We’ve finally rung in the new year, but more importantly to college students, it’s time to ring in a whole new semester. These next four months are filled with new classes to attend, new sports to watch, and new people to meet. You have a clean slate to make this semester better than your last one, so do everything you can to be at your absolute best.
- Read a few books just for yourself.
When is the last time you had the satisfying feeling of finishing an entire book that you truly enjoyed? Think of a favorite author or a movie you enjoy that’s based off a book and get to reading. Collect suggestions from your bookworm friends (and from me personally, I’d say you’re off to a good start with any John Green novel). Replace the time you spend scrolling through Instagram before bed with a chapter of an intriguing and refreshing novel. You’ll probably fall asleep feeling excited and accomplished instead of jealous and anxious.
- Find a new favorite movie.
Your “all-time favorite movie” probably hasn’t changed in years, so make a resolution to find a new one. This makes for a good excuse to spend a usually lazy Sunday going to the theatre with friends, or to indulge on the classic movies you’ve never actually got around to watching. (I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the first time this year. I immediately wondered why I hadn’t been watching it every holiday season). Even if you can never find a movie that lives up to Finding Nemo’s standards, you’ll find some 9-out-of-10’s along the way.
- Sit with a new person in class and strike up a conversation.
The seat that you pick on your first and second day of class may become your regular seat for the rest of the year, so choose wisely. Sit next to that girl you’ve stalked on social media that seems like fun or to that cute boy with the gorgeous smile. You’ll be glad you did when you need late-night homework help or a lunch buddy.
- Create a weekly or monthly budget for yourself.
As a freshman with a debit card for the first time that’s constantly refreshed by my Dad, I had no idea how much money I was spending until I came home my Thanksgiving break to a lecture on spending more wisely. Visit the ATM to pull out cash and make sure that’s all you let yourself spend that week or month. You’ll think twice before buying your eight closest friends rounds of Vegas bombs or going to Chipotle twice a week.
- Set a regular workout schedule, even if it isn’t a lot.
If you’ve become a victim of the freshman 15, or if you simply just don’t feel your healthiest, it’s probably time to make some changes. It’s natural for your metabolism to change and to gain a few extra pounds your first semester at college —after all, your biggest concern has gone from how tan you want to get at the pool, to downing redbull and coffee in an all-nighter attempt.
- Find little ways to indulge in a healthier eating habits.
While your friends may be engaging in unhealthy cleanses or fasts, they’ll probably fall back into their usual ways after they’re burnt out of the new-year-new-me health craze. Start doing little things to improve your health that’ll stick with you long-term. Replace your usual pop with dinner to skim milk or water, or set a small goal, like eating fruit with every lunch and veggies with every dinner. Be sure to let yourself indulge once in a while so you don’t crash, and your body will thank you for it.
- Make it a habit to procrastinate less.
If you’re a naturally busy person, sometimes it feels like there is no universe in which you’ll ever have everything checked off your to-do list. But highlighting the things that you more realistically believe you can get done and doing them before you spend an hour scrolling through Vine will leave you feeling much less stressed (and leave more time for sleep).
- Try out at least one new hobby.
Maybe you have a friend that knits or know that your rec center offers a yoga class once a week. Grab the nearest mat and give it a try! Keep attempting new things all semester until you find something new that you’re good at. You’ll never know if you have the superior raquet-ball abilities unless you try—and maybe next semester you can give piano-playing a go.
- Promise yourself to utilize time in between classes to study, not sleep.
While it’s tempting to get a little extra shut-eye in your hour break between your 9:40 and 11:50 classes, it’s also the best time to head to library and force yourself to do that homework you know you’re going to put off until midnight. Don’t have anything to do? Go grab a coffee and read a newspaper in the coffee shop — maybe that cute barista will start noticing you! Every day is full of new and exciting possibilities that you’ll miss if you spend all your daylight time curled up in bed.
Maybe this semester won’t turn you into a whole “new you,” but with a little relaxation and a lot of dedication, you can turn it in to the best semester you’ve ever had. Now get out there and take some knitting classes.