Are you in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions? For many of us, a brand new year signals an opportunity to take a look at how things are going for us, and – if needed – make necessary changes. Here are a few college-specific ideas:
1. Get more sleep. While this is probably not on many college students’ lists, we think it should be. As Molly wrote last week, “school is a much more enjoyable (not to mention, doable) experience when I’m not struggling to keep my eyes open.” Lack of sleep can mean lower grades, even if you study hard. Don’t underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep – 6 hours per night is the bare minimum, but 8 is what you really need.
2. Eat healthier. Again, not directly related to your degree, but something that influences your general well-being and may influence your grades too. A steady diet of greasy, sugary, high-sodium junk food will make you tired, give you headaches and make it harder to focus on your studies.
3. Better manage your student loans. It’s important to carefully budget and identify how much money you need to borrow, after exhausting all your financial aid options. Research and find affordable student loans, and don’t borrow even one dollar more than necessary.
4. Stop procrastinating. How much time do you spend on social networks each day? An hour? Three hours? What about TV, games, texting? Spending all these hours doing unproductive activities means your’re not studying effectively, which can affect your grades. See if you can set reasonable time limits, such as allowing yourself to browse Facebook 30 minutes each night, after you’re done studying.
5. Get better grades. If you follow resolutions 1, 2 and 4, your grades should start improving even if you make no additional changes. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to decide on a specific and realistic goal. So, instead of “I’ll get better grades this semester,” or “I’ll be a straight-A student from now on,” you could resolve to never get lower grades than a B.
Whatever your New Year’s resolutions are, it’s a good idea to write them down, and to follow up on your progress once a month or so. Happy New Year!