While in college, you have the opportunity for a fresh start every three to four months. You start new classes with each semester, and there’s always the opportunity to fix bad habits from the previous semester. Think about it: a fresh start brings new opportunities. Some may be starting a new major or minor, and others might have a new job on campus. When there are all kinds of new beginnings already coming your way, why not take control and make your life the way you want it? Let’s go!
1. GET YOURSELF CLEANED UP
Organization and cleanliness play a huge part in having peace of mind. If your room isn’t cleaned and you can’t find what you need, you’ll have trouble concentrating on homework and sleep! To stay organized in the coming semester, you can:
- Organize Your Class Content
Get a filing system going. Have one main file for each class and then separate into Notes, Homework, Handouts, and Tests and Quizzes. Whenever you get something back from a professor, file it into its specific file in order by its date. You’ll then know where to find all study materials.
- Have a Place for Everything and Have Everything in its Place
Have a specific place for things. Keep your books in one place, clothes in one place, food in one place. In reality, most of us are already pretty good at this because we live in a small space on campus and share a small room. Keep up the good work by remembering to straighten things up every so often.
- Pinterest Self-Help!
Pinterest itself cannot come out of the computer and organize your things, but it is a great place to find adorable, easy, and crafty ways to organize your stuff and keep your room clean. Check out this board to get some preliminary ideas! http://pinterest.com/likechris….
2. GET YOURSELF HEALTHY!
This is a very popular resolution for college students. When we fall into the most stressful parts of the semester, it is very easy for bad eating habits to creep up on us. When those bad eating habits start, you begin feeling bad about yourself, and then you stress eat, causing you to feel even worse. Try eating fresh fruits and vegetables, make sure you’re drinking enough water, eliminate unnecessary processed foods, and avoid neglecting proteins!
Try stress management techniques, like taking a few deep breaths or exercising, to reduce stress and emotional eating. Go to dinner off-campus or go home for the night. (Whatever clears your mind.) When you come back to campus, what looked like the mountain Bilbo and the dwarves’ struggle to climb will seem more like the rolling hills of Hobbit Country.
To add some gym time to the new-and-improved you, check out the group classes in the Wellness Center, like Yoga, Abs, and Zumba for a fun, stress-free study break!
3. BE ON TIME!
Is your motto, “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done”? Are you always late for classes, meetings, or appointments? Do you struggle getting library books, assignments, and bills where they need to be on time? If you answered “yes” to any of these, it’s time for time management!
Punctuality can make or break you in the real world. As an RA, my habit of punctuality is recognized and appreciated by my bosses. Being on time shows that you are professional, organized, and that you take your responsibilities and commitments seriously. (Remember: these people may be the ones you ask to write letters of reference for future jobs or grad school!)
Get a planner to write down all important times, dates, and other responsibilities you may have. Check in with it often and cross out the items as they’re completed. This will keep your mind clear, cutting down on added stresses.
Wesleyan’s Learning Center and Study Strategies class can also help with time management. Get an accountability partner, like your best friend, your advisor, someone in the Learning Center, or your RA! All of these people want you to succeed in everything you do, including getting that library book turned in on time!
4. GET SMART WITH YOUR MONEY!
If you have more errands, more bills, and less money, it’s time to budget. Figure out what your income is each month. Do you have bills to pay? Do you have a car? Do you buy groceries? Do you like spending money when hanging out with friends? If so, account for all of this. Approximate the amount of money that goes out and determine where you can make some cuts to fit within the amount of money you have each month.
For some perspective, I get paid about $180 a month. With that, I first put about $83 toward car insurance and tithes. This leaves about $24 a week to go toward either gas or groceries Sure, I am occasionally blessed when my boyfriend buys my gas or my parents buy my groceries, but, overall, I have to be very conscious with my spending. Before budgeting, I watched all my money go flying out the door. Now that I budget, I know how much money I have and how long I have to make that money last.
Keep track of what you spend. Write it down in a check register (you can get those from your bank) or on an excel sheet or spending journal. Do whatever you have to do so that you can have peace of mind about your money and delegate that attention elsewhere!
5. GET BETTER FRIENDS!
It’s normal to find a group of friends and later discover that they aren’t the best influence on you. These friends make you feel left out more often than you feel let in. These unhealthy friends may pressure you to do what you don’t want to do, like party and drink; they may be high-stress or clingy. You feel worse when you hang out with them than you do when you’re alone. No one deserves that, and you don’t have to suffer! No matter what situation you’re in, you can make new, better friends.
What are your interests? Do you like sports? If so, go to a basketball game or a track meet. Do you like the arts? You can go visit Sleeth Gallery or a theatre performance. When you’re happily doing what you love to do, quality friends will come!
Always remember that you can do whatever you set your mind to do! No matter what bad habits you have had in the past, you can make a change! But in order to make a change, you have to be open and ready to change. If you ever need a cheerleader, come find me! We are all in this journey together of college and being better, healthier women who are ready to take on the world.
To that, I say, “Watch out, 2013! Here we come!”