My three-week vacation is officially over. I had a relaxing time, though I didn’t even start on my primary goal (writing my book proposal). Instead, I rested and recharged my batteries, which was probably the best choice. I’m back full of energy and ideas.

First up, however, a look at a few articles that have caught my eye recently, all of them somehow related to college finances:

It’s the new year, and many folks are thinking about resolutions and goals. But Studenomics — a blog offering financial advice for current students and recent graduates — writes that the best New Year’s resolution is “to live a life where you do not need to wait for a new year to change something”. This is an excellent philosophy. Don’t wait, the article says, but challenge yourself constantly.

This morning, Trent at The Simple Dollar detailed seven huge financial mistakes he made during his college career. Trent and I have similar backgrounds, philosophies, and approaches. No surprise then that his list of regrets reads like mine. When I think of the scholarships I squandered, it makes me wan to cry. (On the other hand, without all the dumb decisions, I wouldn’t be where I am today, so it’s not all bad, right?)

GRS-reader Terry from Your Scholarships wrote to tell me about his site. “The goal is to have a scholarship listing service that doesn’t bog you down with a bunch of ads and emails, and let’s you see all of our scholarships without a lengthy profile to fill out,” he says. He’s nearly done with the site, but before he goes live (there are still some features missing), he’d like to have some beta-testers take it for a spin. If you’re interested, he has a special page where 20 or so GRS readers can register for a free one-year subscription to the Your Scholarships. Try it out and give him feedback! Terry extended this offer to 200 GRS readers, but has had to close the free registration. Thanks to everyone who signed up!

Finally, Free Money Finance wonders if students are wising up. He notes a new stat that 57% of students are considering less prestigious colleges for affordability reasons, a trend he likes. I tend to agree with FMF on this. I think that most of the time (but not all of the time), the quality of the education is more dependent upon the student and her efforts than it is upon the institution.