Happy New Year!!

My resolution for 2014!

It’s that time of year again–time for resolutions and bettering ourselves as we ring in 2014. This year, I want to strive to set realistic, attainable goals that I can achieve, especially with my college life.

Procrastinate Less

I was going to write about procrastinating less, but I’ll do it later…just kidding! This is something I have been working on throughout my college career and I can always use a reminder that earlier is better, especially when writing papers and studying for exams. I have to remind myself that the paper is a lot easier to write in small chunks over a couple of weeks than sitting down and writing it all the day before it is due. When I take more time on papers, I catch minute errors that I would have missed if I rushed through. I also find that I gain a better understanding of the topic I’m writing about when I have more time to digest the information, think it through, and ask questions. When I’m studying for exams, I find that reviewing the material several times helps me remember the important “big picture” concepts and the smaller details. For instance, my Biochemistry professor gave us a syllabus at the beginning of the fall semester outlining the topics and chapters covered each class. I would read the sections the night before lecture, take notes during class, and then look over my notes that evening.

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My To-Do list from Fall 2013 saw some rough times, but at the end of the semester I can look back and see all I’ve accomplished!

About a week and a half before exam time, I would print out my slides with my typed notes, highlight important topics, re-listen to lectures (recording lectures is an awesome way to make sure you get all the information-just make sure to ask permission first!) and write additional notes. Any time I needed clarification or didn’t understand a topic, I would take a sticky note and write a few words that would jog my memory when I went to go talk to my professor. Some classes, like biochemistry, have so much information that if you get behind even one or two classes on topics, then you’ll quickly become overwhelmed. It’s a lot more fun to spend the weekend chilling out with friends instead of poring over homework! One of my key tools for staying on top of my schoolwork is my To-Do List; I have a section for each class, then a section for “life” so that I can easily see what I need to do for each class. If it’s an assignment or test with a date associated, then I write the date beside the task so I don’t have to try and figure out when something is due.

Stress Less, Relax More

Basically, my expression at the end of finals week.

I’m the kind of person that stresses out pretty easily, especially when I have papers, exams, and assignments due in a short span of time (which is why I’m trying to procrastinate less!). Stress is not only detrimental mentally, but also physically—when I visited my physical therapist over Christmas Break, my back was a gigantic knot and my right (dominate) shoulder was so tense that it was causing my hand to go numb at times. Sometimes I get so focused on schoolwork that I forget to take care of myself, so this year I want to make an effort to take time each day to relax mentally and physically. For me, this means making sure I go to bed at a reasonable time (usually before eleven) and wake up around the same time each day to maintain a consistent sleep cycle. I tried this tactic out last semester, and I felt so much better than past semesters when I would go to bed and get up at random times. I also make sure to spend time with friends eating dinner and catching a movie every so often so that we can catch up on everyone’s lives and remember that a large part of college is making lifelong friends. Breaks are a fantastic time to chill out, relax, and refresh while getting excited about the upcoming semester (or maybe that’s something that just nerds do?).

Learn to Say “No”

From "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", a fantastic read!
From “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, a fantastic read!

I’m really great at over-committing myself—I’m basically a professional! When I headed off to college, everyone told me, “Get involved!” so that’s what I did—sometimes though, saying “Yes” to every club and activity that comes up is a bad idea. When I get overwhelmed with extracurriculars, then I get stressed because I don’t have time for everything else that I need to do, and I end up unintentionally procrastinating. This just won’t work with my other resolutions, now will it? I’ve found a few clubs and activities that I am really passionate about like Pre-Vet Club, Lincoln Ambassadors, and Band that I can delegate my extra time into. When I’m involved in less extracurriculars, I get to spend more time and energy on those chosen activities, which is a lot more fun than being run ragged all over campus. I’ve gotten to know a lot of wonderful people and gained some really neat experiences from being more involved in fewer activities. Getting over the “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) is crucial to learning to say “No” in a nice way. I’ve realized that yes, I will miss out on some wonderful opportunities; instead, I get to pursue the things that I am most passionate about. Saying “No” to some activities that I may be halfhearted about will allow me to say, “Yes!” to the activities I most want to pursue.

Hopefully, procrastinating less, relaxing more, and learning to say “No” to activities that I really don’t feel passionate about will help me be a better student and more importantly, a worthier friend and a more enjoyable person to be around. I’m really excited to start the New Year off with these practical resolutions that will hopefully stay with me for life!

What are your resolutions for 2014? Tell me in the comments!

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Posted on December 31, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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