By Carolina Silva
The Brookhaven College Counseling Center offered a SkillsShop about the importance of setting goals Sept. 22. Counselor Maribel Peña-Lyons taught students about the positive effects of setting goals.
The objective of this SkillsShop was to get students thinking and brainstorming about the purpose of their actions in school and life, Peña-Lyons said. She said she wanted students to start asking themselves, “How am I going to get there?”
Peña-Lyons said one reason many students might drop out of school is a lack of guidance. “A lot of times people live the dayby- day, like, ‘Yeah, I am going to school.’ Well, for what?” She said. “You don’t just come to school. You need a plan.”
When students do not have goals, things look harder to reach, Peña-Lyons said. When students see what they achieve as they go, it motivates them to keep going, not just in school, but in everything else, she said.
Peña-Lyons used an acronym for setting goals: S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound). Peña-Lyons said she recommends starting off simply by creating a daily and weekly to-do list and keeping a calendar to stay organized. She said writing down a daily to-do list on a calendar is like setting small daily goals .
“[Once] you cross them out for everything you do, you’ll feel like, ‘Oh, I’ve accomplished so I’m getting closer,’” Peña-Lyons said. She said students should get a day planner, carry it with them and write down the purpose of each day.
Laura Hernandez, a student, said this was the first SkillsShop she attended. Hernandez said she learned how to set goals for the future on a daily basis, something she has never done before.
Student Sebastian Lora said the presentation was constructive and positive. Lora also said he learned to set short- and longterm goals and to visualize and create an objective in life. Peña-Lyons asked students questions and gave them forms to get them thinking about their own goals.
After about two years of presenting these workshops, Peña- Lyons said her motivation continues to be helping students succeed in school. She said she leads SkillsShops to help students learn, not just to help them earn extra credit. “I want them to take something out of it,” she said.