Create a Schedule
The third step in creating your Willamette Plan is to create a schedule. For each of your goals, create steps to take or milestones that you must reach en route to success. For each step or milestone, plot a date of achievement.
Every good plan has a sense of urgency because it requires a commitment to achieve goals in a particular timeframe. Consider, by way of illustration, the following academic goal, objectives, and schedule drawn from the Self area of focus:
Goal: To make the transition to an academic major that will develop my skills and provide effective mentoring
- Objective 1: Review the College Catalog and web information on each major of interest to me. Narrow my choices to a reasonable number.
- Objective 2: Explore possibilities by fulfilling general education requirements through courses in potential major departments.
- Objective 3: Meet with each possible advisor in my departments of interest by visiting during office hours and having a conversation about their expectations of the advising relationship.
- Objective 4: Identify current majors in my departments of interest and meet with several to learn about their experience in the programs.
- Objective 5: Declare the perfect major and sign up as advisee for the perfect advisor!
This goal fits the overall timeframe of an academic year pretty well: You must declare a major no later than your second semester of your sophomore year, so planning to complete the task at the end of your first year is ambitious, but leaves you time to complete any trailing objectives should it be needed. Furthermore, each objective will take some time, and it makes sense to do them more or less in order.
Here’s how the whole thing might be scheduled:
- Objective 1: This is mostly just browsing online, and even at a leisurely pace shouldn’t take more than a few weeks to do. Completion date: September/October 2013.
- Objective 2: Take at least 2 general education courses from departments of interest each semester. That will provide exposure to 4 departments during the first year, and 6 by the third semester. Completion date: May or December 2014.
- Objective 3: This can be spread out over the time that I’m taking exploratory courses. If each visit takes approximately 30 minutes and each department has an average of 5 possible advisors, spending a month catching up with all the potential advisors in a department seems reasonable. I’ll assign a month to each of my options.
- Objective 4: Folding into a meeting of majors, if possible, can be an efficient way to learn a lot all at once. Still, no rush—I’ll give myself a month for each one, and assign them as I did above.
- Objective 5: Easy—once all the other objectives are complete, this is a simple matter of confirmation with my new advisor and filling out a form in the Registrar’s Office. Takes a few minutes.
To achieve great things, two things are needed: A plan, and not quite enough time.
Create a landing page to introduce yourself and provide links to the rest of your plan. Think of it as the doorway to your WU Plan, through which anyone who wishes to know your intentions must pass.
Where are you now? If life is a journey, this stage amounts to finding your starting place.
It turns out that goals are good for things other than soccer and water polo. In this section, you get to create them for the next year of your life.
Planning doesn’t stop with creating goals. You also need to achieve your goals, which, it turns out, requires more planning. In this section you’ll plan how to succeed with your plan by scheduling your objectives.
Finally, the section in which you make this process matter by putting the plan into effect. You’ll find surprisingly useful tips on how to maintain focus and bring your plan to fruition.