By DeVry University
It’s that time again, when we look back over the past 12 months and set goals for the coming year. The exciting part is that New Year’s resolutions can be about anything – from getting in shape to visiting a bucket list travel destination.
As a student, earning your diploma might be topping your list. Whether that’s in your plans for this year or the future, remember that there are also many smaller New Year’s resolutions for students you can set for the next 12 months that can support your education and help you work toward success in your program. How to Choose New Year’s Resolutions
No one is all one thing. You’re not just a student, you’re also a family member, a friend and a unique human being. Building toward success includes cultivating a growth mindset while you focus on both your personal and education goals. As you decide which New Year’s resolutions are right for you, tie in your education journey with your larger personal growth and be sure to make room for self-care.
Here are some of our favorite New Year’s resolutions for students.
1. Give Yourself a Break
Students are busy people, and you might even feel like you thrive on activity. Still, everyone needs downtime. Think of your brain like a sponge. It can quickly soak up large amounts of information, but eventually it gets saturated and needs some time to dry before you get back to work. There are parts of your brain that actually work best when you are relaxing rather than focusing.
Consider setting a New Year’s resolution to carve out downtime at least once a week. Avoid filling that time with activities that require too much focus. Turn off the TV, stay off social media and avoid reading or doing puzzles during your downtime. Instead, go for a walk, sit and listen to nature or find a comfortable spot in your house to settle into and let your mind wander. Gently explore where it goes, rather than targeting your attention on anything specific.
2. Ask for Help When You Need It
Have you ever heard the saying, “no one is an island”? You may be extremely good or self-sufficient at many things, but no one is an expert on everything and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you might like to do by yourself.
At some point in your career, you may work in a management or leadership position. The ability to delegate tasks is an important leadership skill. You can start to build your ability to delegate now by learning to ask for help. Assistance can come in many forms and from many different people in your life. For example, you might ask your partner to prepare dinner on nights when you have class, reach out to your professor with questions about an assignment or ask the career services department at your school for help finding your first job in your chosen field.
3. Challenge Yourself
It can be tempting to stick with that’s familiar in life, from signing up for classes that you know you’ll do well in to staying in a job that is easy, yet no longer fulfilling. But if you never challenge yourself, you’ll never know what you’re capable of. Throughout your career and your life, you’ll need to understand how to calculate risks and take on new challenges.
In the New Year, resolve to challenge yourself. Say yes to new opportunities or enroll in classes that will require a lot of effort. Don’t forget about personal challenges. Maybe you’ve always wanted to skydive or take a backpacking trip. Consider setting a goal of achieving one personal challenge, one school-related challenge and one career challenge for the upcoming year.
4. Try Something New
Along with the ability to assess risk and take on challenges, working toward career goals also involves the willingness to try new things. Increasing the breadth of your knowledge and experiences can not only help make you a more well-rounded student, but a more developed employee and human being. And since networking is such an important aspect of career growth, you might have the opportunity to find a meaningful connection while taking part in a new activity.
Trying new things can involve any aspect of your life, from school to work to home. Take a course outside of your major or field of study. Join a book club. Visit a new city. What you decide to do isn’t nearly as important as going through the process of gaining new experiences.
5. Learn a New Skill
Learning new skills can help to keep you sharp and mentally flexible. The more you can build your skillset in or outside of your core area of focus, the more experience you can present to employers as a job candidate. Try developing your soft skills, like communication and time management, learn a new language or pick up hard skills in an area related to your major.
6. Find a Mentor
A mentor is someone experienced in your industry who takes on the role of a coach, advisor and friend. A mentor wants to see you succeed and has the skills and experience to help guide your path. You don’t necessarily need a mentor to find success, but having one can help you learn to avoid common mistakes and carve out a career path that is uniquely yours. Mentors give guidance, support and motivation, but are careful not to tell you what to do. Instead, their job is to help you find your own voice and come to your own conclusions.
Although volunteer work can be great while you’re building your resume, continuing to volunteer, especially in or with others from your industry, can also be beneficial. You’ll have the chance to network with people in your field, gain new skills and experience. If possible, try to connect with and offer your services to a known company or nonprofit group. Certain volunteer projects may even help build your portfolio, which is important for writers, web developers and others in creative fields.
8. Update Your Resume
Updating your resume can take work, but it’s an important step that can help you demonstrate your skills and abilities to employers when you’re job hunting. Your resume serves as a brief introduction, showing off who you are and why you feel you’re the right fit for a position. This year, make a resolution to update your resume whenever you gain new skills or experience. Be sure to tailor it to each position for which you apply, using keywords based on the job description and highlighting your most relevant skills and experience.
While you’re at it, take a look at your cover letter. A solid cover letter should go beyond the information on your resume, explaining how your background and your personality come together to make you a great candidate for the job. Like your resume, you’ll need to tweak your cover letter for each employer, but creating an updated template can help save time instead of starting from scratch and ensure that you’ve included all the important details in each draft.
9. Earn a Credential
If you’re not yet enrolled in school, consider pursuing a credential that can be completed in under a year. At DeVry University, some of our undergraduate certificates can be earned in as little as 8 months, or even more quickly with qualifying transfer credits1. This can be especially useful if you’re currently in the workforce, as certificates are a way to encapsulate your growing skillset and show employers that you’re ready to take on new responsibilities.
Explore different options to determine what makes sense for you. For example, if you’re currently working in the business field or hoping to break into it, you might consider our Undergraduate Certificate in Business Essentials. This certificate can help you develop a solid grounding in key business skills such as accounting and data analytics.
Undergraduate certificates can also be a great starting point. For example, you can use a certificate as a steppingstone on the way to earning your bachelor’s degree at DeVry. For example, earning our Undergraduate Certificate in the Internet of Things (IoT) can work as a building block for our Bachelor's Degree Specialization in Mobile and Networked Devices2.
Ultimately, your New Year’s resolutions should be about working toward your personal, professional and education goals. Earning credentials, gaining experience and updating your resume can all be helpful, but so can taking risks, making space for downtime and learning to ask for help. Take some time to analyze what went well for you this year and set your goals for what you hope to achieve in the next.
Ready For the New Year?
For many people, going back to school is their New Year’s resolution. At DeVry, we offer a variety of degree and certificate programs, many of which can be explored through hybrid or 100% online learning.
From academic tutoring3 to robust career services, we’ll do everything we can to support you as you prepare to take the next steps into your future. Classes start every 8 weeks.