Whether you’re a newly minted freshman or a seasoned senior, the New Year presents a great opportunity to think about what you’d like to improve on for the next semester, and to do all of those things you swore you were going to do last semester, but never got around too. From fitness, to organization, there are countless New Year’s Resolutions that can help you be your best self. And guess what? MTSU’s got your back. So, without further ado, here are five of the most popular New Year’s resolutions for students and how you can get there.
1) Find Your Fit at the Campus Rec Center
Was one of your goals to get into shape? If it was, you’re not alone. According to a study from the Statistic Brain Research Institute, self-improvement and weight-related resolutions made up over 70% of all resolutions made in 2017. If you’re having trouble getting into the habit of going to the gym, though, or even just finding the time to go to the gym, the Campus Rec Center is here for you (and free with the cost of tuition!). With over 39 different group fitness classes, 40 intramural sports, 18 sports club teams, personal training classes and countless equipment to suit your every skill level, the Rec Center will have everything you need -and didn’t know you wanted- to get fit.
If you’re a beginner to the world of physical fitness, it’s a great idea to start with the Fitness Studios, one of the most popular aspects of the Rec Center. This includes the Weight Room, with both free weight exercises and plate loaded machine exercises, the Cardio Room, which is loaded with a large variety of machines like stair mills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, etc, and the Functional Fitness Room, which includes squat racks, kettlebells, TRX, core bags, and more. If you want a little more from your workouts, there are also multiple personal training and wellness programs available, with all different kinds to fit your specific needs. From the “Freshman Fit” to the “Raider Ready” program and everything in between, anything you could possibly need is available to you at a student discount.
Need to be part of a group? There are countless clubs and intramural sports available to you. With unique clubs like Climbing, Fencing, Martial Arts, and Ice Hockey, just to name a few, there are endless ways for you to get involved. And with intramural sports like Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball, and Dodgeball, the fun never ends. We even have a Quidditch team! Told you we have something for everyone.
These opportunities, and so much more are, are waiting for you in the Rec Center to help you get your New Year’s resolution from imagination to reality.
Rec Center Hours:
These hours are the normal hours throughout the semester, but may change at a moment’s notice. Always check the hours here first before you go!
2) Find The Right Organization For You
Getting organized at the beginning of the New Year is one of the hardest things to accomplish, and even more so if you’re a student. With so many syllabi, assignments, emails, and paperwork being thrown at you, sometimes it feels like a losing battle against the tide of messiness.
But staying organized during college is actually extremely important. A lack of clutter reduces the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body, and helps you eat better, stick to your workouts, and boost productivity. So how can you go about doing this, amid the stress of the school semester? Here are three easy ways:
First, keep a planner. Whether in an actual physical planner or on a calendar app on your phone, keeping an up-to-date record of your life really helps you clear your mind and keep things from slipping between the cracks. There are a variety of apps available to help you keep up with your daily chaos, like My Study Life, The Homework App, Google Keep, Microsoft OneNote, and Evernote. These will help you keep up with spontaneous plans, record all of those stray syllabi, and cut down on procrastination. But once you record your plans, stick to it- this will help you stay consistent and on the track to success. And for those who like good old-fashioned paper, a variety of wonderful planners are available here at the MTSU Bookstore!
Secondly, keep a tidy desk space. Like all students, your desk probably often ends up as the physical overflow of your hectic schedule, and sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it to clean it. But even science backs up the need to keep your desk organized: according to the Journal of Neuroscience, having too much clutter around you can overload your visual cortex and interferes with your brain’s ability to focus. So whip out those cool pencil cups, motivational posters, and file folders, and help keep the stress at bay!
Finally, try to make your sleeping/waking hours consistent. This is one of the hardest ones for students to achieve, thanks to those late-night study sessions and Starbucks runs. However, it is definitely one of the most rewarding. When you keep a regular sleep schedule, it helps regulate your ‘circadian rhythm’: the phases of sleep your body goes through. This, in turn, releases any excess cortisol and adrenaline to help you wake up feeling rested, energized, and positive.
3) Push Your Limits
New Years is the best time to step out of your comfort zone and into something amazing! As we all get into the semester, sometimes it’s hard to break out of our routines and try new things. It’s no secret that college student’s bucket lists are rather modest. I mean, how hard could it be to have a startup business in two weeks, or learn five different languages in one year? But sometimes we don’t know where to start, so we just…don’t. However, pushing your limits,even in little ways, can not only keep your days exciting and fresh, but also get you involved in amazing opportunities that you would have never seen otherwise. In fact, studies have shown that students who are involved on campus perform better on tests, go further with their education, and have a happier outlook on life. So how can you get involved?
One of the easiest and most talked about ways to get involved is to join a club or organization. Yes, we are encouraged to do this all the time, but there’s a reason for that. Joining a group of like-minded students can benefit you in so many ways- from confidence building to resume-boosting, there are endless possibilities to conquer. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll love it! There are over 300 different clubs here on campus, with topics ranging from Advertising to sword fighting, so go find your tribe!
Outside of clubs, there are things happening on campus 24/7. Challenge yourself to step out and find them! Attend a lecture on a subject you’ve never heard of, volunteer for a cause that you’ve always wanted to help with, or attend a cultural event that you know nothing about. Maybe even get a job on campus! Or, if you really want to push it, study abroad! Not only will you make connections and life-long friends, but each and every experience will help you get ready for the world around you.
4) Spend Less
Ah, the dreaded “save more money” resolution. Although organizing better finances is the third most common resolution in America, no one likes to talk about money (particularly college students.) But as a college student, there are actually many benefits you can take advantage of during your enrollment. For instance, did you know that as an MTSU student, you can get a free subscription to the New York Times? This is an amazing opportunity- and not just because the New York Times is a very prestigious news source. Reading the news keeps you up to date on the world around you, increases your vocabulary, helps you produce better work, and gives you something intelligent-sounding to talk about while awkwardly waiting in your quiet classroom.
Another free resource you can have as an MTSU student is a Lynda account. Lynda is an online training video library that has tutorials on thousands of academic subjects, like design, animation, writing, editing, web development, adobe programs, etc. It even has tip videos on job skills for your future career. Any question you could possibly think of relating to your major, chances are Lynda has the answer.
Aside from MTSU’s offers, many businesses have hefty student discounts to make your life easier. Clothing companies like Banana Republic, Forever 21, Kate Spade, and Topshop offer 10-15% off with a student ID. Tech companies like Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and Verizon offer a variety of discounts, as well as multiple news sources and insurance companies. These, and much, much more, are available for the sole reason that you are a hard-working student. Don’t let them go to waste- you deserve it!
5) Take some Me-Time
Although last on the list, this is arguably one of the most important. College can be very stressful- we all know that. A study done in 2014 by Pennsylvania State University found that anxiety has become the biggest mental health issue for college students, and the numbers are still rising. Between work, classes, commuting, studying, homework, and every other responsibility facing students, it often seems that there isn’t a single second to relax. But taking time to take care of your needs can lead to a way more productive year and better health. Self-care, as it’s dubbed, can help you prevent burnout from all of those overwhelming responsibilities plaguing you in both your school life and personal life. The key is to not think of it as a prize that has to won. Everyone deserves to take care of themselves.
One of the easiest ways to care for your body- just go outside! Not getting enough sun exposure actually causes your levels of serotonin (a hormone that affects your mood) to drop, causing sluggishness and depression. Going outside for ten to fifteen minutes a day can stimulate your body to create more serotonin, improving your mood and energy.
Secondly, drink more water. The importance of this cannot be stressed more. Even slight dehydration can ruin your day; when you’re stressed, your heart rate goes up and you breathe more heavily, which causes your body to lose fluids. And when your body loses fluids, those pesky cortisol levels go up again. Drinking water will not only keep that stress at bay, but it will also keep headaches away, improve your skin, and make you feel more energized. Water can truly only make your day better, so drink up! (And no, coffee does not count as bean water. Step away from the Starbucks.)
Lastly, do something creative. In the strict boundaries of school and academics, it’s easy to forget to let loose and be creative. But regardless of artistic talent, many of us enjoyed coloring books and crafts as children, even if we didn’t know why. Well, now we know: doing something creative is directly linked to stress relief. A study conducted by the Journal of American Art Therapy Association found that just
“45 minutes of creativity significantly lowers the amount of stress in your body.”
Letting your creative impulses take over helps you process bottled up feelings, and reflect on issues in your life that are stressing you. So forget all of those essays and applications for just a few minutes, and pick up those crayons, and make something that makes your heart happy.
New Year’s Resolutions are hard to stick with, but sometimes, they’re even harder to plan for. Giving yourself the proper knowledge to start with is the key to making better choices in the upcoming year. Test out different ideas, see what works for you, and change your habits for the better. There is literally no end to the things you can do when you’re at your best self. Good luck!