New Year's Resolution Ideas for College Students

Last updated: Jan 1, 2020

A psychotherapist was kind enough to give Business Insider three common reasons your New Year’s resolutions often fail: You aren’t being specific enough. You aren’t framing them positively. They aren’t about you. Got that? Now check out our New Year’s resolution ideas for college students, and pick a few to adapt to your needs. When you make them yours, remember to be specific, focus on the positive aspects of your goals, and be sure they are things you really want.

A USF student crosses a rope bridge to cross coastal cliffs

I Categorically Resolve to ….

The following ideas are starting points, themes presented like adages cross-stitched on throw pillows. Each introduces related resolutions. If you see something you like, adapt it to your needs and realities. Making it yours will help you make it happen.

If Opportunity Knocks

When opportunity does knock, at the very least sneak a peek. You should know what you’re missing out on and could come to regret. As a matter of personal, academic, and professional growth, here are three things you should be doing continually; if not, resolve to:

  • Expand your social network.
    • Beyond connecting with the countless people who are part of your everyday college experience, use the tools provided by your college to network. USF’s Center for Student Involvement is a perfect example. It’s designed to do what the name says, get students involved, and it uses myriad events and activities to get it done.
    • Take a student’s advice and attend guest lectures, engage at student events, play intramural sports, join student organizations, and get to know your residence hall.
  • Create/expand a professional network.
    • Your circle of career-related personal connections will expand naturally by dint of related academic and professional activities, but don’t be passive – a bystander. Reach out and engage whenever possible. You’re banking personal assets that will be an invaluable source of ideas, advice, and job opportunities.
  • Connect with faculty.
    • Engage with your professors, instructors, and advisors. These people are uniquely equipped to help you overcome basic academic hurdles and shape dreams.

Make a List or Two

Lists are about as much fun as instructions on a prescription bottle but almost as important. They can get you on track and help keep you there. So, resolve to:

Explore New Horizons

With the right perspective, even familiar horizons yield unexplored vistas. So, resolve to:

  • Take your studies into life’s classrooms with internships. Can you think of a better way to explore career options?
  • Make the world yours by studying overseas. It’s fun. It looks great on your résumé. It allows you to explore other ways of life and cultures. And it gives you a unique perspective on the place you call home.

Neither All Work and No Play

Time spent studying and shaping your future can be a grind, but it’s one that can produce a lot of smiles later. Smiles, however, are too important to ration strictly in the present. So, resolve to:

  • Plan and execute an outdoor adventure, from kayaking or canoeing local waterways to hiking local trails or organizing group trips to distant offerings.
  • Explore the cultural and entertainment offerings of your college’s host community, from museums and art venues to nightlife and theme parks.

Nor All Play and No Work

It’s smart to find the necessary balance between play and work, even when your college schedule makes it about as easy as juggling water. One trick is to embrace work that saves you time in the long run. So, resolve to:

  • Make it to class – with few exceptions – and get there on time. Lost knowledge and wasted tuition are high prices to pay for a bit more sleep or fun.
  • Maximize your study skills. Study centers such as USF’s Academic Success Centers can show you how to make the most of your study time. Study apps also are great tools.

Physician, Heal Thyself

Biblical in origin, the phrase “physician, heal thyself” is an admonishment to address your issues, be they physical, mental, financial, or digital. So, resolve to:

  • Slow your intake of (store-bought) fast food. Yes, there is a healthful version of fast food.
  • Get more exercise.
  • Make getting enough sleep a priority.
  • Make emotional and behavioral well-being your top goal.
  • Make a budget and follow it.
  • Find a way to make extra money.
  • Rein in college debt. Borrow wisely; spend wisely.
  • Use social media responsibly and in moderation. The most important thing you put online is your reputation.

A happy college student writes in a notebook

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