If youre like most of us, you have a couple of New Years resolutions floating around in the back of your mind, either bad habits you plan on breaking or goals you plan on achieving in 2012.
New Year’s is the perfect opportunity to make a fresh start, but it also provides college students with a brand new semestera great chance for students to get off on the right foot academically, professionally, and socially!
Here are some totally do-able New Years resolutions for college students. Decide which ones youre going to follow through, and be sure to share the list with your friends!
1. Stop complaining and start doing.
In most instances, all you have to do is ask a college student, Hows school? before the complaints start flying. After all, there are just too many classes coupled with too many tests to take and too many papers to write! Its easy to procrastinate when you start to feel overwhelmed, so in 2012 vow to stop complaining and start doing!
The Boston Globe reported in 2010 that the average college student studies just 14 hours per week, so that old Im so busy! excuse isnt going to cut it much longer. Turn off your phone to resist the urge to text and be sure to log out of Facebook and Twitter. Youll be amazed at how good you feeland how much free time you wind up havingwhen you get things done on time or (gasp!) ahead of schedule.
2. Manage stress wisely.
If youre constantly stressed to the max, you wont even have the motivation to stop complaining and start doing, as resolution #1 suggests, but it is possible to learn how to manage your stress wisely. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends starting with small steps, such as taking a hot shower or telling a friend or family member how youre feeling. The Mayo Clinic offers some more in-depth advice for tackling stress here.
3. Use your meal plan.
The College Board points out that room and board help escalate the cost of attending college like you wouldnt even believe. Living and eating your meals on campus gets expensive quick, but you might not even be aware of the costs if Mom and Dad are footing the bill for your education.
Stopping by the dining hall or flashing your student ID to use your flex dollars for fast food on campus might seem boring, but if you constantly order pizza or go out to eat even though youre on a meal plan, youre essentially paying for food twiceand draining your wallet in the process. Make dining off campus a special treat and youll be amazed at how much money youll save by using your pre-paid meal plan!
4. Manage your debt.
Student loans and credit cards have become a way of life among todays college studentsdebt is accepted as ordinary rather than frowned upon as it was in the past. However, its a good idea to start keeping track of how much you owe now. Far too many students figure theyll worry about debt once they graduate, only to realize they cant find a job earning enough to make minimum payments, let alone pay for housing, utilities and other basic necessities.
The New York Times reported in 2011 that as people get older, they begin to experience the burden of debt repayment versus the pleasure of going to college. Know what you owe, and only use your credit card(s) in case of emergency. And no, that cute new Coach purse does not classify as an emergency.
5. Buy a few nice outfits.
Although you were just warned against growing debt and only using credit cards when you really, really need to, you should invest in a few professional outfits for upcoming internships and job interviews.
Torn jeans and flip flops might be okay for classes, but they’ll be frowned upon in most professional workplaces. Theres no need to purchase uber-pricey haute couture, but a nice-looking suit or simple dress-shirt-and-pants combo can go a long way when it comes to landing an internship or job.
6. Party less often, or limit the alcohol when you do.
Parents often think, Not my kid! but the reality is that a lot of college students drink. Parties are abundant on most college campuses, and even though graduates from top party colleges can earn great salaries, learning about the effects of alcohol are sobering for many people.
According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too muchwhether on a single occasion or over timecan have serious health consequences. Binge drinking or alcohol abuse can damage your organs, weaken your immune system, and contribute to different types of cancers. That said, if youre going to drink, drink in moderationand never drive after youve been drinking.
7. Expand your horizons.
College is a great time to expand your horizons by getting out of your comfort zone. Take a class outside your major as an elective, join a club that deals with something youve heard of, or go to a worship service with a friend thats a different religion than you are. It may feel weird or seem odd at first, but once you graduate and enter the Real World youll be faced with these challenges on a regular basisand youll be expected to follow through with them.
8. Start networking now.
Even though youre still in college, its never too soon to start networking. Get in touch with people that work in your potential industry now rather than once youre holding that new diploma. The concept is to plant the seeds before you need to harvest them, Heather Krasna, director of career services at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs, told U.S. News and World Report.
Your best bets? Use the fact that youre still in college to gain peoples interestmost people are willing to help students. Use LinkedIn and Twitter responsibly, and see if a professor or your parents friends or co-workers would be interested in mentoring you.
There are plenty of other New Years resolutions for college students, but we think these eight can help you out in more ways than one. Happy 2012 and good luck this semesterspring break will be here before you know it!
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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