The new academic year is officially underway and this time of the year always brings a feeling in the air that anything possible. First-year students are learning how to conquer campus (and find their classes), seniors are looking to make the most of their last year here, and everyone in between is excited about a blank slate for the year ahead. As you start to think about this next year, make sure that you set some intentional goals as it relates to your future!
No matter what class year you are, and even our alumni readers, think proactively about long term goals and what you can set out to achieve this year:
Envision the Future
Think ahead whether it’s to the end of this semester or the end of this year. Where do you hope to be and/or what do you hope to have? Maybe your goal is to develop a strong resume by winter break so that you can start the internship/job search in full force when the spring comes. Are you hoping to obtain an internship or research for next summer? Start with thinking about where you hope to be and then come in to meet with an advisor in Career Services and create an action plan of how you can get there. Get a pulse on what you hope to achieve so you don’t aimlessly work without direction.
I’m not talking about class here, but setting goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. There are many factors that go into creating a goal and setting one by SMART standards will help you to think about the details to make that goal a reality. We often don’t look up specific information when we’re setting goals so for example maybe you envision yourself scoring an internship at your dream company for this next summer. You can work as hard as possible but if you’re a sophomore and the internship is only open to juniors, that’s not a realistic goal. Check out this resource to learn more about making your goals SMART.
Ask for Help
While you may be setting personal goals, it doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. There are an incredible amount of resources and faculty/staff on campus who are here to help support your dreams and goals. Have a big career related goal for this year and not sure where to even start? Come into Career Services and we’d be happy to assist you with creating a plan–we haven’t been stumped yet! Do you need to work on some specific skills as part of your goal? Don’t forget about great resources like the Speech Center and Writing Center.
In addition to seeking out specific help in attaining your goals, don’t forget to build a group of cheerleaders to support you along this journey. Share your goals and hopes with family, friends, and faculty and ask for their support. Having someone else check in and hold you accountable towards meeting your goals can be an incredible motivator. The people in your life want to see you succeed and achieve your goals and will be more than willing to be there for your journey if you allow them to play a part.
You reached your goal–hooray! Now don’t stop here. If you reach your goal early (maybe a goal you set for May you reach by winter break), then go back to the beginning and start again to envision a new goal for yourself. As long as you have the time and energy to keep going start working towards something new.
As you set out on your journey for this new academic year, don’t forget that Career Services is here to assist you in planning, preparing for, and pursuing your goals. Interested in meeting with an advisor? Call us at (804) 289-8547 or stop by our office, THC 306, to set up an appointment. Don’t forget that we’re also available 2-4 p.m. for drop-in hours in THC 306. Are you an alumni outside of the Richmond area or studying abroad this semester? Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about how we can serve those who aren’t here in town.
Go out there and get ’em Spiders!