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7 New Year’s Resolutions for Students

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Students main image

Happy New Year! Whether you’re half-way through your degree, about to start university or preparing to graduate, the beginning of a new calendar year is an good opportunity to think about what you’d like to do a little differently – and set some intentions in the form of New Year’s resolutions. I took a quick survey (mainly of the TopUniversities.com team and their friends/Facebook contacts) to get an idea of some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for students. Below are the most common themes that emerged...

1. Get healthier

New Year’s resolutions relating to health and fitness are always among the most common (though according to a survey last year, have now been overtaken by the resolution to read more books – let’s assume that as a student, you’re already reading a lot of books). Like the general population, students are also likely to make resolutions in this area, whether it means joining the campus gym or a university sports club, cutting down on fast food, getting more sleep, quitting smoking or taking it a little easier on the Happy Hour offers at the student union bar. Deondrae, who’s currently interning with the TopUniversities.com team while completing his marketing degree, said health-related resolutions were definitely the most common among his classmates and contacts.

2. Stop procrastinating

For students in particular, the resolution to stop procrastinating is another of the most common – either in general or in relation to a specific type of task – and not just at New Year’s. (If you’re a student and don’t have a procrastination problem, please contact us ASAP so we can all learn from your secrets!) Just ‘stop procrastinating’ alone is too vague; if you want to succeed at this, you’ll need to identify some specific actions (as for all resolutions). Depending on your procrastination habits, this could mean a self-imposed Facebook or YouTube ban (at least during certain hours), finding a less distracting place to study, or even just making sure you don’t have more than two tabs open on your internet browser at any time!

3. Be more organized

Another common group of New Year’s resolutions for students relate to organization. Specific examples that came up in my quick survey include: doing the set reading before (not after) the seminar, writing up clear notes after each lecture, organizing and labelling class notes, and creating and sticking to a revision schedule before exams. Looking back at my own student years, being more organized could have meant getting hold of the books I needed well in advance, instead of leaving it to the last minute and finding all the copies had been taken out of the library and no local bookshops had them in stock.

4. Join more university clubs

Of course university is not only about coursework; it’s also a chance to meet new people and get involved in all kinds of activities and clubs. Again, looking back at my own time at university, I was always resolving to take advantage of more of these opportunities – and this was one resolution I did succeed at, to an extent! As with all New Year’s resolutions, the key to success is not to be too over-ambitious, and to set just a few clear and achievable goals. So if you’re going down this route, maybe just choose one new club or activity to try out each semester.

5. Cut down on extra-curricular activities

On the other hand, many students have the opposite problem, and find themselves needing to cut down on extra-curricular activities to make more time for studies. Nicole, our SEO editor, recalls that in her junior year, she was struggling to balance all her extra activities with studies and an internship. To make more time for coursework, she decided to cut down on some of her volunteering commitments. “It was difficult, but I did better in at least two of my three classes. My reasoning was that it was my junior year and I wouldn't be in college forever, so I wanted to make the most of my classes.”

6. Spend less

For students who started university in the fall, New Year’s is probably about that time when you take a look at your bank account and get a bit of a shock (at least, it was for me). Especially if this is your first experience of living alone, it can take a bit of time to get the hang of living within your student budget, and even if the situation isn’t dire, most students would probably agree that they’d like to spend less in the coming year. Again, the trick is to be specific and realistic. Identify a few small things you can do – maybe stop buying new clothes that you don’t really need, or walk to class instead of taking the bus (that’ll help with the health resolution too...).

7. Stop making New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s resolutions aren’t for everyone, and you don’t have to look far to find stats and surveys claiming that the vast majority won’t even last to the end of January. If you’ve been making the same resolutions on repeat for the past few years, it may be time to try a new tactic – or at least give yourself a break! Or maybe you just prefer to do things your own way, at your own time, instead of making resolutions just because the date happens to have crossed a threshold.

I’ll let the final words go to another member of the TopUniversities.com team (who shall remain anonymous): “When I was a student I was even more insufferable than I am now. So my resolution was almost always to ‘not to make any New Year’s resolutions’. However, I always broke it by making the same stupid resolution each year.”

What New Year’s resolutions are you making this year? Share your goals in the comments below.

Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversees the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edits the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributes to market research reports including How Do Students Use Rankings?

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