preparedness and cultivating discipline and grit will help you get to all your classes, which will allow you get the most out of your college experience!

Focus More on Learning Than Just Grades

It’s only natural for college students to want straight A’s. As important as high marks are, however, it’s even more critical that you learn the information presented to you in class and are able to apply it to your future career or everyday life. If you get good grades only for the information to fall out of your head a few weeks later, then how much good has the class really done for you? Instead of focusing solely on getting that A, reflect on the purpose of your assignments and how you can use that knowledge later in your life.

Make Time for Fitness

Ahh, yes, the quintessential New Year’s resolution. Everyone should strive to be healthy and strong. Unfortunately, many believe that if they can’t dedicate an hour to exercising it isn’t worth the effort. Did you know that even 15-20 minutes of exercising can make a difference? Pencil in some time to walk a few laps around campus, visit the fitness center, or even try some dorm room exercises with your textbooks. Schedule your sweat sessions like you would any other appointment, grab a friend or two to help keep you accountable, and do something you love like sports, dancing, jogging, or swimming!

Engage in Healthy Habits

Speaking of staying healthy, you should also work on taking care of your body and mind in other ways. Eat plenty of whole, nutritious foods, stay hydrated, get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and do your best to strike a good work-life balance. Doing so will help you improve your focus while decreasing your stress. Being specific with your goals can help you stick with it throughout the year. For instance, you could say that you want to eat at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit each day. Want to get into better shape? You can write out your goal like this: I want to lose [number] pounds by [date], and I will do this by exercising for [number] minutes [number] times every week.

Finish Your Assignments Earlier

Procrastination might be a college student’s way of life, but it’ll only serve to increase your stress (and possibly affect your grades and comprehension negatively). Your assignments will need to be completed eventually – why not just finish them as soon as possible? Write down when all your projects and papers are due and make your due date one day earlier than your professors’. If the assignment seems daunting, break it up into smaller, more manageable steps. Finally, eliminate distractors – stay off social media, turn your phone on silent, and keep it away from your desk until you’ve finished!

Stduent Spirit Section at Bearcat Basketball Game
Cultivate Your Bearcat Spirit

It can be tempting to stay in your dorm room watching Netflix only to emerge for meals at Ames or to attend your classes. While there is a time and place for relaxing and alone time, make it your mission to live boldly and take part in campus activities while you’re away from home. Cheer for the Bearcats in the stands during games next semester. Join a fraternity or sorority, become a part of a club on campus, or volunteer for local causes that you care about. This will help you to not only form long-lasting friendships but also create an impressive resume for future employers.

Look for a Job or Internship on Campus

Guess what else will help improve your resume? Taking a part-time job or internship on campus. You’ll learn new skills (including how to balance your time), cultivate a strong work ethic, and earn some spending money at the same time. Stop by Career Services to learn more about internships and work-study opportunities or dive in on your own!

Outdoor Classroom in the Campus Quad
Get to Know at Least One Professor

Your professors aren’t just here to help you understand the material in your classes – they want to see you succeed in your college life and beyond! Take advantage of their office hours to discuss assignments. This won’t just benefit you in the short-term with your classes – it will also help build a solid connection, which can aid you in your future career!

Choose Gratitude

Want to have a better year? Focus on the good things in your life by practicing gratitude. You can do this by savoring special and ordinary moments, remaining in the present, and reaching out to others through volunteering and good deeds. Even giving someone a compliment counts! As you immerse yourself more in gratitude, you’ll find that you’ll experience less stress, happier moods, and stronger relationships with your friends and family. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Students Playing Around in Campus Quad
Don’t Forget About Your Friends

Remember what Dr. Ann Collins said during Convocation? You might be here to learn all that you can and prepare for your future career, but you’re also here to feed your soul with friendship. Be sure to spend time with your best friends between your classes and study times, even when things are a bit chaotic. Part of the fun about being a college student is forging strong friendships and looking back on all the happy times you had together!

Remember, Bearcats, if you happen to slip up along the way on your resolutions next year, don’t fret. It’s not the end of the world. Just get back up and try again! Happy New Year!