New Year’s Resolutions for a Successful Year at College

By on January 7, 2019

A new year also means it is time for new resolutions to guide you towards better things. Looking to save for a spring break trip to Cancun or a security deposit for an off-campus apartment next fall? Make 2019 the year you build a strong financial foundation to succeed in academics and prepare for life after graduation.

While January 1 may be the start of a new year for most people, for college students it is a mid-year milestone to reflect on your recent fall grades, begin new courses and start the spring semester fresh. Many student will pledge to hit the gym and shed a few pounds or set a goal to pass that second semester of grueling organic chemistry, few students will take steps to improve their fiscal fitness or long-term plans for life.

Here are ten New Year’s Resolutions for college students to make better choices and start healthy habits which will support you in adulthood:

10 Resolutions Which May Lead College Students to Success in 2019

1 — No More Procrastinating with School, Finances, Cleaning…Anything!

If you’re like most college students, time and sleep are two things there never seems to be enough of to go around. Before you know it, you’ve slept through a class, put off a one-page paper to catch an extra hour of sleep, etc.. Learning good time management skills is the first step to learning to manage all of your classes, assignments, activities and chores so you aren’t always feeling rushed.

Commit to working 2 pages of your term-paper a week. Promise to do your laundry every week so you don’t end up without clean clothes. Be sure you pay your bills right when they come in the mail instead of waiting until the deadline. And take note of your limits so that you aren’t constantly demanding more of yourself than you can actually deliver.

2 — Take Advantage of Academic Assistance and Support Programs

Even if you think you don’t need the help, take advantage of your academic resources to free up your time and boost your grades. Head to the writing center, for assistance with editing papers or feedback to get you the A you crave. Stop in on a language class meet-up to put your skills to the test and prepare for those coming oral exams. Take that extra moment of time to get help so you are less likely to procrastinate or turn in work that is less than your best.

3 — Meet Each of Your Professors (and get to know them if possible)

Meeting and possibly, getting to know your college professors is a great way to get help, find a mentor, hold yourself accountable to be in class and hopefully to get a recommendation letter. Go to your instructors office hours, greet them in the coffee shop after class, and so on. Once they know you, there is also the chance they will notice when you are not in class or turn in assignments late, so here is an incentive to make a good first impression and keep it up. Their expertise or endorsement can lead to opportunities after college too.

4 — Improve Your Health Habits (at least for the rest of the 2014 semester).

Staying healthy means happier students and less missed classes or sick-day calls into work. Keep your weight-loss and exercise goals simple, aim to start small and make healthy choices (e.g., get more sleep, drink less soda, only healthy snacks after 7pm, etc.). Give yourself a positive outlook instead of focusing on the restrictive and negative side of health.

5 — Cut Your Debts or Avoid Frivolous Spending Altogether

Like many students, you may have opened a credit card for buying sundries, fixing your car or emergencies. Unfortunately this also means you probably spent more than you were able to pay each billing cycle once interest or fees were added.

Cut up those credit cards (don’t close the account if the line of credit is still good and you make payments on time) and vow to only buy what you can truly afford and try to pay cash for it. There is nothing worse than coming out of college with an additional $10,000 in debt.

6 — Actively Manage Your Own Student Financial Aid Rewards and Loan Payments

After college, you are going to be the one responsible for paying back any student loans. Why not take the reigns now? Read your financial reward forms; seek out more affordable loans or scholarships to keep from accruing too much debt; use left-over disbursement money for paying back the loan to avoid added interest.

The more you know about your student loan responsibilities now, the better position you will be in to pay back your loans in the future. So make this the year you actively manage your own student debt.

7 — Start an Emergency Fund, Retirement Account or Investment Portfolio in 2019

It’s never too early to start saving for the future. Put your leftover change in a jar at the end of each day and you could have a few hundred dollars to use in case of an emergency. Don’t need to spend that money on daily expenses now? Invest that money in a mutual fund, bonds or stocks in a company which interests you.

Not spending a few hundred dollars on fun (less than giving up one beer a day), and investing in your future financial safety net can lead to thousands of dollars when you need it (to buy a home, pay back student loans, etc.).

8 — Find Inexpensive Ways to Have Fun and Manage Stress

All this studying, running from class to class, working and adult responsibilities is bound to have you tired and ready for a break. Resolve to managing your stress in daily, inexpensive ways for the new year.

Take up an intramural sport. Learn to dance or play an instrument with a friend. Try a free yoga class at the local community center. There are a number of activities you can do to de-stress without blowing your budget.

9 — Save Money with Student Discounts all Year-round

Businesses around college towns typically offer all sorts of student discounts on their products or services. Resolve to flash your student ID at every movie theater, nightclub, cafe, art museum, shopping center, etc. to see if you can save a few extra dollars here or there. Every penny you save will add up to valuable savings!

10 — Volunteer in Your Community

Give back to your community. Volunteer your time and talent to an organization you support. Donate old clothes, used laptops, textbooks and items that you no longer need.

3 Tips to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolution in 2019

  1. Start small
  2. Commit
  3. Track Your Progress With Milestones

Often the start of a new year brings an onslaught of resolutions which tend to be forgotten or tossed aside by Valentine’s Day. So instead of trying to totally overturn all of your bad habits and be hands on with your finances all at once, break these resolutions down into smaller, more manageable steps you can take slowly. One small change a week or month can add up to big savings and better grades in the end.

Commit to your new years resolutions and takes steps to monitor your progress. There are great resolution tracker apps for your mobile device and organizational products (such as Quicken 2018 or Mint.com) which can help you monitor all of your finances and paperwork in one, convenient frame.

By the end of 2019, you will look back and commend yourself for having a successful academic year and hope for a satisfying financial future.

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