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Five ways to prepare for the new year as a university student

The new year is the perfect time to reset and start again with good habits and a new outlook, so here are our top five tips to prepare for January

    Grace McCabe's avatar

    Grace McCabe

    Content Writer, THE Student
    December 28 2022
    woman writing new years goals on a notepad in front of a christmas tree


    While we don’t really think you need to make new year’s resolutions or to start changing your entire way of life once January comes around, it is often a good time to take stock of the previous year and think about little steps you can take to prep for a new term.

    Here are five easy ways that you can prepare for the new semester and the new year. 

    1. Review the past year and plan for the new term 

    This is the perfect time to consider what went well and what you could improve on in the past year. Perhaps you found a new way of studying or were able to free up time to read once a week, which has helped you previously and you would like to continue.  

    On the other hand, maybe an assignment or test didn’t turn out as you’d hoped. Reflect on why it didn’t work out the way you wanted and find out a way to improve on that for next year. Consider your schedule, add in time for studying, important dates and time to rest, too. You’ll find yourself jumping into the new term with new goals and new wishes. Remember to keep your goals and new year’s resolutions SMART (strategic, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) to help you achieve them. 

    2. Try habit stacking 

    New habits can take a while to embed into your daily routine, so habit stacking is a great way to integrate new practices. This is when you link a new habit you want to develop to a habit you already have.

    Think of something that you already do most days (such as brushing your teeth or drinking a cup of coffee in the morning) and link it with a habit that you would like to do more of. Your course may require a lot of reading, but you might find it difficult to fit it all in. Commit to doing some course reading while you have your morning coffee.

    Or you may want to improve your language listening skills. Why not combine that with your habit of watching TV or films in the evening? You can change the language or subtitles on many streaming sites, which will allow you to practise and develop this new habit. 

    3. Get a head start on organising for the new year 

    With a few days off over the Christmas break, it’s a good time to evaluate your space and see if you can tidy it up in any way. If there are any textbooks you aren’t using, you can donate or sell them. Go through your notes and file them away neatly or get rid of any you no longer need.

    You may find cleaning the virtual clutter refreshing, too. Whether it’s the 743 unread emails in your inbox or the many drafts of your essays that need to be organised, you can use this time to streamline your work and ensure you are fully prepared to start your classes. 

    Finally, why not take the time to organise your class items, sports kit, important documents and other items that you will be using every day once term starts again? Future you will thank you once exams start and you have less time on your hands. 

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    4. Review your finances 

    The holidays are busy with lots of events, visits, gifts to buy and nights out. As a result, many of us start the new year with a tighter budget than before. This is a good time to sit down and plan your monthly budget again and understand your financial goals. Why not check out our easy budgeting tips for university to help you get started. 

    5. Look for work experience 

    The new year is a great time to start looking for work experience in your local area. Many people will be focused on getting back to university and starting the new term. You can get ahead by contacting businesses you are interested in and checking in with your university as soon as possible to get to the top of the list when an opportunity presents itself. 

    Remember that work experience comes in many forms. You can volunteer within the industry you want to work in, you can take a part-time job, you can do a limited time placement or even discuss an apprenticeship/internship. Whichever way, the new year is a time to try new things, so have a look at what is out there for you.  

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