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Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

New Year: New Semester: New You

Happy New Year! It’s the beginning of a new year and new semester – an opportunity to start fresh. Classes have not started yet. Start by setting intention for this semester and year. Begin with the end in mind. Learn from your past mistakes and missed opportunities. Make some resolutions…err…set some SMART goals. Then, reflect on your set intentions and goals.

To help set the course for a New Year – New You, follow these three simple steps:

1.      Be Intentional. First, leave the past in the past. Move forward. Think about what you will do differently as a result of past failures. You registered for classes to fulfill divisional / major requirements or for general interest. You may have joined a club or a group. Why? What do you intend to learn and gain from these courses and experiences? What do you hope to gain from them? How are you going to be intentional in your skill development and selection of courses, activities, and career path? Consider answering these questions before getting too deep into the semester. You will have a better grasp of what you intend to learn, develop, and accomplish.

2.      Write SMART Goals. They will be your guide to the results you want by the end of the year. If a year is too overwhelming to plan, chunk it into semesters.  Here are a few questions to consider before developing your SMART goals: What do you want to accomplish in the fall semester and spring semester? What do you want to accomplish by end of the year? When you look back at the end of the semester (fall and spring) and year, what do you want to be able to say that you have done or learned? Are there new skills you would like to develop, such as giving public presentations or business writing? I recommend setting 2-3 goals per semester and 1-2 goals for the year. Consider focusing on areas such as academic coursework – the knowledge and skills you want to learn, extracurricular activities – the skills you want to develop and the leadership position you want to attain, and personal/career goals – the internship or job you want this summer. Need help writing goals? Use the SMART goal worksheet as a guide. Share these goals with an advisor, counselor, or mentor so that s/he can help you develop a plan for achieving them.

3.      Reflect.  At the end of the semester, spend some time reflecting on your courses, extracurricular activities, and experiences. Reflect upon your intention and goals set for these areas. To help guide the reflection process, print or download the reflection exercise worksheet. Upon completion of the reflection exercise, you may need to adjust your goals based on the information gathered about yourself, courses, and activities. If needed, repeat step two and revise your goals. Goals do not have to be static. They can be modified as plans change.

Remember – Be intentional. Be goal-oriented. Be reflective.

Best wishes on a successful, productive semester and year!

Category: Professional Development

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