You can’t build a habit without first making a resolution.
They say it takes 21 days to build a habit.
In a mere three weeks, we simple humans can repeat a routine to the point of habituation—the most effortless form of behavior.
But you can’t build a habit without first making a resolution.
So here’s where it all starts: for the upcoming year of college, we’ve put together a list of nine back-to-school resolutions to get you started on your own list of to-dos.
Seriously—follow our advice and your upcoming school year will be made in the shade. We can’t promise a date with Ryan Gosling by the end of September, but we can promise you you’ll be handling a day planner like a champ.
Part 1: The Academic
1. Get to know your professors beyond introductions
Isn’t it remarkable that you spend upwards of five hours a week with each of your professors—more than some of your best friends—and yet all you know about them is their last name, preferred facial hair growth, and apparent preference for Diet Coke over the regular kind?
Building real relationships (please just not the romantic variant) with your professors starts with simply introducing yourself to them privately within the first couple days of class. From there, attend their office hours, ask questions in class, show up at their public lectures—display an interest in their work, and they’ll probably return the interest in your development as their student. Think of the research opportunities! Think about how much more inclined they’ll be to grant you that extension! Think of how much more likely they’ll be to excuse that week-long absence when you were in Cabo in bed, sick with pneumonia.
2. Start keeping a day planner
As the saying goes, “the faintest ink is better than the best memory.” A day planner is the proverbial string around your finger, except a thousand times more effective than tying a string around your finger (seriously, who thought that was effective? What do you do if you can’t remember why there’s string around your finger? What if you can’t tie a knot with one hand? So many questions).
Mostly you just need a day planner so that you can be all, “One moment, darling. Let me just check my schedule” the next time somebody asks you out. You can’t just go about frivolously accepting every coffee date and brunch engagement you’re invited to–you’re very in-demand, you know. Buy a planner and start acting like it. (And while we’re being glamorous here, why not purchase one in python?)
3. Make at least two friends in each of your classes
Here’s the thing: you need to stop being a loner in your classes, and you need to stop now. Loner is one little letter away from loser, and you are not that. Why did we stop making friends with everyone in our classes? Seriously—in second grade, you invited your entire class to your Backstreet Boy B-day Bash and it remains the wildest rager you’ve ever thrown. Why did those days have to end? Befriend a few people in each of your classes, and you won’t only be covered on things like missed notes, you can also have study parties, which is invariably the best way to study: in party format.
Oh, and let’s not forget the opportunity for commiseration. When you think you’re screwed for an upcoming final, nothing quite pacifies you like a quick call to a friend in your class to hear that she’s totally not prepared either (is that bad?).
4. Actually show up for morning lecture
We know all your excuses, and we don’t care. You were up late partying. You can just get the notes later from a friend. You don’t learn anything in this lecture anyway. An extra hour of sleep would just be so much more beneficial. Please—your attempts at reasoning away your morning lecture are more tired than you are.
Sure, you’re exhausted, but by skipping out on morning lecture, you’re only creating more work for yourself later, whether it be listening to a recording of the professor, thus adding taking notes to your workload, or scrambling at the last minute before an exam to make up that day’s material, which you just never got around to catching up on. Get up! Greet the day! (Grab some coffee!)
5. Get excited about learning!
A good education at a North American university is something we should be incredibly grateful for, not consider a task to be checked off on the to-do list of young adulthood. It sounds clichéd, but if you look for the excitement in learning, you’ll probably find it (buried under a few textbooks, probably, but it’s there). It’s all about perspective, and a fresh outlook on your studies will help you become reinvigorated by what you’re doing, not just its necessary role in carrying you to graduation.
Field trips didn’t have to go down with high school. Take your own trips outside the classroom to places relevant to your field. If you’re in an art history class, keep tabs on touring exhibitions and take a road trip to see one. If you’re in a law class, visit the court room and observe cases for an afternoon. A college education is a privilege; try not to forget that.
For more back-to-school resolutions you can make this year, check out the complete article at HerCampus.com.
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