When you first start off in college, it can be easy to think you have all the time in the world before you graduate. After all, four years is a long time. Right?
Wrong. You’ll probably hear this a bunch of times, but believe me, before you know it you’ll be donning your cap and gown and receiving your diploma. Four years goes by like the blink of an eye. That’s why it’s so important to set some goals for yourself right now, so you can make the most of every second during this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What type of career do you want? What type of company do you want to work for? In what part of the country — or the world — do you want to work? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 25 years? These are just a few of the questions you should be asking yourself now so that you can take advantage of all the resources and opportunities that college has to offer.
The key is to make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.:
Specific - Don’t just say you want to have a successful career. Say you want to have a successful career as a pediatric nurse who works with special needs kids, or whatever your interests are. Get it?
Measurable - Set goals that enable you to track your progress as you go. Doing so will help keep you on track and motivated.
Attainable - Be realistic about your goals. Challenge yourself, but don’t set yourself up for failure either.
Relevant - Are your goals worthwhile? Are they right for you and your personality? Will they help you as you build your career?
Time-based - Make sure you set a specific date or timespan to achieve your goals. Don’t leave them open-ended.
Here’s an example of how a good set of S.M.A.R.T. goals might look…
My Future Goals (example)
- I want to be a video game designer, specializing in sports games, and based in San Francisco.
- I will spend my freshmen year researching the video game industry and take a couple classes in computer programming. By my sophomore year, I will know what skills I need for this career and make sure I’m taking the right classes; I will also research internships. In my junior year, I’ll get an internship with a video game company. In my senior year, I’ll get another internship and start reaching out to video game companies about possible work opportunities in the San Francisco area.
- I know I can reach this goal as long as I take the right classes, reach out to other designers for guidance, and stay informed about the video game industry by reading the major trade magazines and supplementing my education with other outside resources whenever possible.
- I want to be a video game designer because I’m a creative person, I have always loved video games, and it’s a thriving industry with unlimited potential for growth.
- By the time I graduate, I want to have had at least one internship with a video game company. One year after graduation, I want to have a full-time job with a video game company in San Francisco. Five years after graduation, I want to have designed my first sports video game. Ten years after graduation, I want to be a manager of other video game designers. Twenty-five years later, I want to own my own video game company.
You get the picture. Of course, this is just one example. You might want to be a teacher or an engineer or a doctor. Whatever your ambitions, make sure you get them down in writing — right now — so that you can set off on the right foot as you begin your college journey. ~