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Monday, September 9, 2013

On your mark, get set, GO….

Yes, summer seems to have flown by and a new academic year has begun.  Where did the time go? That is the way of college life: fast and furious (oops, that is also the title of a summer blockbuster with Van Diesel & Tyrese). Unfortunately there will be no high flying cars and actions in your class, but I can’t guarantee zero drama!!  So, let’s begin this semester on some good, solid academic footing. Setting goals are necessary for success.  One must set goals, priorities, and accountability.  While setting goals, it is important they are achievable, realistic, clear and specific.  

Setting Goals:
Goals do not consist of a laundry list of “ALL” the things that you would like to get done, just a few key desired outcomes.  These are accomplishments that you want to achieve in a 3-6 month time period.  In most cases, it is establishing 4-5 goals per semester.  As you set the goals, you need to understand what and why?
Some recommendations would be:
      Build relationships with faculty
Develop and improve skills such as communication, presentation, active listening
Take ownership of your education
Achieve/maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA for the semester
Plan and attend 2-3 activities such as: fairs, workshops, seminars, study groups, etc...
Get involved with one campus or community group
Gain experience through volunteering, research, or a job, internships

The Proverbs say: without a vision, the people perish. Write down your goal/vision for the semester. Once you have set these goals, then steps can be established to accomplish them.  Planning steps wisely and establishing a time-frame will help keep you focused and on track.  Create a list of activities that will support the achievement for each goal.  Again, start small.   Since many of these goals are written down, it will be easier to keep track of them.  They become more attainable, and you grow as you achieve these set goals.  Also, you can plan accordingly on how to reach these written goals.

Setting Priorities:
In my life, sometimes it feels like everything is important and should be done “right now”.  (Again, our fast, quick and in a hurry mentality in our society.) In fact, it is not necessarily so.  Take a step back and prioritize.  In prioritizing goals, you are setting up an order of importance.  What is the most pressing activity that will yield the most benefit?  In classifying your goals, you can establish specific activities that will help you reach these goals.  Once that is established, then you can move forward and act accordingly. 
For example, if one goal is to: “achieve & maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA”, then these are some activities you may engage in:
Check your schedule & make sure you are in the right classes
Do a complete review of all your course syllabi 
Become familiar and write in your planner important due dates for exams and projects. 
Set up "regular" study time throughout the week.  Make it a daily occurrence.
Attend office hours/ speak with class instructor once a month for each enrolled class.

Many of us have a fear of accountability when it comes to our own self. According to the dictionary, it means simply to be responsible to yourself for your own actions.  Yes, we can set goals and prioritize, but we lack accountability.  What does that mean personally?  It is to track and monitor your own progress.  It is making sure that you hold your own self responsible for what you have set out to do.  Are you completing the tasks/activities that you have set to achieve a positive outcome?  These are your academics and your education.  As a college student, you are in the driver’s seat and will determine the outcome of your education.

Why go through all of these gyrations? As you work toward a goal it can provide you with challenges and motivation to do better.  Ultimately it will impact your attitude, behavior and performance.

There are tons of theories on goal setting and the impact on the individual and organization.  One of the most popular is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, result-focus/relevant, and time-bound.  You should check the many websites to learn about SMART.  Believe it or not, there are tons of research, Youtube videos, and an APP for that too.  Get SMART!!

References & links:
Weblinks to goal setting theory:

Setting Personal Goals:

Goal setting & goal orientation:

Youtube videos
Goal setting:

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