Happy New Year everyone! We often see this time of the year as the start of a new beginning of sorts; a clean slate. It is a chance for us all to recognize bad habits and make a change for the better. As a student, there is always room for improvement and what better time than now to get started. Below you will find a list of 5 great new years resolutions for students.

1. Get more sleep. Sleep is extremely important and will only become increasingly hard to come by as you get older. Tired students lack attention in class, lack motivation to do work and lack energy to have fun. On the whole, getting more sleep will make you a more productive individual. If you find it hard to fall asleep, try picking up a sport and getting some physical activity in during your day. Reading before bed also helps. Even though watching TV and playing video games in moderation isn’t an issue, doing so before bed won’t do you any favours when trying to fall asleep. So maybe pairing this resolution with another resolution reducing the time spent watching TV or playing video games would be a good idea!

2. Experience new things. As a high school, CEGEP or even University student, finding ways to become more well rounded is as important as getting good marks. After all, these are the traits that will define you for years to come. Marks will get you to where you need to be, but your life experiences and wisdom are what will really help you excel and distinguish yourself. Try developing leadership by joining some clubs at your school (school newspaper, debate club, prom committee, year book committee, the list goes on…). Working as a camp counsellor during the summer is also a great way to do this. Pick up a new instrument to help develop your creative side. Read books, write stories, join a sports team, make new friends, be active.

3. Find balance. It is easy to get caught up in getting the best marks possible and being the best of the best in everything. Those are definitely great things and I wish anyone who values this good luck, but beware. Stress, anxiety, unhappiness may start creeping up on you. It’s always good to take a step back and really evaluate your state of mind. Accomplishments are great, but not if they come at the expense of your happiness. Find balance. If you find yourself doing simply too much school work, take a night off and have an evening with your friends. Having a good social life will help provide emotional support in times of need.  

4. Volunteer. Volunteering is one of those things that is good for so many reasons. You feel great and accomplished afterwards; you learn important applied skills (leadership, hands on work, time management); you develop contacts for the future and so forth. Not to mention, often schools ask for volunteer work and it looks great on a resumé. Public libraries, national parks, coaching a team, retirement homes are all great ways to get started.  

5. Take some time to think of the future. If you’re in high school, it’s never a bad idea to make an appointment with the guidance counsellor and have a talk. I’m not suggesting you figure out the next 6 years of your life in great detail, but getting an idea of what’s next is always good. The application process for CEGEPs and Universities can be complicated as well as knowing which classes you need to take. A guidance counsellor can help clear all this up for you. This will help you get some perspective and well as some peace of mind.