By Jane Tleige, Bachelor of Environment and Bachelor of Planning
Think back to that first thrilling week you attended Macquarie University. That handpicked outfit you wore during your first tutorial, meeting your lifelong friends in your scheduled classes, your future career planned to the T. Did you think your future-self would be where you are now? Most of you will answer this question with ‘no’. I doubt many of us could have predicted living in an economic recession because of an ongoing global pandemic. If you are an anomaly to the majority, you might want to buy a crystal ball and grow a beard (if able).
The point is the lives we imagined for ourselves are based on stereotypical, romanticised ideas of the future. The goals we make for ourselves are generic, undeveloped, and frankly the result of poor self-management.
Goal setting is the process of creating a plan to prioritise short-term or long-term targets. It focuses your desires, and aspirations into a practical step by step guide to achieve your potential. There are two main categories of goals - personal and professional. Personal goals include specific plans for yourself considering your own economic restrictions, social/cultural background, religious affiliations, and political views. Professional goals are career developments you wish to establish for yourself within the business/company's values. It is important to distinguish the two so that you can maintain a balanced equilibrium of personal and professional boundaries.
Goal setting is crucial to staying motivated in completing your GLP. If your goal is to complete the program, ask yourself, why do I want to achieve this? The response to this question can serve as your motivation. For instance, the predominant reason I want to complete the GLP is to increase my employability. This is important to me because I fear being a university student who struggles to get a job after completing their degree. I fear I would lose my independence, and confidence in my work ethic. This is my truest reason for wanting to complete the GLP, and I can use this reason to keep me actively chipping away at the Colloquia and Experiential Credit, ultimately motivating me to complete the program.
Goals are necessary when completing the GLP because they allow you to track your progress and plan so that the program doesn't increase stress or anxiety as you race towards graduation. Short-term goals are extremely effective in keeping on top of the 10 Colloquiums and 200 Experiential Credit points required. I have devised a simple method to organise GLP into your university schedule so you can set realistic goals:
Find out what year you plan to graduate
Calculate how many semesters you have until your year of graduation
Divide the number of Colloquiums by the number of semesters you must complete it
Do the same for the number of credit points you have left to complete
Look at the program activities and Experiential Credit Guide and consider what activities can be potential goals then schedule a semester to do it.
For example, I graduate in 2026 and have seven full semesters until I graduate. I have zero Colloquia left to complete however still 60 Experiential Credit points. This means I will have to do at least 10 points each semester to successfully complete the GLP by graduation. Goal: I plan to complete GL X28 in Semester 1, 2023.
Goal setting can be a complicated process because of the stigma surrounding it. Many of us have been brought up by the entertainment industry idolising fate, destiny, and coincidence embedding in ourselves that the world owes us chances and opportunities. Goal setting destroys that facade and makes you responsible for your own potential. Yes, this can be daunting however it can also be freeing, once you realise you have the power to achieve your aspirations!
Another complication with goal setting is that life isn't always straightforward, making some milestones impossible to achieve. Circumstances may force you to need to reevaluate your goals. The best way to face this is to check if your goal is SMART.
If unprecedented circumstances persist, imagine what sort of impact on your life this would have. If it is a low impact, it might be best to circle back to that box and tick it off some other time. For a high impact, brainstorm ideas to overcome this. Therefore, you need to be adaptable to dilemmas which might delay your targets or require some problem-solving skills to make it achievable.
Goal setting is an extremely versatile skill which can increase your productivity, reduce procrastination, and build up your resilience to setbacks. Start 2023 by mastering goal setting, the key to successfully completing the GLP!