Go Out of 2014 With a Bang Before You Bring in the New Year

Everyone deserves a chance to enjoy themselves once in awhile; an opportunity to pamper yourself, try something new, re-invent yourself, make a resolution or set a goal.

What better time to do that than right before a new year begins? As 2014 winds down and the calendar turns its page and 2015 descends upon us, now is the time to go out with a bang.

It is no secret that for college students, the end of the year is also the end of the semester. Understandably, the stress of finals, grades, winter break back at home with the family and even possibly graduation sometimes looms over your heads and weighs heavy on your minds.

Jonathan Murray, 2014 alumnus, recalls this end-of-the-semester stress, “Having multiple exams the same day, then having no exams until the very last day … always bothered me.” Problems like this are a common plight that many college students can identify with particularly during finals week and in the last couple weeks of the semester.

On a positive note, there are still plenty of things college students can do to make the most of the end of the year, despite the anxiety you may be forced to face. Here are five things you can do to squeeze all of fun and enjoyment you possibly can out of the last month of 2014.

1. Try a new restaurant with friends. Never underestimate the power of some very yummy food. A nice way to escape the stress for a while is to grab a few friends, get dressed up and head out to a local restaurant to indulge a bit. Remember,  it does not have to be somewhere super fancy that burns a hole in your wallet. Some of the most relaxing and delicious places are very low-key and affordable. And the healthier the better since food is your body’s nourishment. To re-start the year on a positive note for your body, it is necessary to eat nutritious food. “I literally feel 100 times better all around when I eat healthy. I have more energy, I can focus more, and I even sleep better,” said Ashley Vaccaro, a senior English major.

2. Buy a new outfit. A new year is the time to re-invent yourself, and to do something nice for YOU. A nice way to do that on a budget is to take a few of those hard earned dollars and invest in a new outfit (or two, or three…) New clothes can make individuals feel like e new and improved version of themselves and install a sense of confidence. 

According to the Daily Mail, Professor Karen Pine of the University of Hertfordshire and the focus of a new book she is working on, clothes can absolutely affect your attitude.“‘Putting on different clothes creates different thoughts and mental processes. My book aims to make people more aware of this, to understand how changing their clothes can change their mood and their thoughts.”

3. Get a good, long night of sleep during break.  Start 2015 off right with all the time off and get caught up with sleep.  Students should never forget the power of sleeping well.

According to Dr. Franca Mancini, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, “Students always underestimate how lack of sleep affects them.  Not only does it make them ‘tired’ but it also can lead to an increase in symptoms such as anxiety and depression, which for some increase anyway during this season.” By sleeping well you are doing yourself a major favor, especially during a stressful time like the end of the semester. Hit the snooze button and allow your mind and body to re-boot.

4.  Grab a friend and try a new hobby.  New year, new me, right? This time is as good a time as any to dive in to a new hobby or experiment with a new activity you always wanted to try. From joining to gym, trying yoga, enrolling in an art class or learning to cook, it is unlikely one would regret bettering themselves and expanding their horizons. Nervous? Recruit a friend! “Enjoying the company of friends, laughing and having a good time together, not only improves mood but increase certain chemical substances in the brain that help us to remain balanced and positive,” said Dr. Mancini.

For something free and conveniently located on campus, students could consider visiting the DE-Stress Fest on December 17 in Anacon Hall from 1-3 pm.

There, students will be able to enjoy yoga, a massage chair, food and a variety of other fun activities before heading home for the holidays.

5. Go on an adventure. If you are looking for something a little more spontaneous, plan a last minute trip. Get lost. See a place you have never seen before. End up somewhere unfamiliar in the final days of 2014 to set you up for risk taking in the new year.

6. Finally, make a list of everything you did right in 2014. Don’t dwell on what did not happen this year, but make it a point to praise yourself for what you achieved. In regards to looking back at the semester, “When something comes to an end, you realize some of your greatest pain results in your greatest strengths,” said Lauren Pollara, a senior communication major.

The new year is a peak time to start fresh and re-invent yourself. So take advantage of this opportune time and remember to leave a lasting impression within the final days of 2014. This will lead you to victory in 2015.