Freshmen get hard lesson in goal-setting

Kate Snyder and Kate Snyder

As part of the Freshmen Student Success Series, “Dream Big!” was a goal-setting seminar for freshmen students to attend.

Sarah Howard, a second year graduate student, emphasized the importance of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

“You don’t want to say ‘I am going to conquer the world,'” she said.

Howard described different “tips and tricks” for all kinds of goals. Short-term goals, she said, generally fall within a two-year span, while long-term goals tend to run four or five years.

One of the tricks she shared for longer goals was to break it into segments.

“You have to break the big goal into smaller goals,” Howard said.

She also described different types of goals students can have.

There are the common goals, such as in organization, time management, financial and education. But students can also set goals based on their attitude, career, family, recreation and even what they’re interested in, like artistic or public service goals.

She said setting specific goals also allows for easier recognition of achievements. She also emphasized students rewarding themselves for reaching their goals. It is helpful for students to set rewards as well as goals, she said.

Howard talked about the dangers of setting goals that depend on other people. If students set a goal to be the best in their class, reaching that goal depends on the grades of other students.

Setting deadlines is also important for success. Howard said if students set deadlines for themselves, then they have a clear objective to reach and the work becomes easier to start and do over time.

She also used the example of saving for a summer trip and then asked students to come up with ideas for reaching this goal. She encouraged creativity.

“Maybe I could sell a lot of my stuff on eBay,” Howard said. Other ideas included getting another job, winning the lottery, opening a savings account, asking friends and family for money, cutting expenses and robbing a bank. Students weeded out the unrealistic actions and learned what steps they can take to reach goals.

Students then filled out a worksheet describing three of their own goals, what barriers they have to consider, and how to achieve them and then discussed their goals with other students.

Many of the freshmen who attended did so for their UNIV classes.

“We have to go to different campus events and broaden our views on campus,” Melissa Bott, freshman, said.

While most were required to attend the presentation, those who went said the event was informative.

“I learned goal making skills and how to keep them in perspective,” Patrick Shelton, freshman, said.