Year after year, as a student, you have probably made the same old resolution to study harder, score better, party lesser, and sleep earlier. Year after year, you have probably also found it difficult to achieve all thanks to making ridiculous resolutions like waking up at 6am to study.
Now that 2017 is upon us, here are 4 New Year's resolutions that you might find a lot easier to succeed at, and even actually enjoy doing.
1. Set aside a small portion of your allowance each month
Singapore students tend to be divided into two camps - those who work part-time as waiters, call-centre employees or roadshow flyer distributors; and those lucky few who get decent allowances from their parents. The former tend to go crazy shopping whenever payday arrives, the latter tend to live from allowance injection to allowance injection.
Whichever the category you fall into, this year, make it a promise to save a small portion of what you get every month. It could be $10, $20, or even more if you can afford it. Stash it in a piggy bank right at the back of your closet if you have to, but do not touch this money. By the end of 2017, you'll know what it feels like to have some savings and appreciate how much time and effort it took to achieve that.
2. Explore something that can actually be a future career option
Instead of blindly assuming that you will try to go for the highest paying job you can get after you graduate, try identifying something that you might actually like to do for a living. And then dedicate this year to exploring it fully. Research more into it, talk to someone in the field you're interested in, and see if there's a part-time job available where you can learn more about the industry.
Whatever it is, it's ten times better than being clueless about what you want to do when they graduate. Or worst, make your career decisions by default (I took a design course, so obviously I should try to become a designer even though I have no interest in it). Pssst... here’s news for you: In the first few years of your working life, many of your peers are going to drop out of their initial careers and try something else. Some will even job hop for years until they find something they like.
Don't worry too much about whether this something that you are going to explore this year is considered a "money-making" kind of job. Your goal for 2017 is just to explore how you can use the skills developed from an interest/hobby. Maybe you’ve realised you like to write. You can spend the year exploring how to use your writing skills, researching more into tips on how to write faster or better. You might even end up starting your own blog, or penning freelance articles to some websites.
If you have no idea what you'd actually like to do in future, take this brand new year as a time of soul searching. It's better to do all this now than to wait until you’re stuck in a job you hate.
3. Participate in more after-school activities
While some of your fellow classmates might be crazy about CCAs and spend all their time running around organising events, many others will just show up for the occasional class outing and then mysteriously disappear until they pop up again during exams.
This is a pity, as Singapore schools have so many programmes these days. From overseas exchange programmes that enable students to immerse themselves in another country for a few weeks/months, to a whole plethora of community engagement opportunities that contributes back to society from animal welfare to visiting the less fortunate. You’re spoilt for choice.
Even if you’ve always been the too-cool-for-school sort, in 2017 make it a point to put yourself out there and get involved in something. You might have no idea what you want to do with your life now, but participating in activities like the above can help to nudge you along the path to self-awareness more than lying in bed all day watching Netflix will.
4. Don't burn yourself out
At the start of a brand new year, many students may find themselves feeling that extra motivation to want to be better and strive harder. That's okay. It's the same kind of magic that cause grown adults to make crazy resolutions like "I am not going to buy any more shoes this year!"
But if you're not careful to pace yourself, you might find yourself working your brain and body into a frenzy during the first few months, and then burn out when May comes. Remember this important phrase: slow and steady wins the race. Work consistently throughout the year and plan ahead.