In addition to being a time dedicated to family, friends, fun, and the festive spirit, the winter holidays are also recognized as a time for reflection. At the end of each year, many people, students included, tend to make resolutions where they believe they need the most improvement. It is therefore not unusual to take time to examine your academic life for areas that deserve more attention. Unfortunately, research reveals that only an astonishing eight percent of people keep their resolutions and consequently, in order to hold onto a resolution, the resolutions themselves must be realistic to begin with. Here are four academic resolutions for the new year and how to maintain them.
One of the main hindrances to productivity whether in the classroom or outside is procrastination. For the majority of students, procrastination often encompasses habits such as the unchecked use of social media, binge watching TV shows, deferring to more enjoyable tasks, or simply laziness. At the core of procrastination, however, are distraction, a lack of motivation, and uncertainty or fear of the task at hand — factors from which most forms of procrastination originate. In order to overcome them, start with small tasks or tackle a large assignment a little at a time. For example, if you are faced with an essay, spend one day planning and write a paragraph (or two!) each day afterwards, reserving a day for editing when you are finished with your draft. Another overstated but necessary measure is to rid yourself of distractions by finishing what you want to do before putting your mind to work or staving the activity off for later. Game of Thrones can wait. Promise.
Even schedules of the most organized students may fall into disarray when the pressure builds but establishing good habits in the first place may lessen the impact of disastrous results that would otherwise be brought about by a lack of preparation. Make it routine to write down tasks and use a calendar, establishing a daily schedule. Not only will this hold you accountable for your own work but it makes you feel like you’re on top of your game and nothing — nothing — is as satisfying as deleting a task from your list once it is completed.
Although the thought of additional reading may send some eyes rolling given the amount of reading that is already a major part of schoolwork, the significance of reading as form of enrichment and enjoyment cannot be understated. Because reading is such an integral component of academic life, improving your reading skills improves writing, comprehension, and test-taking skills. Moreover, the holidays are an excellent opportunity to catch up on reading so you’ll be ready by the time you return to school. Bear in mind that reading should be enjoyable so find books or articles on topics that interest you. If you find yourself at loss for ideas, research book reviews online or ask a friend for suggestions. Better still, ask a librarian or your English teacher — both are likely to be more than happy to help.
Participate more often in class
This challenge is bound to be intimidating to the majority of students, but the benefits of class participation outweigh any detriments. By speaking up in class, you earn yourself a chance to demonstrate your knowledge about the course material, a certain degree of respect from your peers, participation points (if applicable), and appreciation from your teachers for lessening their work load. You do not necessarily need to become the classroom keener but the next time you know an answer to a question posed in class, take a chance and raise your hand.