What does the new year mean to you?
Perhaps you’re feeling a mixture of nervousness, excitement, and hope for the next 365 days. As you cross out the "18"s and replace them with "19"s in your agenda, you might be thinking, “This will be my year.”
The power of action
Neil Pasricha, the author of The Book of Awesome, has said: “It’s easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than to think yourself into a new way of acting.”
Are you prone to writing down a long list of new year’s resolutions and then realizing, by mid-February, that you’ve already fallen off track? (I’m definitely guilty of this.) This year, let’s change that.
First, take a bit of time to reflect on the previous term. The lessons learned can serve as a roadmap for your 2019 plan. You can then take meaningful action to get you closer to where you want to be.
Not sure where to start? Here are some questions to help you evaluate last term—and, better yet, tips for refining your routine to make the best of the awesome year ahead!
Solidify your study routine
Think back to your first term at UBC.
Did you find yourself cramming two days before your exams, and losing sleep to re-write your lecture slides? Were you guilty of watching Netflix to escape from doing an assignment? Did you realize you were struggling but felt too afraid to ask for help?
Often, the start of a school year can bring a wave of academic challenges—so if you found yourself struggling, you’re not alone. Remember: you don’t have to expect yourself to be perfect.
Studying smart means developing a routine and incorporating productive habits to keep yourself on track. Create a study plan—how much study time should you allocate for each course per week? Which hours in the day do you feel most productive?
Engage in active (instead of passive) learning! Take smart notes by paraphrasing what you hear and using mind-maps to link concepts together. Participate in class discussions by preparing pre-lecture, listening intently, and asking questions!
Remember: studying smart is more effective than studying hard. The best way to succeed academically is to enjoy it! You’re working hard not just for good grades, but for the purpose of gaining knowledge, improving yourself, and building a future you love.
Find your social sweet spot
There are over 60,000 students at UBC—at a university this big, managing a social life can be quite overwhelming, or conversely, underwhelming if building connections was challenging.
Whether it’s making new friends or maintaining old ones, are there areas you want to change? Did you find it difficult to make friends in class? Or was your plate overflowing with social events to the point that you felt drained? Are you hoping to be a better friend to others?
Feeling underwhelmed? Whether it’s making friends in residence, as an international student, or as a commuter, it all starts with something simple: saying hi. This can be in the classroom setting, during events, or in club meetings—the possibilities are endless, so don’t wait. Be yourself, get involved, and those with similar values will gravitate towards you!
Feeling overwhelmed? It’s important to balance your schedule to ensure you aren’t overcommitting. Try not to let FOMO get in the way of your personal wellness and other priorities. It comes down to learning how to say no in a way that’s respectful—this benefits both you and those around you.
Is there a friend of yours that you haven’t seen in a while? Send them this text right now: “Hey, I miss you! Would you like to catch up sometime?”
Heighten your health
While going about our busy lives, something essential is often overlooked: our health. But without good health, it’s hard to maintain other aspects of our lives.
How would you describe your wellbeing over the past few months? Did you find yourself skipping meals or hours of sleep because you were caught up in work? Did you notice yourself feeling frequently exhausted? Was your sleeping schedule, well... non-existent?
Unhealthy habits, no matter how small, eat away at your wellness bit by bit... and you may not notice the effects until a few years down the road. For the sake of future you, take care of present you!
It’s important to maintain a balanced diet, keeping in mind that healthy eating is different for everyone. So what does this mean to you, and what steps can you take to achieve it? This can be as simple as grabbing an apple instead of a bag of chips. You can also try packing your lunch!
Catch some better zzzs this semester by making simple changes to your lifestyle! Create a bedtime routine that you’ll look forward to, and get your tasks done early to hop into bed stress-free. You’ll wake up refreshed the next morning, and also find it easier to stay awake and productive in the daytime!
Been wanting to exercise but can’t seem to find the time? Incorporate exercise into your daily life with this workout guide for busy students.
Figure out your finances
As we learn to ‘adult’, managing finances becomes an essential skill.
Were you guilty of spending more than you intended to over the holidays—perhaps due to expectations you put on yourself? Are you feeling uneasy about being able to afford that trip you always wanted? Do you tend to wonder where your money goes?
Follow these 21 money-saving tips and tricks to make your wallet happier this year. And no, they’re not huge changes—it can be as simple as downloading the Mint app to keep track of your finances, or using the 50/20/30 rule to start simple budgeting!
I used to struggle with managing my money, but what helped was setting a monthly savings goal. I would manage my cash inflows and outflows so that I was making more than I was spending!
Knowing how to spend your money is just as important as knowing how to save.
Every day is a new year
It’s easy to feel discouraged when we derail from our new year’s resolutions—“Oh well, there’s always next year”—and just let ourselves give up.
But hey, reaching your goals isn’t a linear path. You will trip, fall, and stumble along the way, but how you react makes the biggest difference! Instead of waiting until next year to reset, why not reset tomorrow? After all (as cheesy as this might sound), every single day can be the beginning of a new year ahead.
University is a time to be uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make your experience the best it can be.