We’ve officially turned the page on a new year – which means it’s time for a fresh start! As you prepare for everything 2023 will bring, take a moment to reflect on the changes you’d like to see in your life.
If you’re feeling stuck in your job, and are daydreaming about finding fulfilling work, you may be among the 22% of Canadians making a resolution related to their career or education this year. New Year’s resolutions can be a strong source of motivation as you welcome a big change into your life. Visualizing what the “new you” looks like will help you refresh your sense of purpose and direction.
For those of you returning to school this year to fulfill your dreams, we’ve put together a list of 5 inspiring resolutions for students. (Be sure to explore our blog on healthy habits as well, if you’re planning to adopt a healthier lifestyle in 2023!)
Preparing for the New Year
You may have heard that 80% of people give up their New Year’s resolutions in February, but don’t let this statistic discourage you. Here are some tips for making resolutions that last:
- Choose resolutions that create more of something in your life, rather than restricting yourself
- Stay accountable by sharing your resolutions with friends and family
- Write your resolutions down somewhere you can see them every day
- Remind yourself of the “why” behind your resolutions when you’re tempted to give up
- Let go of perfectionism; if you stray from your resolutions, try again tomorrow!
Now that you have the tools for staying committed, here are our top 5 resolutions for career college students:
1. Raise Your Hand in Class More Often
Asking questions and participating in class discussions is an important part of learning. Class participation helps you gain confidence as a public speaker and enhances your understanding of the material.
Some students fear that asking a question or sharing an opinion in class will open them up to judgement from their instructor and peers. Rather than critiquing your contributions, your classmates are likely to appreciate hearing an opinion they hadn’t considered before (or receiving the answer to a question they were too nervous to ask).
Keep in mind that, in addition to in-person and virtual classrooms, your program may include independent learning modules. In this case, it’s especially important to reach out to your instructor when you need clarification about readings and assignments.
Ultimately, raising your hand in class or reaching out to your instructor privately shows you’re a committed student and will create a more rewarding learning experience. Instructors love supporting your success by answering your questions and hearing your comments!
2. Create a Time Management Plan
It’s noon and you have an assignment due at midnight…but first, your house could use a deep clean. Then it’s time to pick up the kids, make dinner, and do bedtime activities. Before you know it, you’re cramming a couple hours of work into 30 minutes, just to meet your deadline. If this situation sounds familiar, you may benefit from a new time management approach.
We all procrastinate for different reasons, from perfectionism to feeling overwhelmed by a busy lifestyle. Developing a time management plan will make it easier to prioritize important tasks and stay on schedule, even when your heart is telling you to pull out the cleaning supplies instead of sitting down to study.
Here’s how you can improve your time management skills in 5 easy steps:
- Create a list of your assignments and tests and break each item into tasks.
- Determine how much time you’ll need to complete each specific task and add this information to your list.
- Mark down daily obligations (like school pickup) and special events (like birthday parties) in your calendar. Note the time frames when you’ll be able to focus on schoolwork.
- Add in assignment and test deadlines on the appropriate days. Then, fill in each task you’ll work on during your focus hours. Remember to account for the time each task will take.
- Set a timer while you work to keep track of time. If you find yourself going over your time limit, ask why the task is taking longer and if the extra time you’re spending is adding value.
As you adopt your new time management plan, remember to incorporate positive reinforcement as well. When you complete a task, take a moment to celebrate – and cross it off your list!
How to Manage Time Between Studying and Working
Working while attending college is possible – especially if you manage your time well. In addition to writing out a time management plan, it will be important for you to:
Communicate clearly with instructors, friends, and family members so everyone is on the same page. Instructors will be able to support you better if they know your situation, while friends and family members may need advance notice about changes to your availability.
Set boundaries to avoid burnout. It’s okay to say “no” to a request if you don’t have the capacity and it’s not a priority.
Ask for help when you need it. This could be an extension on a project, a day off work to study, or help from your partner with grocery shopping and cooking. Use the support network available to you.
3. Be Patient with Yourself
It’s easy to feel discouraged when you don’t understand a new topic right away or you make a mistake during a lab session. During these moments of frustration, try to remember that learning is a process. If you knew everything, you would have no reason to be in school.
Instead of ruminating on the errors you’ve made, focus on the future. What are you doing to better grasp the material for next class? How can you avoid making this mistake a second time?
Patience and resiliency – rather than instant perfection – will go a long way toward helping you walk across that graduation stage.
4. Set Realistic Goals for Your Studies
Like New Year’s resolutions, setting goals provides milestones to work towards and achievements to celebrate. This helps you stay motivated over the long term.
Try to make a habit of setting realistic goals at the start of each new course or semester – and pay attention to the key word here: realistic. While setting the goal of achieving 100% on every test and assignment is optimistic, it’s not necessarily very helpful.
When setting an academic goal, think about your past performance, how you’d like to do better, and why. For example, maybe you usually score in the 60% to 70% range on tests, and you’d like to aim for an average of 80%. Or better yet, perhaps you decide to focus on improving a specific skillset, like crafting strong answers to long-form questions. You’re more likely to achieve your goals if they are realistic and resonate with something you care about.
You could even take your goal setting a step further by using the SMART goal method – more on that topic here.
5. Challenge Yourself to Try New Things
Self-compassion and a realistic outlook are important traits for success in college, but there are also times when you’ll need to step outside your comfort zone. You’re in school to learn, which requires a healthy dose of curiosity. With that in mind, here are a few new things you may want to try this year:
- Make new friends by starting a conversation with a classmate
- Volunteer for an extracurricular club or committee
- Network with professionals in your industry
- Learn to love a subject you previously disliked
- Connect with the Career Services team to prepare for your future job search
Start Your Brighter Future in 2023
Is your New Year’s resolution finding a career you love? The Sundance College team of industry-experienced instructors, academic advisors, and Career Services mentors will help you get there.
Take our Career Quiz to discover your perfect opportunity.