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Explore the latest trends, tips, and experiences in college life in this blog written by fellow students.

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    Making SMART Goals for the New Year

    Kristi Yamashita

    It’s 2020! The beginning of a new semester or quarter makes many college students think about what goals they can set in order to get the best start to the new year.  Whether your goal is to keep your room clean, improve your study habits, or find a job or internship for the summer, you should keep the acronym S.M.A.R.T. in mind. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  In order to better understand this concept, I am going to use an example goal of getting good grades in school.

    Be specific

    To make this goal specific, you should be descriptive about what you want to improve or achieve.  Rather than simply saying that you want good grades in school, you could make your goal be to receive grades high enough to be recognized on the Dean’s List. You can get on the Dean’s List by having a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Being specific makes it harder to defer from it or change it once you have made it.

    Make it measurable

    A measurable goal is one that you can track your progress in.  For this goal in particular, you can track your progress by looking at your school portal which displays your scores on tests, assignments, and participation.  This will allow you to gauge how well you are doing and if you are on the right track to achieving your goal. Making it measurable will also help you recognize when you need to improve.

    Require attainability and relevance

    Goals that are attainable are realistic and can be achieved if you put in your best effort.  Receiving a 3.5 GPA in school is an attainable goal if you know you are capable of getting A’s and B’s in your classes. It is also important to make sure that your goals are relevant to who you are and who you want to become.  Being recognized on the Dean’s List is relevant to me because I am a student, and I am trying to receive the best grades I can during my college career.  

    Define your timeline

    Lastly, your goal should have a clearly defined timeline, including a start date and end date. In order to satisfy this requirement of SMART, you can state that you want to earn a place on the Dean’s List this quarter.  That means that you have set three months for yourself to put in your best effort to achieve your goal. Making a timetable will help you stay motivated to actually get the goal done and not continue to put it off.

    Many people give up on goals, but using the SMART criteria when setting new goals will help you keep on track to actually get them done. By constructing your goals around these five attributes of SMART, you are sure to be on your way to a great year. 


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    Off to College: Preparing for Your First Year

    Kristi Yamashita

    Twelve years of school have finally passed and you’ve finished an endless amount of assignments, reports, and presentations.  After writing what may have been some of the most important essays of your life, you finally did it! You got accepted to college and you’re about to begin some of the best years of your life.  Going to college for the first time can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking milestone in your life. There are a lot of new things to adjust to such as being able to pick your own class schedule, making new friends, and maybe even living hundreds of miles away from home.  Here are some tips on how to prepare for your upcoming adventure.

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    Learning from LEADS

    Kristi Yamashita

    The Leadership Experience and Development for Success (LEADS) Program at UC Irvine is just one example of why students should get involved in organizations on campus. Many students, myself included, may be frustrated with what they are learning in class and might think, “How is this actually going to help me in my future career?” Within this program, students are able to develop as professionals, as well as participate in mentoring workshops and network events with The Paul Merage School of Business alumni and leaders in the local community. Furthermore, in organizations like this, students are able to learn valuable soft skills from the knowledgeable mentors who developed the topics for this program.

    Give Back

    One concept that we learned in LEADS is that we should “Give first, give often, and don’t expect anything in return.” This resonated with me because I believe that we live in a self-centered world where most people just expect things to be given to them. I think we should realize that life is not about receiving, but more about giving to others and helping one another out to achieve ambitions and goals. By giving to others, such as sharing knowledge to solve a certain problem or simply sending a thank you card, there is more positivity within the community and people are more willing to do the same for others, even if the favor is not returned to you.

    Listen to Those Before You

    The LEADS Program is fortunate to have executive and committee members who dedicate both their time and talent to the students’ success. They offer their experience and connections to the program by presenting and facilitating at least three workshops every quarter, donating books, bringing guest speakers, and giving the Council funds to utilize to increase student bonding and engagement. Most importantly, they serve as available and responsive mentors when the students need them. The LEADS students are grateful to have both dedicated and passionate supporters of the program. Being in programs like this allows you to gain wisdom from people that have been in your shoes. If you get the chance to hear from someone about their experiences, take it!

    Be BIG

    A more recent topic that we have been working on is “Who are you when you are BIG?” This is the idea of knowing who you are when you are striving and feeling your best. The mentors had us write short statements of who we were when we were “big” and the results were amazing. Many students described themselves to be confident, strong, organized, happy, and even unstoppable. The list is endless. Whatever each student felt when they were “big” was unique from person to person. Reading this statement right before a test or interview or even when someone is not feeling their best can help the person remember who they can be. It provides the motivation and willpower for the person to pick themselves up and go achieve their goals because they have it in them to do so.

    Ultimately, I highly encourage other students to join organizations like the LEADS Program, as it educates students in ways that a textbook simply can’t. I have learned so much in the short amount of being in it and want to say that getting involved can be just as important as going to classes.