Whether you are a graduating senior or freshman, setting goals can be helpful with getting through that last semester before summer break or graduation.
Vicki Brown, Director of Student Activities, has some tips on what goals students should consider for the upcoming semester.
Since everyone is in a different spot in their journey to get a degree, Brown suggests that seniors with the goal of graduating make sure they have satisfied all their degree requirements and apply for graduation (which can be found at www.herkimer.edu/campus-life/services-and-support/registrars-office/forms/graduation-application/).
If transferring to another school, contact the transfer counselor for the school you will be attending for a more seamless transition.
For those going directly into the workforce, Career Services can assist in writing and reviewing resumes, hold mock interviews, help with applying for jobs (or internships that can be found on Handshake), and connect you with employers.
Getting a job is not the only thing Brown suggests graduating students should consider. Students should come up with financial goals before graduating. While financial aid can help pay for classes, it can’t help you with getting an apartment, car, buying insurance, and overall budgeting for the future. Having a plan can prevent a lot of future headaches.
Graduating or not, most students understand the feeling of burnout after a long semester. Maybe your goal is to prevent further burnout which can be treated with self-care. Herkimer College offers Adulting 101, a Health and Wellness program through STAR, as well as the Counseling Center. Self-care can also include partaking in a hobby, doing something relaxing, exercising, and eating healthy- any healthy activity that can help you relax and de-stress. The Herkimer College has provided a December calendar of things you can do for self-care below.
Dean of Students and Director of Athletics, Donald Dutcher gave his take on what students should focus on in the Spring semester. He says there are four important things for a student to focus on.
First, is to go to class and not be late. “Treat college like it’s your first full time job.” This can help form good habits once you begin your career.
Second, is get to know your professors. As you get to know them better, you are more likely to be more engaged in the class. Professors can also help you network with people who can help your career.
Third, is to get involved on campus. Whether that is campus activities, clubs, athletics, going to the Academic Support Center, getting a tutor or being one. You will meet all types of new people and get to see the non-academic side of going to college.
Lastly, and the one Dutcher considers most critical of the four, is working on time management. He suggests that rather than going home or back to the dorms after class and going on your phone or playing video games, do assignments while the lesson is fresh in your mind.
With these goals in mind, just thinking about completing all of them can be overwhelming. So, before running headfirst into forming a goal, remember S.M.A.R.T. What is S.M.A.R.T? It is an acronym that helps with setting realistic and possible goals.
S is for ‘specific’. For a goal to be achievable you should know what you are aiming to complete. This can include the ‘five Ws’: who, what, where, why, and when. Your goal may be something like: I want to increase my GPA from a 2.5 to at least a 3.25 to make the Dean’s List by the end of the Fall semester.
M is for ‘measurable’. For it to be measurable, there should be some indicator of progress. For that, you might aim to get a B or higher for each class.
A is for ‘achievable’. When something is achievable it means you have the means and resources to achieve the goal. This might mean having access to study materials and a tutor if necessary. The goal should also not be too easy, it should give you some sort of challenge.
R is for ‘realistic’. Realistic goals are possible to achieve. An unrealistic goal would be going from failing a class to straight As and becoming the top of your class, which would be very difficult if not impossible to achieve in the span of a semester.
T is for ‘timely’. For a goal to be timely it should be possible to achieve in the time frame you are setting for yourself. Taking the semester to raise your GPA from a 2.5 to a 3.25 is a lot more realistic than doing it in a month. Do not set yourself up for disappointment.
Keeping these tips in mind can help keep you on track to achieve your goals for the Spring. Do not forget that there are lots of support you can turn to such as the Counseling Center and Career Services. Until then, have a good break.