*Cue nostalgic memory fade*
It was 1 January 2019. You were still riding the festive season high and you saw nothing but possibilities. You bought a new notebook and a pack of highlighters, and you wrote down your New Year’s resolutions for what you expected to be the bestest school year ever.
*Cue gong that pulls us back to the present day*
It’s now the whatever of some month. Your phone screen is cracked (what could be worse?) and you’re frantically looking for the number of the guy you met once on campus so that he can sign you in for a lecture you fully intend to sleep through. You wake up to a ping and you see an email with the subject ‘Your results so far’ (or at least you think it says that – that crack is pretty bad). You suddenly get a vision of your entire family, as well as long‑deceased ancestors, shaking their heads in disappointment at you.
Please do not dig up that empty notebook – it’s time to get down to business ya’ll. We’re going to teach you how to set some SMART goals that you can actually achieve!
Specificity requires breaking down your goal into small steps:
1 Start by reading the syllabus for each class.
2 Ask yourself:
- What deadlines will I need to meet?
- How can I stay on top of the readings?
- How far out do I need to start studying for exams to ensure success?
- Am I going to have to miss any classes due to work or other obligations? If so, how can I work with my professor to make sure my grade isn’t affected negatively?
To hold yourself accountable make sure your goals are measurable. Is passing the class enough or do you want a specific percentage or letter grade? Plan out what steps need to be taken to get the grade.
For example: If you have to read two chapters, complete one assignment, participate in one discussion and take a quiz each week, that means you’ll have 16 readings, eight assignments, eight discussions and eight quizzes throughout an entire term.
Finding the total number allows you to keep track of your progress.
Goals need to be manageable for your lifestyle. If you work, have a family and attend school, it probably isn’t realistic to set a goal of studying six hours a day.
Look at your schedule and be honest with yourself about how much time you can devote to your classes. Then don’t make excuses.
Always keep your goals as relevant as possible. Passing your classes is a fairly obvious one because it will lead to graduation, which will lead to career opportunities.
Time-bound goals help you avoid procrastination. Schedule actions you need to take to accomplish your goals to help you stay on track.
A routine can also prevent you from falling behind. For example: If you’re in an online class, you might plan to complete the course readings by Tuesday of each week, post your initial discussion contribution by Wednesday, have your quiz completed by Saturday and have your assignment and discussion responses finished by Sunday.
Stop being lazy, lazy! Give it a try, boo. You will not be sorry.