Category : PROspective
By: Veronika Laird
As the hot summer finally begins to transition to a cooler fall, many of us start to feel the weight of the semester on our shoulders. We’ve taken midterms, some of us are digging deep into our theses, finally getting used to a new job, or just trying to make it to Thanksgiving break. While midsemester can be stressful, it’s also a time to think about how strong you want to finish the year. It’s a good time to check-in with yourself and set goals for how you want this chapter of the school year to end.
We’ll soon be receiving midterm grades and other forms of constructive criticism which can help us set achievable goals for the next two months before winter break. Creating goals for yourself not only helps you measure your progress, but they 1) hold you accountable and 2) provide you a “destination”.
It’s safe to say that many Rollins students are tenacious and driven, but don’t we all want to do well in our classes and jobs? Maybe even exceed expectations? Who is in control of that? YOU. But first, we have to set realistic, short-term goals and keep ourselves accountable for trying to achieve them. I think this happens easily when we think about the “final destination”. This semester a goal I set for myself is to finish writing components of my thesis manuscript. In the beginning this seemed daunting. I would often and still do close my eyes when I think about this goal, and I imagine the final product or “final destination”. For me I see a word document filled with citations, tables and figures, and my name at the very top. This strategy is very helpful to mentally think about your end goal and then start taking steps to achieving it.
To start taking steps toward achieving your goal, you must make a plan. First, you want to do small tasks that lead up to achieving your short-term goal–accomplishments don’t happen overnight. Second, you must make time to work on these tasks and create time in your calendar for them. Thirdly, we touched on how important accountability is and it’s important to check-in with yourself or a friend who also knows the goal you are working towards. This creates time to celebrate your achievement or reflect on why you may not have reached your end goal. Finally, it’s okay if you didn’t complete your goal–we can all grow from our disappointments. What is important is to find where you may have let yourself down and understand how that can be remedied for next time.
Lastly, a key component to following-through on your goals is knowing yourself. What motivates you to get out of bed every morning and come to class or work? Remember that you didn’t have to choose this career. You didn’t have to come to graduate school. Why did you? If you remind yourself of your “why” each time you are working towards your dreams and goals, it can help you push through the hard times. Don’t forget that there’s always support along the way from your peers and faculty. You have nothing to lose, so reach for the stars.
Veronika is a Second-Year MPH student in the Global Epidemiology Program interested in researching zoonotic diseases. She studied integrative biology with a minor in chemistry and global health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in their honors program.