As the Fall 2017 semester approaches, I want to encourage all students, whether new or returning, to enter the academic year with a clear focus and wisdom. What is it you wish to accomplish this semester? Thinking even further down the road, what is it you hope to achieve along your life’s journey? Make an effort to write the answers to these questions down in a safe space that is visible daily and isolate step-by-step ways you can accomplish each item. Having clear and identifiable short and long-term goals is a great way to avoid distractions you may encounter, such as hazing, which has the potential to carry you off course.
Although mental health specialists, motivational speakers, and various other professionals have debated the role of goal concepts in personality and social psychology, I believe that the power of the mind is not a joke. As an incoming freshman at Florida A&M University, my goals were clear but unfortunately they were also narrow in perspective. Making it into the Marching 100 band and becoming a Drum Major was at the forefront of my mind. Obtaining my degree and becoming a professional in the field of Psychology were things that I aspired to achieve, but didn’t perceive to be as immediate or directly related to my musical pursuits. That mindset led me to make decisions that could have re-routed my entire path but fortunately did not.
While we each will have to make our own decisions that will carry us closer or further away from our desired goals, I advocate thinking broadly about the choices you make in pursuit of your dreams. I hope we all continue to mark the short-term goals off of our lists, but be mindful that it’s not done at the expense of our greater objectives. Have a successful semester and an equally successful life course.