Putting It Together: Goal Setting and Time Management

As a student, it is important that you think seriously about what you want to accomplish in each of your courses.  If you simply want to get by, to do no more than pass your courses, you know the logic of how to do so.  You go to class.  You find out the minimal requirements of the course.  You fulfill those requirements with the least effort possible.  You get the grade.  You move on to the next semester.  After four years and a certain number of course hours, you get a degree.  Using this kind of thinking, you think of college merely as a vehicle to get a job.  The problem with this: “minimalist” strategy is that, in using it, you miss the opportunity to develop skills and insights that you can use for a lifetime.  You graduate, but you do not become ta lifelong leaner.

When you look at college as an opportunity to learn how to learn, to develop your mind to seek out new ways to look at things, to expand your knowledge, to learn ideas that will help you figure out the problems of your life, you must seek to internalize a set of intellectual skills that enable you to learn more deeply and more permanently in every one of your courses. 

If, however, you have become subconsciously habituated to rote memorization as your principal tool of learning, if your mode of preparing for an exam is to cram bits and pieces of content into your head, you may get by temporarily, but you will retain little of what you learned.  The result, in the long run, is poor performance, poor learning, and poor habits of thought.  You will be of little value to an employer who wants to hire people who can systematically pursue important goals, recognize and analyze significant problems, communicate important meanings, and assess their own performance on the job.

An important part of success in college is having the ability to understand and retain what you hear in lecture and read in textbooks.  For the purpose of true learning, it is not enough to simply listen and read.  Rather, you must actively work to make material meaningful to you