By Marian Li, Toppel Peer Advisor
Brand new school, brand new you. College is the time to make the saying “to each your own” come true. But new experiences can be a black hole filled with the unknown that snowballs to reduce even the most confident individual into an emotional basket case. Even if it’s not your first time, returning students can get caught up in the hubbub of campus life, forgetting the main reason we came to college in the first place. Students are here to continue their education and grow into mature adults, ready to take on the big world of work in whichever field of interest; we can’t very well prepare properly if we lose the goal in mind. So how can we circumvent the annual meltdown and stay sane?

Toppel’s been teaching students about time management efficiently to maximize the 24 hours allotted in the day. Succumbing to the overwhelming pressure is counterproductive. Students are tired of hearing this but prioritizing is a must! Achieving a system that works is difficult, but if you’re SMART about the goals you create, you will go into new responsibilities with the end in mind.
Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. Spelling out the details removes any room for confusion or time wasted worrying about details along the way. To be specific, consider the six “W” questions (who, what, when, where, why, which).
Measurable – Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that boosts you motivation to reach your goal. Quantify your goals, ask “How much?” and “How many?” and the most important “How will I know when it is accomplished?”
Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways to make them true. You develop the mindset, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals. 
Realistic – To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high to aim your goals. But just be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
Timely/Tangible – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it, there’s no sense of urgency. If you truly believe it can be accomplished, then your goal is realistic.
Take a moment to BREATH and enjoy the autonomy college gives you!