I’ll admit it: I love New Year’s Resolutions. Even if I don’t manage to stick to most past February, every year I sit down and take stock of what’s going well in my life, what I’d like to improve, and how I plan to move closer to my goals. I like having that moment of reflection, and the optimism that maybe this year will be the year I meditate every morning and always fill out my planner. For those of you in the middle of the application process, I think this is a great time to take stock of where you are now and where you want to be (I even wrote an article for the blog last year about this!), and I have a few suggestions for what some of your New Year’s Resolutions can be!
- Get organized (and stay organized!). This will look different for everyone, but if you don’t have a solid system in place for tracking events, deadlines, and to-do items, you need to develop one. I use a mixture of a physical planner and the Gmail “Tasks” Feature to prioritize my work and to schedule around meetings and other things that I have to get done. I have a friend that writes all of her tasks on Post-Its and moves them around on her wall depending on what their status is (this is called the Kanban method if you want to try it out!). It doesn’t matter what you do, it just matters that you do it. All of those application deadlines can be hard to keep track of, and
- Do one thing each day to further a long-term goal. Think of what you want to accomplish in the coming year, and each day, try to do one thing (no matter how small) every day to further that goal. If you want to learn a language, try learning one new word a day. If you want to be more active, just take one quick walk around your block a day. If you want to start graduate school, do one section of the application a day, or write one paragraph of your personal statement each day. Somedays, that small thing will be all you’re able to do, but other days, you’ll build momentum and want to keep going.
- Set and stick to a budget. Especially for those who are planning to start a program this year (or even next year), getting serious about your budget is a definite must. Conversations about money, even with yourself, can be hard! There are a ton of websites and accounts on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok that can help you through the process, so I suggest finding one that you like and sticking to their advice. The first step is always going to take an honest look at what you’re spending versus what you’re bringing in; once you know how much you have left over after necessities like bills, rent, insurance, etc, you can start budgeting according to your priorities. Money can definitely get short when you’re a full-time student (although we do have a checklist and advice for applying for financial aid on our website), so strengthening this skill now will help you in the long run.
Again, these are just a few ideas; feel free to build off of them or add your own. Happy New Year!