Thirteen New Year’s Resolutions for College Students

The start of a new year gets many of us into a reflective mood, thinking about ways we can improve our lives. The holidays leave some of us wanting to lose a couple of pounds, get more organized, read more books and watch less Housewives.

But I’ve noticed over the past several years when I mention New Year’s resolutions to my kids, they just shrug and act like that’s something only “old people” do — right along with having actual conversations on the phone and using a top sheet on the bed.

This year after Christmas, as I sat talking with a couple of college students one evening, they admitted that resolving to improve their lives in the coming year actually seemed like a decent thing to consider.

Happy 2021
College students 2021 new year’s resolutions. (Twenty20 @ilona.shorokhova)


Knowing better than to start throwing out my own suggestions for them (considering one of them was closely related to me) I simply threw out the question, “What are some things you guys would like to change about your life?”

And wow, the ideas started to flow, fast and furiously.

As I listened to them, I realized that many of their suggestions would be helpful not only for college kids but for a wide range of ages.

Here’s the best Baker’s Dozen of the resolutions that they came up with. (And as a Mom, I saved what I thought were the best two for last!)

College students’ new year resolutions

1. Strike up a conversation with a stranger once a week.

Maybe that kid that you always pass on your way to your Tuesday/Thursday afternoon lecture. Or the old man you often see on the bench near your favorite coffee spot. Who knows what kind of friendship could develop from one conversation?

2. Be clear about your intentions when hanging out with or dating someone.

Who has time for trying to mind-read or be really confused for weeks or months?

3. Try a different, new restaurant once a month, even if it’s take-out for now.

We all know exactly what a Chipotle burrito and an IN and OUT burger taste like, so it’s time to branch out.

4. Actually use that journal that someone gave you and record your thoughts each morning or at night before you fall asleep.

Even just two or three observations or sentences could provide you with some great insights about your life or leave you with helpful memories for your future.

5. FaceTime (or call) with a grandparent or other older relative once a month.

Think about the wisdom or laughs you might get from a short chat with your 80-year-old Uncle Bob?

6. Apply to one or two summer internships every week starting in January — even ones that you don’t really care about that much.

It’s good practice to just apply and get in the habit of following up with an email or a call to inquire about your application.

7. Stop ghosting people, and don’t make out with someone whose name you don’t even know.

8. Start your Philosophy (Communications/Anthropology/etc.) study group now rather than waiting until the week before your project or final is due.

Your classmates will thank you and it’s a good way to expand your social circle.

9. Throw out old clothes that you don’t wear anymore and bring them to a local shelter or thrift shop.

Do we really need six hoodies or eight pairs of sandals?

10. Don’t let that one, awkward thing you said to somebody stop you from trying to make a connection a second time.

New year = brave, new you!

11. Delete one social media app and let the relief wash over you after a week of withdrawals.

12. Write thank-you cards to all the relatives who gave you a holiday gift — even if it was just a pair of socks.

13. Thank your parents just randomly.

Out of the mouths of (college) babes…And a Happy New Year to us all.

More to Read:

New Year’s Resolutions: Now That Your Kids are (Nearly) Grown

About Marybeth Bock

Marybeth Bock, MPH, is Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing - as long as iced coffee is involved. You can find her work on numerous websites and in two books. Find her on Facebook and Instagram

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