By: Tory Dockree, Tabatha May, and Emily Meilleur-Rivers
One of the best ways to keep a positive mindset throughout your university career is to be goal-oriented and know that you are working towards something meaningful. In this post, we are going to talk about what it means to be goal-oriented and how to structure your goals for the next phase of your life.
Being goal-oriented means that you set objectives for yourself and dedicate time and energy to meeting them. You should have goals for the short term (shorter than a year) and the long term (longer than a year) that concern your academic, professional and personal lives. However, it is important that your goals are attainable and that you have thought through how you are going to accomplish them.
Often the plan used to accomplish a goal is formatted by working backwards and thinking about what steps need to be taken in order to achieve what you would like. We’ve also found that short term goals like scheduling your time in a planner can often help lead to long term goals like improved mental health because we felt less stressed.
Here are some examples of short-term goals that we think might be helpful in university:
Making short term academic goals is a huge part of academic success. These goals can be simple, like always starting assignments at least a full week before they are due, or never missing a lecture or tutorial. A great way to set academic goals is to base them off of previous disappointments. For example, if your first round of essays aren’t as successful as you would have hoped, set a goal to learn from feedback and do better on the next round of essays.
Financial goals can be both short term and long term. Since a lot of university students struggle to make ends meet, we decided to focus on financial goals as an example of how short term goals can support longer-term ones. Some of these goals can look like scheduling time to go shopping on Tuesdays for discounted groceries or bringing coffee/tea to school as opposed to buying it. Every little thing adds up and can help you to meet your long term financial targets. Check out Mac’s Money Centre for more resources.
Long-term goals help motivate us and allow us to understand what we are working towards, ranging from securing our dream job to starting a family or developing a hobby or skill. We’ve found that keeping long term goals in mind has really kept us going when university was feeling particularly difficult.
Some examples of long term goals we think might help you in university are:
This might seem strange, but it’s really important to take breaks from thinking about school. Academics aren’t everything and working towards non-academic goals while in school can be very beneficial to your mental health. This could be anything from learning yoga to teaching yourself to knit.
Sometimes you have to look ahead in life to remember what you’re working hard for. Maybe for you that’s travelling one day or buying a house. These goals are very personal and they will be quite different for every person, but the important thing is that you keep these in mind throughout university to stay motivated.
Being goal-oriented can help to make your university experience seem more purposeful and important, thus allowing you to have more motivation to work through hard times. Making connections outside of the classroom and exploring extracurricular opportunities are an important part of this experience.
If you currently do not have any goals, exploring opportunities outside of the classroom may be how you find them, it certainly was for us. Finally, we know that you are probably coming to university with many different hopes and dreams as we did. We just want you to know that you can accomplish what you’d like, you just may have to do a little bit of planning first! Good luck Marauders.
About Tory, Tabatha and Emily
I’m going into my third year of Arts & Science with a combination in Philosophy.
I’m going into my fourth year of Social Psychology with a minor in Sociology.
I just finished my undergrad in English and Cultural Studies with a Minor in Women’s Studies. In September, I am sticking around at Mac to start my Master’s in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory.