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8 ways to start strong for the new year

by Monica Smith

Dec 22, 2022, 11:00 AM.


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A guide to New Year’s resolutions for students taking online courses.

As you make your New Year’s resolutions, take the time to reflect on the past year and devise a plan for how you will blaze your educational trail. Whether you’re taking one class or all classes online, it’s important to find ways to make the most of your virtual learning experience. Here are a few New Year's resolutions to consider as you start the new year:

1. Prioritize your education: It can be easy to get distracted by other commitments or simply the convenience of being able to complete coursework from anywhere. But it's important to remember that your education is a top priority. Make a commitment to stay on top of your coursework, attend virtual office hours or tutoring sessions, and set aside dedicated study time each week.

If tutoring is what you think you’ll need, there are options for fully online undergraduate students such as Smarthinking. All students can also use the Center for Excellence in Writing, which provide in-person or online appointments.

2. Improve your time management skills: With the flexibility of online learning comes the responsibility of managing your own schedule. Plan for each day or week that includes not only your coursework, but also time for exercise, self-care, and any other commitments you may have. Use your phone calendar or a planner to help stay organized and on schedule.

Fully online undergraduate students can reach out to their success coaches who will help connect students to the university resources they need.

3. Get involved in your community: Look for ways to get involved in your local community, whether through volunteer work, internships, or joining a club or organization. Not only will this help you connect with others, but it will also give you valuable experience and look great on your resume.

“The volunteer opportunities, projects and partnerships I have been involved in through the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management have helped me develop my leadership and communication skills further,” says recent alumna Alexa Rodriguez, who completed an internship with Bacardi while pursuing her B.S. in Hospitality Management.

4. Take care of your physical and mental health: It's important to prioritize your physical and mental health as an online student. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying active. Consider incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga into your routine to help you manage stress and maintain balance.

FIU mental health counseling through CAPS provides both online and face-to-face students with a variety of online workshops and tools to help students facilitate and enhance their personal learning, emotional well-being, and academic skills development. CAPS even offers 24/7 mental health support through Togetherall.

5. Set specific, achievable goals: It's great to have big dreams and long-term goals, but it's important to break them down into smaller, more achievable steps. This can help you stay motivated and make progress towards your larger goals. For example, if you want to earn a 4.0 GPA this semester, set specific goals for each class such as completing all assignments on time or participating in class discussions.

“It is important for students to be prepared to work diligently and expect to devote themselves as much as possible to the curriculum,” says alumna Alexa Becker, who completed her Master of Arts in Global Affairs: International Crime and Justice degree in 2020, fully online. She notes that with her program, goal setting was crucial, and it is “necessary for students to be self-motivated, organized, and able to manage their time properly.”

6. Stay connected with friends and family: Try to stay connected with those you care about through phone calls, video chats, or even sending handwritten letters. It's important to have a supportive network to help you through the ups and downs of your academic journey.

All currently registered FIU students are eligible to access Zoom through a Pro license. To create your Zoom account, log-in with your FIU username and password, so you can use the software to keep in touch with family, friends and classmates. To connect with other students, the university’s Panther Connect site can help you find both online and in-person events and organizations.

7. Take breaks and practice self-care: It's important to take breaks and practice self-care to avoid burnout as an online student. Make sure you're taking time to relax, recharge, and do activities you enjoy. This can help you stay motivated and focused on your studies.

FIU’s Wellness and Recreation Centers offer several outdoor and virtual classes that current students can sign up for.

8. Explore new opportunities: Being an online student opens a world of possibilities for learning and growth. Consider taking on new challenges such as a research project, an internship, or a study abroad program. These experiences can help you develop new skills and broaden your horizons.

The Chaplin School offers a Hospitality at Sea Study Abroad program that is open to all majors. Students enjoy cruises that are a week or two and multiple destinations are planned for 2023.

Setting New Year's resolutions is a wonderful way to start the year off on the right foot. Whether you're looking to improve your time management skills, get involved in your community, or explore new opportunities, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your education and reach your goals.

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