Who doesn’t love a fresh start? Do-overs give us a chance to redeem ourselves. Maybe that’s why more than 40 percent — almost half — of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Yet, less than 10 percent sustain their goals past month two. Why is keeping promises to ourselves so hard?
The good news: It’s probably not because of laziness. The better news: By approaching them with genuine intent and a defined plan, we can achieve our New Year’s resolutions and stay committed to them for a full 12 months (or longer).
The first step to setting your 2019 New Year’s resolutions is to decide not just what you want to change, but what you are ready and willing to change. Be realistic about your goals and expectations, or you may get discouraged and give up.
For many students, college is the first time they’ve been away from home — away from family, friends, and the routines they’re used to. Feeling lonely and overwhelmed is understandable. But it’s not necessary.
Our first reachable resolution to consider this year: Get more involved. There are multiple ways to branch out, meet new people, pick up an old hobby, or discover a new one. Connecting on campus helps build a community of peers that can support you, a network of profs that can mentor you, and may even build your self-confidence and improve your chances for future success.
Take these steps to get more involved and engaged in your college community in 2019.
#1 Attend on-campus activities
There’s always something to do on campus — like attending a sporting game or bringing the popcorn to movie night. Some on-campus activities are just for fun, while others can help you build valuable career skills. Check out our calendar of activities, and save a few to your phone or planner.
#2 Join a club with like-minded peers
What’s your passion? We probably have a club for it — from art and creative writing to business and accounting to ultimate Frisbee and so much more. If we don’t already have a club that interests you, start your own. It’s easy to make new friends when you share common interests. Clubs and organizations also let you diversify your contacts and meet students outside of your immediate social circle and residence hall.
#3 Volunteer at events
All college campuses host a variety of activities and events for students and planning them takes time and often extra hands. Even if you aren’t able to commit to joining a club full-time, you can find temporary opportunities to contribute. Participating in service projects or campus event planning is a great way to branch out and get to know other students you may not have ever talked with.
#4 Form a study group
Hitting the books is a necessary part of college — why not make it a little more fun? Find a specific day and time each week to meet and study with your classmates. Not only will you get to learn from and help each other, but you can also cultivate new friendships.
BONUS WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
Hang out where people gather
The Eagles Nest, located in the lower level of the Leever Student Center, is a great place to relax and enjoy the company of fellow students. You’ll find the campus movie theater here, along with a pool table, air hockey table, Ping-Pong table, and pinball machines.
Take advantage of on-campus learning resources
If you find yourself struggling with your coursework, find out what your college offers in terms of tutoring. The peer tutors and professional staff in the Post University Learning Center work one-on-one with students to help them with any and all materials they’re having trouble with. Tutors can also provide help with organizational skills, essay writing, and research-writing techniques.
Get to know your professors
Make it a point to introduce yourself to all of your instructors at the start of class. Share your educational goals with them. Let them know what you hope to get from their classes. Not only might your professors turn into invaluable mentors for you, they can also serve as academic references for grad school or employment opportunities.
Two big payoffs for getting involved in your college community
Although it feels a bit counterintuitive, the more involved you get with campus activities, the better your chances of succeeding academically. In other words, more free time does not always mean better grades.
Several studies have shown that students who are more engaged in the campus community and do more than focus solely on their studies enjoy higher academic performance. One study conducted at Purdue University during the fall 2009 semester looked at the grade point average (GPA) of undergraduate students to determine if there was a relationship between student involvement and GPA. The students were divided into three groups:
- General students
- Student organization members
- Student organization officers
The results indicated “a relationship between involvement and GPA, with student organization officers earning a significantly higher GPA than regular members of the organizations, and student organization members earning a significantly higher GPA than the general student population.”
Another great reason to get involved in clubs and organizations on campus is that you might just discover a new career path. Maybe you come into school with your mind set on majoring in math, but you develop such a passion for business after joining the Business Society, you decide to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. This bodes well for your graduation prospects.
Inside Higher Ed reports that research performed using tens of thousands of college students found “those who were open to change their major were more likely to graduate than those who decided right away.”