Excited about the new academic year starting soon? Us too! After adapting to any changes this year and settling into the routine of study, deadlines and fun activities, we know that the autumn term can get mega busy! Let’s talk about how setting some simple goals NOW can help you maintain positive wellbeing, gain purpose and confidence in your career journey even when you are busy.
In this blog, you’ll find tips on planning your upcoming semester, some reflective questions to work out your goal and actions to get there, and find handy online resources to get organised! While it’s true that you can sit down and write down goals and reflect on your next few months anytime, we think now, during the month of August is a perfect time. It’s naturally quieter and full of anticipation for what’s to come soon. So as you wait for your timetables to arrive, connecting with the community feel and events at Welcome Week, and getting started in your modules, why not take the time now to look forward, reflect and set goals!
It’s about finding your purpose and building confidence
This is another way of thinking about goals that make it easier to feel like you’ve got a purpose for all those activities you’ll soon be booking. For example, your goal for the autumn term could be to “grow my social and professional network” – now, all those plans for socials, faculty meets, career events and fairs will be part of a bigger direction! Another type of goal could be “find out how my degree applies to the world out there” – now, attending career panels with employers, asking questions from alumni and lecturers is going to support this goal!
By spending time reflecting on what you want to get out of your next few months, you’ll feel confident that you’re maximising your time at King’s and creating the best possible experience for you this year. This is really important – it’s not that organisation and planning is not a good skill to master in itself. But, things change and as we all adapt to another “new normal” during the Autumn term, taking time and learning how to reflect will support your mental wellbeing and sense of achievement as you go through the year.
How to work out your own goal (5 min exercise)
Deciding on your own purpose may not be easy to put into words just yet. If not, the exercise below can help you develop techniques for doing that. Reflecting on your interests, strengths and values can feel like a big task and a lot of students equate this to the idea that “I have to have my end goal career plan figured out!”. But remember, goals can be short term as well. You can absolutely make plans and goals to develop yourself, no matter if there’s an ‘end goal’ yet or not!
Step 1 – Brainstorm ideas for goals
Question: What do I want out of this semester? What am I imagining to achieve?
To find your answer, set a timer for 2 minutes, and write down a set of words or sentences on paper – don’t hold back ideas, just keep writing and let the words flow freely. Then, take a look at what you’ve written. Are any of higher priority than others? This is where you begin identifying goals!
If some things are of higher priority, write numbers next to these words/sentences. Start working out what your top 3 or top 5 goals for this semester could be.
Step 2 – Break goals down to actions
Question: What actions would help me make these top 3 or 5 things achievable?
Again, set a timer for 2 minutes and brainstorm ideas that break your goal down to steps and actions. This means that you are looking for simple steps that reach the goals or wishes that you have for your Autumn term. What actions could you commit to? This could be events to go to, activities to do or even habits to pick up.
Step 3 – Mindful goalsetting
Question: What gives me energy? What am I most excited about?
Lastly, think about this: what actions and goals give you energy? In other words, this reflection will be to select and narrow down the ideas you’ve brainstormed onto a manageable plan that you are excited to start on. This is important! You’ll remember your plan when it’s motivating, feels authentic to your goal and feels like a plan that helps you develop yourself.
Takeaways to get started
Ways to connect with opportunities around King’s:
- Set alerts and reminders for new opportunities and events according to your personal preferences and career goals and receive targeted newsletters to your email inbox.
- View our career events calendar and book attendance at our fairs, masterclasses, , workshops, panels and other events. Whether you are applying or just looking for ideas, there is something for every stage of your career thinking journey.
- Have a look at this year’s events run by societies and the KCLSU! Its never to late to take up a new hobby or make new friends.
Tools for time management:
- Ways to Prioritise: This time management and organisation PDF handout from University of Edinburgh has some great ideas for how to make plans, prioritise tasks and stay organised.