New Year, SMART-er You | Part Four

monarch butterfly end stage cocoon

You’ve determined the attainability of your goal and have reworked it. You are even starting to see an action plan work itself out. Cool huh? There is still work to do. You still have to look at the goal through the lens of realism.

Some people may think that looking at a goal realistically inhibits a person from reaching out and doing something big. Far from it! Making sure your goal is realistic isn’t about dashing dreams, but about examining the dream and seeing if in its current state it is too big and needs to be broken into smaller steps first.

Let’s go back to the example goal and apply the next S.M.A.R.T. step – Realistic.

“I want to go to Geneva College online and get a bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Services so that I can complete my mission of helping families through difficult situations with grace. I will get involved with student activities and study groups in order to graduate. I will need student loans, grants, and scholarships in addition to continuing to work while receiving my education.”

You’ve determined that this goal is in line with your values and you feel strongly about reaching it. You’ve thought up a few roadblocks and planned how you will tackle them. It’s time to make the goal tangible by asking. . . more questions:

Some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do I have everything I need to get started?
  • Am I willing to take ownership of this goal?
  • Is my goal aligned with my talents?
  • Does this goal align with the direction I want for my life?

Do I have everything I need to get started?

It may be materials, time, or skills; but, in order to start a goal you need to have everything sorted out first. In our education example, you will need to have time to do class work. An undergraduate program from Geneva College will require 10-15 hours per week per class and a graduate program will require 15-20 hours per week per class. Since you will be attending classes online you will need a reliable laptop or desktop computer that you can use – ideally you own – and a quiet space you can study. You will also need to have finished your high school education or GED before pursuing a college education.

If you don’t have any of the things you need it just means that there will be another step you need to take in reaching your goal to get a Bachelor’s degree.

Am I willing to take ownership of this goal?

You and you alone are responsible for reaching your goal. You need to be willing to do the work and hold yourself accountable when you don’t meet your deadlines.

Along the way there will be obstacles that you will need to overcome and questions you may need answered. Be willing to put yourself out there and get help when you need it. If you have questions, ask them early on and get help as soon as you need it so that your progress isn’t delayed. Geneva College offers each online student the services of a Student Success Coach who is eager to see you succeed and offer you assistance whenever you need it.

Is my goal aligned with my talents?

Automatically, you might assume that if the answer here is no, then the goal is unrealistic for you. This is not the case at all, nor should you allow a “no” to this question dissuade you if your goal is one you are passionate about. What a no in this case means is that you need to take another step to reach your goal.

Let’s look at our example goal. In order to help families through difficult situations with grace it will be helpful to have empathy, compassion, good listening skills, patience, and a good self-care routine. You may not have all those skills. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enter that field or find a different mission in life. What it does mean is that you need to learn those skills and develop those qualities. This could happen before you embark on your education or it may be concurrent with your education.

Does this goal align with the direction I want for my life?

This step requires soul-searching as well as researching. You need to look at the big picture you have for your life and check that the goal you made helps you travel a path that will get you there. Back to our example.

“I want to go to Geneva College online and get a bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Services so that I can complete my mission of helping families through difficult situations with grace. I will get involved with student activities and study groups in order to graduate. I will need student loans, grants, and scholarships in addition to continuing to work while receiving my education.”

After doing a little research or contacting a recruiter you learn that a degree in Child & Family Services would equip you for a variety of positions, such as:

  • Children’s Advocate Coordinator
  • Early Childhood Interventionist
  • Family Resource Coordinator
  • Recreation Center Director
  • Daycare Center Director
  • Children’s Librarian
  • Social Services Caseworker

You would have the opportunity to work within government agencies, non-profit organizations, social services agencies, educational institutions, or businesses. You would be enabled to support families with direct services and support.

With this in mind we will modify our goal statement:

“I want to go to Geneva College online and get a bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Services so that I can complete my mission of helping families through difficult situations with grace. I will get involved with student activities and study groups in order to graduate. I will need student loans, grants, and scholarships in addition to continuing to work while receiving my education. I will take ownership of my goal by setting aside 15 hours a week per class for course work. I will take advantage of the Student Success Coach as soon I have a question or need help.”

It seems that you are on the correct path. Your goal aligns with what you want in life, you know what you need and will obtain it, and you are willing to take ownership of the goal. Our next and last step is to make it Timely. Contact our Student Advisor and start down the path of your education.

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New Year, SMART-er You | Part Five

New Year, SMART-er You | Part Four

New Year, SMART-er You | Part Three

New Year, SMART-er You | Part Two

Why an MBA from a Christian Institution Matters in Today's Business World

The Benefits of Earning an Undergraduate Degree at a Christian College

New Year, SMART-er You | Part One

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Value of an MBA for Today's Professional

Ryan Buchar
Student Recruitment Manager
724-858-4026
onlineInfo@Geneva.edu

Megan Radel Student Recruitment Manager Geneva College

Megan Radel
Student Recruitment Manager
724-858-4032
onlineInfo@Geneva.edu

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