Planning Horizons

How far out do you plan? The day? The week? Until Spring Break? End of the Semester? Graduation? Five Years? Ten Years? Retirement?

You should have plans for each of those horizons.

Certainly some will be better formed than others but you must have a sense of where you are going long term to inform what you are doing short term.

In college it’s very easy to have planning horizons defined for you and only move from class to class, semester to semester and on to graduation without much long-term planning. It’s imperative that your collegiate work leads to a holistic view of post-college life beyond your first job.

Do some reverse planning and you’ll set a destination for your efforts. Certainly there are many paths to arrive at your destination but you can’t be a rudderless ship all the time.  Below are some questions to consider to get you started.  Some of these questions may seem far-fetched to think about at this time in your life, especially knowing that as your situation develops the questions and answers will change.  However, taking the time to answer them now will reduce your regrets later.

Planning Questions

  • What do you want to do after retirement?
  • When do you want to retire?
  • How would you describe a successful career?
  • How would you describe a meaningful personal life?
  • What do you need to do over the next (40, 20, 10, 5) years to make your successful career and meaningful personal life a reality?
  • What do you need to do in your college career over the next (year, semester, week) to move along your path?
  • Who do you need to connect with to create your desired reality?

These are questions to just get you started.  There are many more to ask as your plans evolve.  Keep your head up to see the horizons in front of you and you’ll be pleased about the gratification that intentionality can bring.

What do you think?  Make it a good day.


Mike Severy is the Director of Student Life at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He views his work through the lens of student leadership development believing that students are developed over time through a series of meaningful experiences and that his role is to help students create and find the meaningful experiences in their lives. You can connect with Mike on Twitter (@MikeSevery).

Related posts:

  1. Strategic Planning for Career Success: Goal Setting
  2. Strategic Planning for Career Success: The Personal SWOT Analysis
  3. Strategic Planning for Career Success: Assessment

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