Make the Most Out of Your College Days

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Posted 11 Aug 2013 in Back to School, Featured

Many times we start new experiences and have so much we want to get out of them. But then we forget. Or we change. Or something else happens. Either way, we sometimes get some of our goals accomplished and others fall by the wayside. Well what if you could keep track of everything you want to do and add on or alter the list as your college experience winds up? We’re not talking the ever popular “Bucket List”. It’s not even the ubiquitous five year plan (which is useful but might be overly detailed). We’re talking more of a set time period to accomplish all the things you want to do in a more defined time period. A few years back I started doing the 101 in 1001 – set 101 goals and give yourself 1001 days to do them. But every college experience is a different length. And hopefully some of you are almost done! So we recommend the following instead:

Creative Commons License photo credit: One Way Stock

Letterpress Future

1) Write down all the things you already want to do. Now count them up. That number is A.

2) Double A. This is the number of goals you’ll focus on while you’re still in school. If you exceed it, no big deal. If you make it, sweet. If you only get A done, amazing. We’re just aiming for the stars!

3) Write down how long (in days) you think it will take you to finish your degree. Or if you’re an overachiever, how long it will take you to finish the next x degrees (in my case 9 years equals 3285 days if my year equals 365 days for simplicity of not counting leap years, hours, minutes or seconds). This is B.

4) You now can set forth to accomplish Double A in B.

5) Make a digital version of this list and set it to be private or public. Evernote is great if you want to keep it private and keep track of evidence of the accomplishments. Any blog site is great if you want to make it public. If you do that, it can be helpful to use an automatic counter to make sure you know how much time is left.

Simple, right? Now if this seems pretty daunting remember one thing – you want to accomplish these things. You said you wanted to do them. And if you really want to do something, you’ll make a way to make them happen. But to be successful, be realistic about goals, use multi-step goals, and don’t just limit yourself to strenuous things that usually rely on others like grades or make all of your goals contingent on the major you think you want to pursue.

What do I mean about realistic? Think about the same strategy for picking a college – long shots, good chances, and sure bets. Pick some goals in all of these categories. Examples: Long shot – Do an internship at the US Embassy in a Middle Eastern country as a recreation major; good chance – join a club or fraternity that emphasizes community service; sure bet – bond with dorm mates over cheap pizza. Unrealistic – Graduate without ever going to class.

Finish Line Yield Sign
Creative Commons License photo credit: One Way Stock

What do I mean about multi-step goals? Don’t pick a single goal that has many things that have to accomplish first without setting those things as intermediate goals. For example, if I can’t declare a Nursing major until my Junior year but I need to declare pre-nursing, then pass 4 classes, then do an internship experience to decide if I want that major, then I can make 6 intermediate goals and 1 major goal. They are all goals but that way you don’t feel pressure a year in about not accomplishing that bigger goal without noticing that you’ve accomplished smaller pieces and are headed in the right direction. What if you, like many people in college, change that big goal? Breathe, shake and let that big goal and the goals you haven’t accomplished related to it go. Leave the ones you did accomplish there (why make yourself seem like you didn’t do anything??).

If you’re having a problem coming up with some goals, think in these categories:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Travel
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Concerts/Museums/Festivals/Culture
  • Media (analog or digital)
  • Communication
  • School
  • Stepping Outside Your Boundary
  • Healthy Living
  • Dorm Life
  • Collections
  • Competitions
  • Grad School

play timeOf course, those categories are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to see a full example, check out my list. I just started a new experience and was driven to revamp my old list. I’m Type A so it may seem like I have a lot of pretty daunting tasks on there but trust me, it’s half fun!!

“I can haz fun!!”
Creative Commons License photo credit: Iqbal Osman1

Have you ever tried something like this? How’d it go? Have you decided to try this? Post a link to your list below and we’ll share them in a follow-up post.

Join us next week in the Back to School Series for our annual Software Pack suggestion post. Lots of goodies!

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