The New School Year Resolutions You Should Make This Semester
Wear what you want
I spent way too many nights of my college career tugging at my bandage dress, limping home – strappy heels in hand – and not having fun because I felt uncomfortable in what I thought I was “supposed to wear.”
You want to know what I was wearing on one of my most favorite for-the-books college party nights? Mom jeans (before they were actually cool), a denim blouse to match and white loafers from Goodwill – it was Halloween and my friends and I took the opposite of the sexy (insert predominately male profession here) route and dressed as the SNL Mom Jeans skit.
Why did I have so much fun? Because I was comfortable and although, I probably looked ridiculous, I wasn’t worried about my beer gut showing through my skintight dress or whining because my feet hurt.
Just because everyone else wears one thing out to the bars or to class doesn’t mean you have to follow suit – literally. When “you do you,” you’ll have the most fun. Trust me.
Stop trying to look hot, and start trying to look like you. The fun will follow. (PS, you are hot).
Make friends the old-fashioned way
Social media and cell phones are pretty amazing – right? But they also add the false sense that we don’t need new friends (#nonewfriends anyone?) because we can stay connected to any friend we want, no matter what time zone they’re in or continent they might be on.
But we shouldn’t use our ability to connect virtually as our excuse to not connect personally.
You want to really take someone off guard? Ask them out for a cup of coffee in person. (say what?!)
That’s right. The girl in your Spanish class who shared her notes with you that one time you were sick, who’s also obsessed with Chris Pratt – ask her to hang after class or study together. IRL friendships are the best, most real kind of friendships.
The worst thing that could happen? You’ll get turned down and move on. The best thing that could happen? You’ll gain a new friend for life. I’d say the positives outweigh the negatives in this one.
Save where you can
You’re in college, so chances are you’re broke.
But there are so many easy, little ways you can start saving a buck or ten a week by simply… making your coffee at home instead of splurging on Starbucks everyday (but do splurge once in awhile), skipping your last drink at the bars for a water (your wallet and hangover will thank you), pledging to do a no-new-clothes semester and just borrowing from friends instead – there are so many small ways you can save here and there. Figure out your needs vs. your wants vs. your could-do-withouts.
Because, the more you save the more you can….
Splurge on what matters
When you’re a broke college girl, the best things you’ll ever spend money on are a good parka (if you go to school above the Mason-Dixon line that is) and experiences.
That senior year trip to Vegas… you don’t want to have to say no because you blew all your cash on Kylie Lip Kits and fancy chai tea lattes.
The best splurges come when you’re least expecting them, so if you can build a little wiggle room/splurge fund in your budget, you’ll be able to jump at the opportunities when they arise.
Throw out your “skinny” clothes
You know what I’m talking about. The dress hanging in your closet that doesn’t zip anymore you use as “motivation.”
Newsflash: your body changes a lot in your college years. Yes, beer and pizza and dorm buffets might be a factor, but many women’s bodies change drastically during our peak “child bearing” years. It’s natural.
Eat well and stay active because it helps you sleep better, focus more and is an incredible stress-release – and we all know there’s no shortage of stress in college.
Stop trying to “get your body back” and focus on just being happy and healthy. College is too short to not indulge in a dollar slice of pepperoni once in awhile.
Truth bomb: dating in college kinda sucks.
Okay okay, some very lucky few find “the ones” in their collegiate years (my parents and older sister are proof of that) but the majority of us will not end up with our college flings. And that’s perfectly fine.
But what’s not fine is leaving college not totally, completely, head-over-heels in love with yourself.
Relationships come and go, but the one relationship that will be around no matter if you like it or not is your relationship with yourself. And you can hate yourself, or love yourself (I suggest the latter) but you’re stuck with you.
So learn to love yourself. How does any dating relationship start? With a date – or “hanging out.” Make a vow to take yourself on a date at least once a month. Extra points for once a week.
Sip a latte and read a book at your favorite coffee shop, go on a nature walk, get dressed up and go out for a fancy dinner with you and your hot self.
Will it be uncomfortable? Maybe. But that’s the point.
Learning to be alone can feel, well, lonely. But it’s a big step in getting to know you and learning to love the amazing person you are.
Practice daily gratitude
Each day, whether it’s right when you wake up, or right before your head hits the pillow, write down 3 (or more) things that you’re grateful for in a journal.
No matter how terrible your day might have been, nothing brings you back like a dose of perspective and the realization of just how lucky you are. The items can be as simple as the smell of coffee or your best friend’s laugh, to as deep as the ability to get an education or freedom of speech and religion.
You’ll realize your problems, though still important and valid, are overcome-able.
Join a club out of your comfort zone
That club you heard the name of and were like, “wait, we have a club for brewing beer in your apartment?!” – join it.
What is college if not a free-for-all to explore and discover topics, hobbies, groups, friends, etc. that you never knew existed? And join the club on your own. Don’t wait for a friend to do it with you – although if you can find an obliging one, the more the merrier.
You might find you thought the club was “weird” because it’s really not your thing – or you may find yourself mixing IPAs in your bathtub with a new passion.
Go tech-free for one day a week
Okay, so this one could be tricky. Especially because for college now, you need technology to be a student.
But I dare you to try and go tech-free for one day a week. Saturday or Sunday would work best.
And by tech free I mean no social media, no computer (except for homework or studying), no phone (put it on airplane mode), no Spotify – how would that change your life? Would you gain back hours you don’t know what to do with? Maybe you’ll realize how dependent we are on technology or how much time you waste just aimlessly checking Snapchat stories. Would you feel less FOMO? Less social anxiety?
Try it and see what happens.
Thank goodness for Netflix. I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m not currently watching Gilmore Girls all the way through for the second time this month…I mean it’s less of a show, more of a lifestyle, right?
But we’re so easy to fall into the “I’m just going to chill out and watch Netflix tonight” trap.
Before you throw my own advice back at me “but you said to spend more time alone!” let me explain what I mean.
Yes, chill alone time is so important and necessary. When you need a night off, by all means, take a night off.
But how many times do we pass up plans, not really cause we’re super tired, but because we’re socially not sure of what we’re walking in to. Choosing Orville Redenbacher and Stranger Things because you’re slightly uneasy about the other option.
I’m three years post-college, and trust me, I’m running out of Netflix series to watch. You’ll have all the time in the world to veg out later.
But while you’re surrounded by people your age, parties to boot, dorm room movie nights and late-night fast-food runs, take advantage of it.
Also, it doesn’t mean you can’t Netflix with other people – some of my best nights of my freshman year were spent with girls in my dorm belly laughing at Summer Heights High (if you haven’t seen it, watch it!). Just don’t hole up by your lonesome because you’re not 100% in your comfort zone. College is about stepping outside of it.
Set a goal
Okay, so technically “resolutions” are all somewhat goals. But pick a personal goal of something you want to achieve by the end of the semester – something achievable.
A yoga move you’ve been dying to master, to stop biting your nails, drinking more water – what’s a skill you can easily master or good habit you can gain easily in the span of a few months. Pick something that’s not too difficult to incorporate into your day-to-day, just something that needs mindfulness to keep it up.
This is going to be your best year yet. I just know it.
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