Merriam-Webster defines the world goal as the end toward which effort is directed. For many in college, goals often seem far out of sight, especially when they are freshmen. Many students come into college without a goal in mind other than to obtain a degree. While college prep classes in high school have taught many of us what college is supposed to be like, they never really taught us how to set rigorous goals personally and academically while we were in college. More than likely the goals we set for ourselves in college tend to be as light as the ones we set in high school such as “study one hour” or “get an A on Spanish test.” In college, goals need to be much more rigorous and we need to have consequences in order to stick to them. In order to survive college we as students must set both personal and educational goals.
Setting a Goal
While the keyword here is rigorous, you want to follow these rules when making your goals for your education. You want to stay realistic, be positive, and set objectives. Realistic goals are easy to stick by. Instead of saying “I will get an A average in all my classes”, choose the classes that you need for your major as the ones you work the hardest in. Those are the classes that will most be looked at when you go to grad school. That does not mean slack in the others; it is just more realistic to work your hardest in two classes as opposed to five. Be positive, even if you get an A- in the class you wanted to work the hardest at, take that for what it’s worth. Do not get yourself down because you still achieved your goal. Setting objectives is the best way to stick to your goals. Set three objectives that are going to help you achieve the goals. Be very clear on the objectives and as specific as possible. An objective that simple says “study” is not going to help much, to make a more rigorous outline of objectives; you want to say exactly what you need to pay the most attention to based on yourself. A few other things you want to keep in mind are make sure the goals you set are doable and individual. If your goal is not doable, it will most likely fail and end up hurting you in the end. Make sure your goal is individual because you will not be satisfied if part of the group you are setting the goal for fails. For something gear more toward adults read Goal Setting for Adult Students, it address adult specific goal setting.
Personal v. Educational Goals
Now, one last thing everyone needs to remember. When setting up rigorous college goals, you want to keep your personal and educational goals separate. Grab a notebook and when you are writing out your goals, outline them on the first page and simply put PERSONAL or EDUCATIONAL after the goal. On a separate page, make sure you outline everything there. That way you keep your personal life and education as two planes of existence. Having them intermingle will cause much undue stress. Now what are the differences between these goals? Personal goals in this case can be defined as things like lose weight, have kids, or go on vacation. Educational goals are anything that deals with your college education. Try not to get them intertwined. Always keep both as detailed and rigorous as you can. The best way to stick to your goals is to add consequence and rewards.