S.M.A.R.T.

Somewhere over the last few weeks, summer vacation became August Advisor Orientation, which became September and the beginning of the school year.



What!?

My new role in residence both feels natural and surreal at the same time – I have been diligent in applying for the position despite two years of challenging almost-but-not-quite returns on my efforts. Something changed along the way, and now I am positioned where I have tried to be – a residence advisor!

Along with this new role come new commitments and challenges that I must embrace and overcome, as they are not what I am accustomed to having in my schedule. Furthering this newness, I have new classes that require more reading and writing than I have ever previously needed to do for courses at school; another set of challenges to take on. Finally, I have my extracurriculars (beyond advising): The NRHH, HerCampus, my job, and my favourite extracurricular – my personal life! An item which, in itself, has also required adjustments due to new circumstances.

The first few weeks of returning to university have always been somewhat hectic for me, but this year in particular has, so far, felt like an adjustment that hasn’t been made very quickly (or completely). In light of this, I have taken steps to better ensure that I at least stay afloat in the ocean of obligations I feel I’ve found myself in, until I am able to settle down a little.

  1. To-do Lists:
    I have always taken pleasure in checking off items on my lists; but the lists these first couple of weeks have been extensive and full of new meetings/quotas/requirements/travel times. I consider myself “on top of things” when I can get through a minimum of 95% of my to-do lists (a high-standards percentage pulled out of the air), and I have been scraping to get 75% done recently. Slowly, I can see the items being checked off, and I can tell that the initial adjustment phase is nearing its end.
  2. S.M.A.R.T. Goals:
    Most students in my circles have encountered this phrase at some point in their educational career, I find. I find goal setting useful in reminding myself what I want to do and what needs to be done (even if those don’t always overlap). 
    S    –   Specific
    M – Measurable
    A  –  Attainable
    R   –   Realistic
    T – Time-based

    I am going to set a SMART goal here as an example of what it looks like, and to get me in the goal-making groove: I want to complete all of the readings for Monday’s classes before class on Monday.

    Specific – Refers to the readings due on Monday.
    Measurable – I will be able to measure my success by how much of the readings I have done.
    Attainable – This objective is very doable.
    Realistic – Self-explanatory.
    Time-based – This has a deadline: Before class on Monday.
  3. Stepping back every so often.
    This one is tough when I really want to get everything done, but it is really important (for me, at least) to take a moment to step away from the books, the appointments, the campus in general – and to remind myself that I do exist beyond all of my obligations.

Until there is more time to establish more steps for staying afloat, these steps will be my main area of focus for the time being.


Back to the books…
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