Despite the fact that I can hardly believe it is 2023, it’s time to begin making some New Year’s and new semester resolutions, to make 2023 the best year (and spring semester) yet. In this chapter, I’m going to be talking about the importance of setting realistic academic and wellness goals in order to reach your maximum potential while in college. The New Year is always a wonderful time, because we all get the chance to start fresh on the electrifying feeling of the unknown year ahead. Personally, I loved starting new semesters in college, because this often meant new teachers, new classrooms, classmates, and courses. Whatever struggles I had been dealing with in the past semester just didn’t seem to matter anymore, and it was time to once again restart as a new student in a brand new semester. The possibilities for this upcoming semester are endless, and if you aren’t proud of your work from last semester, don’t let that weigh you down! It’s time to start again.
If I could offer advice to my past college self, it would look a little like this: to be somewhat productive over this winter break, spend an afternoon setting goals related to improving your academic performance for the upcoming semester. It’s normal to feel some qualms about starting a new semester, but your concerns about the unknown can be countered with an organized, solutions-oriented plan for the road ahead.
Every set of academic goals is going to vary from student to student, but here are five examples to model your list off of:
- Out with the procrastination, in with the organization.
Many students struggle with procrastination when facing a parade of assignments in college. Buy yourself a brand new 2023 agenda planner, and begin your new organized life! Start by penciling in your new spring semester goals on a front page, and once classes start, begin writing down homework assignments and important dates, you’ll never miss a due date again. Make it a habit to write in your agenda daily, and check the agenda every night. If procrastination has always been something you struggle with, set a goal to have all homework assignments completed before 10:00 pm on the night prior to its due date.
- Get Involved.
Staying engaged and getting the most you can out of every experience in college is only going to make you a more well-rounded person in the future. Make it a point to raise your hand and participate at least 50% more than you did in last semester’s classes. Not only will your professors seriously appreciate this, but you will find that the course material will come much easier once you’ve participated in active related discussions in class. It’s also a wonderful idea to get involved in more on-campus clubs and intramurals in the spring semester.
- Build stronger relationships with professors.
On top of increasing in-class participation, make it a point to build solid connections with your professors, because a strong relationship with your professors will lead to trust, respect, and invaluable opportunities in the future. Consider scheduling a one-on-one meeting with each of your professors during the first week of classes, and use that time to bring your academic goals to their attention. By building positive professional relationships with your professors early in college, it’s more likely that when the time comes to apply for jobs and graduate programs, you will have access to some letters of recommendation.
- Exercise more.
A personal favorite of mine, adding more exercise into your new semester resolutions is a spectacular way to boost energy and productivity levels and achieve a healthy lifestyle. If exercise is something you’re not very used to, so problem! Start small - possibly one or two 30-minute workouts a week, and work your way up from there. Exercising is a great tool to get the blood flowing, promote positive thought, and strengthen the immune system. Hint: if you’re ever feeling too stressed out from school, take some time to get out of the dorm and go for a walk or hit the gym.
- Prepare for your professional future ahead.
This all-important academic and future-oriented goal may not seem like the most exciting on the list, but I promise, if you start focusing on this goal now, you will only be relieved in the future. Take some time this semester to set up a LinkedIn account if you haven’t already, and take advantage of your campus’ Career Services Center. Attend a resume building workshop, learn how to write an impressive cover letter, and try to attend an in-person job fair. Research potential job opportunities that could interest you post-graduation, and begin a list of ideas for potential careers that interest you. This list doesn’t have to be too extensive - you’ve got all of college to build upon it, but it’s important to start somewhere. This way, when you are asked the big question, “what are your plans post-graduation?” you will know how to handle it!
It’s my hope that you find these example goals as kick-starter ideas that will lead you towards a successful spring semester. The transition between semesters offers all college students a new opportunity to take back charge of their academic careers. When setting your new semester resolutions, make sure your goals are both realistic and achievable, but don’t be afraid to push yourself! Earning an A in your most difficult class is not impossible, in fact it’s definitely achievable, but you have to strategically apply yourself in order to get where you’re wanting to be. Here’s to a wildly successful new semester, and a fantastic 2023!