Hannah: 11 Ways to Be a Better College Student in the New Semester

The New Year is all about resolutions.  It’s out with the old and in with the new you.  But if you’re like me, you know not to set unreachable goals.  You need to keep your expectations somewhat close to reality, so that you don’t get too discouraged and completely abandon your new and improved habits.  This is why I like to keep it vague.  If you set the goal, “Be a better person,” you could technically accredit all the little random acts of kindness you do as sticking to your resolutions.  Which is much easier than pledging to exercise or complete a long-term project.

I also like to keep this New York Times article in my back pocket as a reference to keep me on track to Be A Better Person in the New Year.  And with the spring semester off to a fresh start at BU, I decided it’s not a bad idea to apply these life guidelines to college as well.  Inspired by the NYT piece, here’s 11 Ways to Be a Better College Student in the New Semester.

  1. NYT says:  Live Like Bill

I say:  Live Like Howard Thurman

While I agree that the late fashion photog Bill Cunningham had the right idea about life (if you haven’t seen the documentary about him, go do that now!), I like to live by Howard Thurman’s words.  Thurman, a civil rights leader, former STH professor and former dean of Marsh Chapel said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

  1. NYT says: You Are What You Wear

I say: You Test How You Dress

Whenever I take tests in sweats, I struggle to keep my eyes open.  It feels like I’m wearing PJs to the exam.  I don’t have scientific evidence to back this up, but it’s my firm belief that to feel confident to do well on an exam, you should dress for success.

  1. NYT says: Ask Your Betrothed the Big Questions

I say: Ask Your Professor the Small Questions

There are no dumb questions.  If you don’t want to raise your hand in the middle of class to ask your professor a question, stop by his or her office hours.  If you don’t understand something, there’s no shame in getting some clarification.

  1. NYT says: Start a Bromosexual Relationship

I say:  Get to Know Someone Different From You

The article says some of the best friendships are with people who have different romantic preferences from you.  And I think at BU, it’s pretty easy to stick to hanging out with the same exact people—the ones in your major, on your team, in your sorority.  If you make the effort to break out of your bubble a little, you could end up with some seriously interesting friendships.

  1. NYT says: Try Tinder for Love

I say:  Try Tinder for Fun

People are getting really creative with social networks and even dating apps to bring people together.  Apparently, Tinder can now be used to find people to hang out in groups.  My friend needed subs on his co-ed intramural soccer team to fill in, so he put out a request on Tinder for a couple of girls to join the game.  I’ll check back on how that worked out for him.

  1. NYT says: Get Rid of Stuff

I say: Get Rid of Old Stuff in Your Backpack

You’ve had that in there for how long? Over the course of last semester, my tote bag collected a heap of gum wrappers, receipts, pennies, and chapsticks.  Clean out your school bag to start off a new semester feeling organized.

  1. NYT says: Seat the Bores Together

I say:  Pick Somewhere New to Sit

I don’t know how often the average college student hosts a large dinner party, but most of us stick to the same dining halls or the same table in the GSU, even the same seats in class. Try out a new row—maybe the change in scenery will keep your interest up or introduce you to a new study partner.

  1. NYT says: Pay Attention

I say: Pay Attention

Yeah. I think they got this one right. I know I need to stop adding to my online shopping bag, and instead pay attention in class; stop trying to text while I walk, and rather take note of what’s around me.  Life moves fast and I don’t want to miss it.

  1. NYT says: Iron Your Clothes

I say:  Wear Gym Clothes to Class

I don’t even own an iron.  But, I do own some athleisure clothes, and I find that if I wear them to class—particularly my classes near FitRec—I’m more likely to stop by for a HIIT session instead of heading straight home, never to make it back to the gym that day.  Wear training shoes and leggings to class, and you’ll have no excuse not to work out after.

  1. NYT says: Send That Condolence Note

I say: And All Other Kinds of Notes

Condolence notes are hard to send.  But you know what’s not?  A ripped-out notebook page note to your pal sitting next to you to make him laugh during lecture.  Or a Boston postcard for your mom to let her know you’re thinking of her.  Or a thank-you card to your professor to show your gratitude for the letter of recommendation he wrote.  Or a note to your roommate to say, “Hey I just ran out to buy eggs, be back soon!” I just love notes.

  1. NYT says: Spoon More

I say:  Croon More

Not all of us have someone to cuddle with, and that’s okay.  But anyone can turn up the Spotify volume and sing along.  Again, no scientific evidence from me that this works, but I think crooning to your favorite John Mayer song or learning all the words to “No Problem” makes singing an instant mood booster.

It’s ok if you can’t stick to all of these, though. Just BU.

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