Blog post by ELP Fellow Aditi Deshpande (Cell & Molecular Biology | Class of 2019)
Summer is the time when students can set goals to achieve over the next several months. Whether you have an internship or not, it’s often helpful to know what you want to get done by the time you return to school in the fall. These can come in all forms – physical, emotional, or professional – but summer really can give you the chance to focus on certain aspects of your life that you can’t necessarily focus on completely during the school year
Over the past couple of summers, I made goals for the summer that helped me focus on what I wanted to improve or learn about, instead of spending too much time on things that weren’t as useful to me. Last summer, I made goals to research certain career paths that I might want to pursue, the skills that were required to pursue those, and made plans and sought opportunities that will help me learn those skills. I also made goals to read more, and get better at running.
Summer gives you ample opportunity to pursue personal projects – such as learning a new coding language and implementing something in that language, or reading books relating to certain subject matter. Setting goals gives you a focus and a purpose and can function as a reminder of what you are aiming to achieve.
Setting goals for internships can look a little different. While high-level goals can look like, “getting a return offer,” trying to get more specific with goals can keep you focused and allow you to make the most of your internship outside of your set deliverables. One of my goals for this summer is to see how concepts from the classroom, both from my computer science classes and entrepreneurship classes, can be applied to real-life experiences at my internship. Another one of my goals is to connect and build a network of people here who can serve as mentors and advisors in the future.
Other possible goals outside your internship can be to learn a new skill that can be useful to know for the future, whether that be knowing how to use InDesign, Photoshop, or SQL. Spending some of the summer preparing for recruitment and learning new skills for that is a good way to develop new skills outside of your internship.
Remember that working is only one part of your summer – while you are interning, it’s also important to make some goals that may not necessarily have anything to do with your career.
Pursuing personal goals are just as useful and productive. If you hardly get the chance to read during the school year, make it a point to read one book a week. If you want to learn how to juggle, try learning how to juggle. Start meditating, or conquer self-doubt. Learn to be more mindful. Learn chess!
Over the 4 months of summer, a little bit everyday can go a long way. Whether it be exercising, or learning to play the guitar, summer can be the time to work towards goals in hobbies. The possibilities are endless, and you won’t get a chance like this again in a very long time. There’s little to do outside of work during the summer, so while you’re working hard at your internship, be sure to have some fun, too.
Setting Good Goals
There are a few things that I like to keep in mind while setting goals, so that they can be good goals.
I try to make sure that my goals are measurable, so that it’s easier to know whether I’ve achieved it or not. For example, “read more books” isn’t as tangible as “read at least one book a week.”
Goals are also meant to push you, and allow for personal growth. Make sure your goals are ambitious (but also realistic), so that when you accomplish them, you feel a real sense of achievement and growth. They should be attainable, but not easy to achieve.
Lastly, I try to make sure that my goals are timely. Harder, more complex goals are going to take a longer time to accomplish than smaller ones. Allot time reasonably so that your goals are still achievable and you feel like you’re learning!
Goals are a great way to make sure you make the most of your summer. Be ambitious, but make sure to not overcommit. As much as you’re learning and growing, make sure you’re also enjoying the process!