New Year’s Academic Resolutions

It’s that time of year again where the semester has ended, the holidays have passed, and we need to embark on a new year and semester. As a fellow student, I know that at the end of every semester I always find myself saying, “Next semester I’ll do better” or “I’ll do things differently next time so I won’t be overwhelmed with work”. However, it seems that when the next semester comes around I fall back into the same routine, which isn’t always a good thing. We make resolutions throughout the year for losing weight or taking on a new hobby. It’s time we also make academic resolutions! Here are some ideas on what you can do to succeed in your upcoming semester.

Make the resolution to:

  1. Go to class… and actually be present

We all make the mistake of thinking that because we simply showed up to class it “counts”. More importantly, we have to pay attention. Giving all your attention during that one to two hour lecture will make a world of difference for your grades. Also, taking notes with a physical pen and paper seems archaic, but it’s been proven to improve memory retention. It means you’ll also have notes for future reference that are written in a way that you understand best.

  1. Not text or watch videos during lecture

There’s always that person in front of us texting, looking at memes, or watching animals videos during class. Don’t be that person! You already made the effort of showing up to class, so why let that go to waste? There are moments when the lecture gets really boring or we’ve zoned out for a minute too long, so we don’t see a point in trying to catch up again. If you know you’re one of those people, you can either turn off your phone or put it at the bottom of your bag or somewhere hard to reach so you aren’t tempted to get it out. You can also use a productivity app like Cold Turkey which blocks distracting apps and websites from your phone for a set period of time.

  1. Keep a planner

This is one we’ve all tried at some point. College is a time where attention to detail is crucial and not just during lecture. You have to know your class schedule, exam schedule, homework due dates, and times of clubs or other activities. You don’t want the reason you do poorly to be because you simply forgot what time to show up. For some, keeping a physical planner doesn’t work, and some may end up forgetting about it as the school year goes on. Try downloading a planner app onto your phone that can give you physical reminders. For others, like me, a physical planner or calendar is more effective. It’s all about figuring out what works best for you, so try out something different if you’re previous attempts haven’t worked out.

  1. Get enough sleep, eat some vegetables, and drink water

Sleep is probably one of the most underrated keys to success. No one ever said sleep was the reason they graduated with honors. However, college isn’t just about GPA and Greek life. It’s also about taking care of yourself, because that’s how you can give your best. Make an effort to prioritize getting a full 8 hours of sleep at least 4 times a week, especially if you have early 8 a.m. lectures. Of course, eat some vegetables! College students are notoriously bad eaters. The salad bar is always available during lunch and dinners in the dining halls, so pick up that piece of broccoli or add it to your grocery list. Most importantly, drink water! Coffee doesn’t count towards your daily water intake. It actually makes you lose more water because it makes you go to the bathroom more often. Staying hydrated helps with concentrating and will improve your overall health. Your brain will thank you for it!

These resolutions are simple things you can do to improve your semester. By taking care of yourself and paying attention, you’ll be shocked at how much of a difference it can make. I found myself staying up too late and dozing off during lectures throughout college and it affected my performance. Once I corrected these issues by getting to the core of the problem, like lack of sleep or distracting websites, I was able to thrive in college. I hope you take the chance to commit to at least one of these resolutions for your next semester!

– Isla M.