Whilst recording a podcast earlier this week (stay tuned for it to be released next week!) I asked the question about the value of University. The response surprised me a little, my guest spoke about the need to have an aim, purpose and plan for what you want to accomplish and do at University. It makes sense, right? Yet, I found it almost impossible to do this when I look back. I didn’t know who I’d meet, what I’d do, what I’d like and dislike, and so to be able to have a clear aim before arriving seemed pointless.

It’s made me think, how important are plans? One of my first ever blog posts was about this – Plan to Act.

This coming Monday I’ll be starting my placement, a big change and a new challenge, and this has made me rethink about this topic.

Here’s what I think now…

1 – Plan by thinking

What is a plan? You could say it’s a list of aims, set of objectives or steps.

But what if you don’t know what can be done or achieved?

I believe ‘planning’ could just be thinking. Take University, before you start, have a think about things that would be good to try, skills to learn, places to go… They might not be possible, also there will be new things to see and do which you can’t actually plan to do before arriving. Therefore, think about what you do know and have an idea of how to approach the challenges.

However, it’s unlikely that you can literally plan steps to achieve things, sometimes an ambiguous aim is all you can have, but it’s better than nothing.

2 – Be flexible

Don’t be afraid to change from day one!

New people, information and thoughts. Be flexible to change your aims straight away! Each day, in a new situation, will teach you something new about what’s possible and so you’ve got to use that to help you plan. It can be ever evolving.

3 – It doesn’t have to be formal!

When you tell someone to plan, they think of lists and mind maps and time spent doing nothing other than making notes to finalise later on.

A plan can be a small thought that comes to you at any time. You can plan by talking to others, by hearing from others and asking questions. You don’t always need a long list of steps, a plan can be a single sentence – “I want to leave University with a first”.

 

To return to the point made at the beginning, do you need a plan, aims and a purpose before starting something new? Well not like you think… it doesn’t have to be big or complete, but make sure you do know why you’re going. If you have a why you have a reason to do things and make the most of it.