I’m sure you’ve all heard your older family members and friends tell you that college was the best time of their life. “Make the best of it while you can,” is also often thrown in, part wistfully and part ominously. It’s so tempting to just roll our eyes at them, but if you think about it, they may have a point there. College is that perfect cusp in our life between the carefree life of a student and an adulthood that demands complete professionalism at work from us. And so, it goes without saying that this is the perfect time to lay the foundations for great lifestyle habits that will help us navigate the tough demands of a working life.
So, begin this year with chalking out a plan for the kind of life you see for yourself. Here is a list of realistic and achievable goals that you can work on this year to go after that dream you want to chase and achieve your full potential.
1. Create a healthy daily routine
This could very well be the most important thing you do for yourself this year. While this is not a revolutionary new idea, the significance of a planned day cannot be overstated. Waking up early and going for that refreshing jog really does energize you to help tackle a day’s work. Not only that, but it goes a long way in clearing out the cobwebs of the mind because it gives you the me-time you need to also plan the rest of your day. You can mentally schedule enough time for your classes and getting a head start on that tough term paper that’s due sooner than you think.
And it’s not all work either! Make plans for socializing. Decide if you want to check out that new restaurant on campus or show up for that club meeting you’ve been meaning to attend for a while. And once you’ve mentally planned your day while burning calories and breathing in the fresh air, half your task is already done.
Finally, schedule in enough time for a restful sleep as well. Break that stereotype of the sleep-deprived college student surviving solely on coffee while working at breakneck speed on an assignment late night. Eight hours of undisturbed sleep is necessary for your body to clean out toxins and refresh itself for the next day.
2. Eat at least one healthy meal a day
Hectic college life seems set up for getting used to greasy cafeteria food between classes and skipping breakfast while catching some much-needed zzs after finishing a paper. Pizza and ramen have been touted as the staple food of a busy college student trying to balance between coursework and the pull of a happening social life.
However, you want to watch out for that pesky freshmen fifteen. One great way to get on top of this is to make sure you have at least one healthy meal every day. Make sure you get a healthy portion of vegetables daily. Carry fresh fruit around with you in your book bag to snack on instead of grabbing fries. And, watch your caffeine intake, both in the coffee and the soda you consume, to avoid staying up too late each night. These small steps you take on a daily basis can really add up to keeping yourself healthy through your college life.
3. Step out of your comfort zone
It’s very easy to get caught up in the daily grind at college between classes, coursework, and your friend circle. However, remember that this is also the best time to find out who you are and where your interests and talents lie. A well-rounded college life is also about exploring all the opportunities that a campus life can offer you. So try one new thing each month, be it attending a class or a guest lecture on a topic completely unknown to you or showing up for an acapella choir concert you wouldn’t normally check out. Trying new, out-of-the-way things not only widens your horizons but is a great way to network and forge new friendships.
4. Plan your finances
An average college student’s life is usually on a pretty tight budget. So, it’s never too early to start planning your finances. Make it a point to track your spending so you know how much you are shelling out for food, clothing and other basic necessities, books, entertainment. This is a skill that will come in handy once you step into adulthood and you’re on your own to fend for yourself. You also want to ensure you set aside a certain amount for savings, just in case you need a new laptop or want to take a much-earned vacation.
This is also a good time to start your financial education. Open a savings account. Learn more about you investing options, even if you can’t see yourself getting into it right away. Spend some time each week to learn about mutual funds and to study the stock market. And most definitely, learn about taxes, which is a reality you are soon going to face.
A college campus or even your community will have plenty of volunteering opportunities. Do your research and plan to volunteer at least twice a month, if not more. This is a great way to research causes that you are passionate about and getting in touch with grassroots-level problems in these areas. Not only that, but you will forge new connects and gain a great insight into the reality of a completely different aspect of society. At the end of the day, meaningfully contributing to a cause makes you feel great. And volunteering is a great way to boost your resume, too!
I hope you make a great start this year with these resolutions and have a lot of fun growing and learning more about yourself through these! Which of these resolutions excites you the most? Comment below if you like this list or have others you’ve added to your own.