Happy New Year! The beginning of January is a time to put the past behind you and consider the goals and behaviors you want to embrace in the coming year while you’re earning your degree online. Here are some resolutions to consider:
Stick to Your Study Schedule
If you’re like most students, you have obligations in addition to your coursework. You want to spend time with your friends and your family, and you have a lot of responsibilities at work. The beginning of the year is an ideal time to set aside blocks of time to complete your assignments and meet virtually with your fellow students.
There are a number of scheduling apps available, some of which may work well for you. Calendar features can be found on most smartphones or tablets; web-based calendar services like Google Calendar are easy to use and free.
Take Courses Outside of Your Major
While you’re committed to a specific course of study, make it a goal to broaden your educational horizons and take a class or two outside the topic. This could mean classes in art history, literature, geography, creative writing or political science, subjects considered part of a liberal arts curriculum. Electives may be mandatory, so choose something that interests you.
Studying liberal arts may help you develop communication and critical thinking skills. Martha J. Kanter, former undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education, said in a 2010 address that liberal arts are critical for prosperous democracy, can help graduates in the job market and demonstrate how different academic disciplines are interconnected.
Get Plenty of Sleep
You may feel the need to stay up late at night or wake up early every day to tackle your assignments. But getting enough sleep is important to be successful while in college. A study from Chegg, an online textbook rental company, found that 59% of students believe that getting more sleep can result in better academic performance. The National Institute on Aging says that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night to function well the next day. The Mayo Clinic provides some tips for better sleep:
- Create a sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- Don’t eat too much, or too little, before going to bed.
- Make your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
- Exercise daily, but not right before bedtime.
- Take steps to manage your stress so thoughts don’t keep you up at night.
Some people put everything off to the last minute. Some of these people even rationalize this behavior, telling themselves that they do their best work under pressure. But what happens when something else crops up at the last minute? Or when you’ve underestimated the time it takes to take a class or complete an assignment? Harvard Business Review offers five ways to overcome procrastination:
- Try to think differently about the task, perhaps even turning it into a game.
- Work within your “resistance level,” changing the amount of time you spend on a project to how capable you are to manage it.
- Just do anything – even take a small step – to get started.
- List all the negative effects related to your procrastination, so you can see clearly how it is affecting you.
- Put aside distractions (especially digital ones).