Happy New Year!
As we leave an extremely eventful 2021 behind us, the New Year is a great opportunity to reflect, set intentions and look to the future. Whether you want to make a few subtle changes or be a bit more drastic, I have you covered with plenty of inspiration.
Health and Wellbeing
Take up a new sport.
There are endless opportunities to get involved in sport at uni, with 42 student-run clubs in the Athletic Union (AU) alone. Sporticipate also runs at the start of second semester, offering free taster sessions in many of these sports. There really is something for everyone, with options such as caving, gymnastics, surf, judo and cross country, just to name a few.
Schedule some wellbeing days.
University can be a busy and overwhelming time, and looking after your mental health by having frequent breaks is so important. Mark a day in your calendar every week or so in which you don’t do any work, instead dedicating the whole day to doing things that bring you joy and help to ease stress.
Walk to Uni more often.
Not all of us are particularly sport-inclined (me included!) but it’s still important to get some exercise if possible. Walking to campus rather than getting the bus is a great way of stretching your legs and getting some fresh air and can also save you money and a long wait for a crowded bus. However, ensure you don’t find yourself walking in the dark.
Aim for your 5-a-day.
As a student, it is very easy to live off pesto pasta and meal deals, but adding some variety to your diet is really beneficial. Frozen or canned vegetables are a great option as they’re cheap and really long-lasting, so you will always have some on hand. Add some fruit to your breakfast or a smoothie to increase your intake – frozen fruit is also a cheaper way of doing this.
Read around your subject.
A great way of improving your academic performance is by making a conscious effort to expand your broader knowledge. Whether this be through reading a news article a day about your subject, starting a glossary of key terms that you’ve researched or listening to a subject-specific podcast per week, you’ll be surprised how much you will learn.
Complete assignments 3 days before the deadline.
We all know how easy it is to leave assignments until right before they’re due, but this just causes a very long and painful night in the library. Set yourself deadlines a few days before the actual date to ensure you don’t do this, giving yourself a bit more leeway.
Attend ALL of your classes.
This is one of my resolutions, as it’s very easy to convince yourself that you’ll catch up on your 9am – but the reality is often very different! Try to attend every session that you have, saving yourself stress later down the line.
Find a study space that works for you.
Make an effort to branch out and switch up where you study, keeping your environment fresh and leading to more productive work. There are so many study spaces offered by the university that most students don’t know about (and don’t get as crowded as ALGC or the Main Library!), which you can find on the university’s website.
There are so many opportunities to get involved in volunteering in Manchester and beyond through the Volunteer Hub. Help others, enhance your skills and improve your CV through opportunities such as teaching a language, gardening, campaigning or leading a sport.
If you’re interested in reducing your carbon footprint, trying out some new recipes and improving animal welfare, Veganuary could be a great challenge. Try veganism throughout January to see if it works for you.
Limit your screen time.
As much as technology is an essential part of many aspects of our lives, I personally can’t justify my 6-hour phone screen time. Set limits on your devices to ensure you are giving your brain, thumbs and eyes a break. Think of a few alternatives for trying to relax rather than grabbing your phone, such as going for a quick walk or picking up a book.
Learn a language.
Whether it be through taking a language module, joining a society or simply downloading an app, learning a language has so many benefits and is a really fun and rewarding goal.
Break up with Pret.
Sure, the coffee might be good, but is it worth the £4 a day and a crazy queue? Take your own drink to Uni or grab one from the Main Library machine for as little as £1.50.
Set yourself a night out budget.
It’s definitely easier said than done, but limiting yourself to a certain budget when out can stop the pain of checking your bank balance the next morning. Ensure you have no more than what you want to spend in your account and make the most of pre-drinks to save money once you’re out.
Shop more mindfully.
Are you an impulse buyer? Consider keeping a better track of what you spend by writing all of your purchases down or waiting before you buy. After seeing something you like, wait 3 days and see if you’re still thinking about the item before rushing in to purchase it- you’ll be surprised how much you save!
If possible, set yourself some saving goals, no matter how small they are. Whether this be through starting a monthly savings account, putting a % of your income or student loan aside or just starting a spare change jar, this money will add up.