Many people assume that because we work in a college or university setting, we get the summer off! While that would be fantastic, I’m willing to bet that like me, most of you are sitting at your desks, working as we speak.
Students are gone, offices are quiet, and our colleagues are on vacation. How do we make the most of this summer time to regroup before the fall semester? Here are my top four tips for using the summer to set goals for the upcoming academic year.
Reflect on the Previous Year.
Luckily, most of us already do this to some degree as a necessary part of our roles. Maybe you already met with your supervisor to discuss the year-end and to assess how effective you’ve been at reaching your previously set goals. Even if that isn’t required, it’s a great idea to help you begin the brainstorming process. What did I accomplish this year? Was I effective in my role? What could I do better or differently next year to make more of an impact? What are some things I would love to see happen?
Categorize your goals.
Wen I set goals, it’s easy for me to spiral out of control and into a fantasy world where hours don’t mean anything,h budgets don’t exist, and I can take on as many projects and tasks as my heart desires. Maybe you can relate to the feeling of wanting to do it all?! It’s okay to dream big. But it’s important to decide which goals will take the highest priority or which goals need to be emphasized earlier in the year. For that reason, it may be helpful to categorize your goals. I organize my goals into categories like: Whole Year Goals, Fall Goals, Spring Goals, and “If There’s Time” Goals.
I work in a Career and Academic Planning office. We spend a lot of time teaching students how to set SMART goals. If you’re not familiar with the concept, SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. There are some slight variations to that acronym, but you get the idea! Take a few minutes to go back through your categorized list of goals and make each one SMART. Ask yourself questions like “Is this goal measurable and, if so, how will I measure its success?”
Find an Accountability Partner.
The last step in your summer goal setting process should be determining who will help you stay accountable for each goal. Now, your supervisor is someone who will likely want to know about all of your goals, but it can also be beneficial to identify a champion of each individual goal or category of goals. Maybe you have a mentor in another office on campus that you frequently go to with career goals and aspirations. This might be the perfect person to share some of your goals with so they can help keep you on track when the year gets busy again!
Share your goals with other SA pros online using the hashtag #SAGoals17 so that we can support one another!
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at email@example.com.