New Year, New You? New Years’ Resolutions for 2018 Students Should Actually Stick To
Social media is about to filled with promises and resolves to be a better person, get better grades and achieve better things. Yep, New Years’ Resolution season is here.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to declare to do lots at once or make any drastic changes to improve your quality of life while you’re going through another year at uni. Instead, take our advice and try implementing small, manageable changes you can really stick to. Where to start? We’ve got you covered…
Get some Work Experience
If you don’t already have a job alongside your studies, now is the time to get one – even if it’s just a few hours a week.
Ideally, of course, you’ll be working in some capacity in the field within which you’re studying (or as close as you can reasonably get) but work experience doesn’t have to be related. Anything that can demonstrate a professional skill – be that administration, customer service or even just filing – can be translated into a workplace at a later date and will demonstrate competence. Even a Saturday retail job helps your case when it comes to looking for a role once you’ve left your studies behind. It’s brilliant for the extra money and shows commitment and work ethic too!
If you’re really stuck and can’t find anything, offer to do ‘real’ work experience; that is, do it for free.
Most companies have some kind of internship programme or will be glad of a volunteer (http://www.promo-media.co.uk/ and http://www.billboardadvertising.org.uk/ are good examples), and you can go ahead and gain the skills and competencies you need with less commitment required… but still with a reference at the end! Top companies are listed here – http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-10-companies-that-pay-interns-the-most-uk-2015-8
If you already work, or working isn’t an option, instead consider spending an hour or so a week volunteering. Most cities have loads of charities and causes that would be glad of some extra help, and several even have volunteer ‘bureaus’ for you to find opportunities.
If there’s lots on offer, choose a cause close to your heart or something you’ll think you find challenging. Volunteering isn’t all soup kitchens, talking to the elderly or shaking money tins, after all. There’s animal sanctuary help, refugee outreach, befriending those from other countries and areas, language swaps, charity shop work, driving, cooking and even doing admin for non-profits that all need people to give their time rather than their money.
Volunteering looks superb on the CV no matter who it’s for, so sign yourself up to whatever feels right for you. Try not to just do ‘one-offs’ if you can and avoid just volunteering at Christmas: everyone and their mother does that, so it’s better to really stand out. You’ll soon be on your way to learning new skills, helping out others and feeling positive that you’ve made a difference.
Remember to ask for a Student Discount
It’s the classic face-palm moment…. Having bought something and turned to walk away only to remember you should have presented your student card for a discount – fail! Of course, by the time you realise, it’s too late to bother going back and trying to refund then re-pay; not to mention embarrassing.
Instead, make it a resolution that from January you’ll have your purse or wallet out ready before you make it to the cash desk in any shop, and that you’ll take a second before buying anything to consider whether or not the retailer offers a student discount.
Put a post-it on your coin purse if necessary! For real motivation, keep a note (in a notebook or just on your phone, whatever’s easiest) of the money you’ve saved. It’ll soon add up and you’ll be able to plan the funds you’ve saved for something you really want. Result!
When shopping online, set a discount site as your homepage so there’s no avoiding it. Student Discount Squirrel always updates it’s front page with the newest and best money-off offers and discount deals so you’ll see the every time you open your computer.
Attend Non-Compulsory Lectures and Classes
Once you’re settled in to your studies, it’s all too easy to cast aside non-compulsory classes, lectures and activities in favour of well… anything else. Yet there’s loads to be gained from these!
Some curriculum material will invariably show up in them and your lecturers and guides will be pleased to see you there. They’re considerably more likely to grade and rank you favourably if they believe you’re actually invested into your course – and making that little extra effort shows them you really are.
This doesn’t need to be the big commitment it sounds; try one a week if there’s lots! At the end of the day, your course is your degree; and it’ll only turn out how you make it, so a little extra time spent learning or experiencing won’t harm it – https://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2013/mar/14/should-university-lectures-be-compulsory
Schedule and Plan
The last resolution fits nicely into this one. Buy a calendar or diary, write your plans, commitments and appointments in it – and stick to it!
You’re likely to get a calendar from one relative or another over the Christmas holiday anyway, and a nice thick sharpie will ensure you don’t scrub out your responsibilities jotted on it too easily. If you need the extra motivation, go pretty: colour code activities and doodle to your heart’s content to keep your weeks looking picture perfect.
Make sure you keep it somewhere visible and if required, somewhere others can see it too. That way there’ll be no apologies for missed plans, excuses to get out of unwanted activities and no demanding double-bookings taking up your time. After all, you can’t wash up your housemate’s dishes on Wednesday evening if you’re out volunteering, can you?