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How to Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet!

22 Dec Rebecca Low 0 Blog

As we come to the end of a turbulent and challenging year, we are sure you will be grateful for some time away from your studies and work to spend with your loved ones. Despite challenges of this year, we are so proud of you for continuing to pursue and achieve your academic goals. We know that this holiday period is well-earned and we’re sure you are looking forward to it.

The holiday period is a time to slow down and relax,  but it can also be the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year and make plans for the new term. The new UBIS term starts on January 4th 2021 – just two weeks away! We want you to start the new term in the best way possible, to make the most out of your studies and enjoy your time with us. Here are some ideas for how you can hit the ground running and make 2021 your best year yet!

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Professionalise your profiles

One of the easiest steps to get your 2021 off to a successful start is to update your professional profiles. Making sure your presence across social media is polished and up-to-date will not take you very long, but could have a significant impact on your professional prospects.

Think of your online profiles in the same way as you would think of your curriculum vitae or resume. They should be informative but succinct, and should showcase your professional history, achievements and skillset. While this might be more obvious for sites like LinkedIn, there are ways in which you should professionalise your personal social media profiles too.

Ensure your profile picture is clearly identifiable as you. Update your professional contact details if they are public. Make private any profiles you want to keep strictly personal. Think about the tone of voice and language you are using. Does it authentically convey your interests and ambitions? Google yourself, as if you were a prospective employer. Do the search results show your professional personality in its best light? Regularly updating your professional profiles will help improve your online networking prospects and make sure you stand out in a crowded market.

Give yourself a performance review

Before we look forward, it can be helpful to reflect on the time past. We can review what went well and what we might do differently. This applies to many areas of life, not just our professional and academic endeavours. Imagine you are your own boss, about to give yourself a performance review of the last year. The point of this isn’t to criticise or tear yourself down – in fact, it’s the opposite! Looking at your recent studies with a critical eye will help you identify the areas where you can build skills and fill in any gaps in your knowledge. It is ultimately about better supporting yourself to continue to improve as you go forward into the new term.

Look back at your year of study. What moments stand out to you? Despite the many challenges that 2020 has presented, we’re sure there are lots of academic achievements that you will be able to celebrate. So congratulate yourself! Write down your wins, however big or small, and give yourself a pat on the back.

Now, think about the areas of your studies where you found things more challenging or could improve. What could you do more or less of? There might be practical things you can work on, like starting early on your reading or research, or setting up a digital study calendar. Are you standing out in class? Think about the ways in which you could connect with your classmates during term time. Could you start an online study group or even get involved with the Student Council? What opportunities are coming up that you can put yourself forward for? Be honest with yourself about how you can improve and, most importantly, take action to best support yourself next year.

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Be SMART about your goals

Think about where you were this time last year – what did you want to achieve in 2020? How did you work towards those goals? What worked out? What didn’t? Now you’ve given yourself a performance review (and we hope you were a benevolent boss to yourself!) you should think about the specific goals you might want to set yourself. These can be as long or as short term as you feel comfortable with. We think working on goals term-by-term is a good place to start.

Regardless of whether your goals are academic, professional or personal, it’s crucial to make them SMART. That is, ensure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

Make your goals specific enough to give you the focus to carry them through. Instead saying that you will just ‘study this subject area more’, make your goal ‘study this subject area every day for at least one hour’. Commit to that hour of study by scheduling it in your calendar. This goal is also measurable – you’re committing to a set time every day. It’s achievable because it’s within your capabilities to prioritise your studies while still challenging yourself to build a regular habit.

Is at least one hour a day realistic for you? Balance your goals against your other personal and academic commitments to avoid setting yourself up to fail. Finally, give yourself a time period in which you are going to achieve this goal or work towards it for. Make sure you review your progress throughout and remember to be flexible with yourself – if something isn’t working, change it! Do what you can to best support yourself to achieve the successes you are working towards.

Here’s to a great new year!

2020 has been challenging, but it has also proven how resilient, ambitious and forward-thinking our students are. We are immensely proud of everything you have achieved this year and we look forward to welcoming you to the start of the new UBIS term on January 4th 2021. If the 4th seems like it’s too soon, don’t worry! Our terms begin every 8 weeks, so if you want to join us you will have other opportunities throughout the year. Find out more about our current programmes here.

We hope you have a restorative holiday period and that you return to your studies feeling refreshed, excited and ready to make 2021 your best year yet! Wishing you all a very happy holiday and a great new year!