Want better grades in 2020? Then make an academic New Year's resolution!
Harnessing the excitement of a New Year (and, possibly, a new semester) to meet your goals can help you make new friends, pad your resume, and, ultimately make you a smarter and more effective student.
What's more, most academic New Year's resolutions are fun and pretty easy to stick to. Try one (or more!) of these resolutions to ace your courses in 2020.
1. Manage Your Procrastination
We all put things off every once in a while – but if you're constantly finding yourself rushing to meet deadlines, you're putting yourself under way more stress than you need to.
And 2020 is the perfect time to change.
So resolve to limit your procrastination next year. It's probably simpler than you think. When you get a new assignment, break it into into mini-deadlines – you'll get the outline done by X date, finish the research by Y and finish the first draft on Z. You can procrastinate ahead of any of those deadlines. But as long as you still meet them, your final assignment won't be rushed.
2. Speak Up in Class
Sure, you probably spend most of your time in class listening. But speaking up every now and then can enhance your learning experience (and get you better grades!). Make a resolution to ask questions when you aren't sure you understand something.
And if you do already get it? Resolve to ask the teacher expansive or follow-up questions once a week or so – you'll get to learn the study material more in-depth and find out more about what you're truly interested in.
3. Take Time for Your Health
Chances are, you're no stranger to healthy New Year's resolutions. But you should think about healthy habits as academic goals, too. A healthy diet nourishes your mind and body, so you can learn more effectively in class, while staying active can improve your mental health (and could potentially make some academic struggles, like anxiety, a bit better).
4. Organize Your Notes
Ever sat down for a last-minute cram session, only to realize you're missing some key class notes? Don't let it happen in 2020!
Resolve to set up a filing system for your notes so they're always easy to access. If you take notes on your laptop or tablet, it's easy – just set up a series of folders for each class, organized by unit, so you can always find what you need. And if you're more into pen and paper? Make sure your notes get into your binder ASAP after class, so they're there when you need them.
5. Take the Elective You've Always Wanted
Let's face it: Focusing on science in school can be time-consuming! Between math, chemistry, physics and other science courses, chances are you have more compulsory courses than your friends studying English, which leaves less room for electives.
So make it a goal this year to take a course you've always been interested in, but never had the time for. Not only can a completely new course introduce you to new ways of thinking – so you're more creative when you're back in your science classes – but stepping out of your comfort zone will make you a smarter student.
6. Join a New Club
The benefits of getting out of your comfort zone? They apply to activities and clubs, too! So make it a point to find an activity that suits your interests and try it out this year. Not only will you learn new skills – whether that's salsa dancing, rowing, debate or something else entirely – but you'll make new friends, too, which is always a bonus.
7. Recognize and Manage Anxiety
We've all dealt with some form of anxiety related to school – but there's a big difference between a few nerves before a test and feeling paralyzed with fear. If you've been struggling with anxiety, and you notice your nerves are getting in the way of your performance at school, 2020 is the time to take action.
Everyone's anxiety is different; unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. But talking to an academic counsellor can help, and taking the time to stay active and eat healthy could help manage your nerves.
We're here to help, too. Check out these tips on tackling test and exam anxiety, and you're well on your way to an (almost) worry-free 2020.
About the Author
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Before launching her writing business, she worked as a TA and tutored students in biology, chemistry, math and physics.