You probably heard this phrase the very first time you encountered RSBC Advising. And then again in the advisor’s office. And again in another advisor’s office. It just keeps coming at you, like some kind of friendly, inspirational zombie.

These two DEFINITELY worked their plan.

So what is with these people? Why do they keep saying this, and what does it even mean?!

Let’s take some time to break it down; because if we’re saying it that much, it really is important. Let’s start at the beginning:

Why are they hammering this point home?

Because if you don’t know where you’re going, how are you ever supposed to get there? How are you supposed to soldier through the classes that are less than exciting (I’m looking at you, Stats) if you don’t have a purpose? Before you can succeed at anything at all, you have to have a vision. If you want to drive to Dunkin and get some coffee, you have to envision the coffee, then you have to know where you want it from, AND you have to know the location in order to arrive at it. You can’t (yet) just hop in the car and say “coffee” and expect to arrive at a place that has coffee. You’ll just be driving aimlessly, endlessly, wondering what’s even the point of all this.

The problem is that for many of us, getting to Rutgers WAS the vision. We arrived. We succeeded – game over. Except in actual fact, you just leveled up and the game is FAR from over. It’s time for a new vision.

Some people focus on graduation, and what kind of honors they want to graduate with. Some people focus on the kind of job they want after graduation and what kind of skills they need to get there. Some people focus on the journey, and approach all new information with genuine curiosity and focus on doing their absolute best. Whatever motivates you is fine. But if you want to develop a successful plan, you have to know who you are and how you operate.

But how do you develop a successful plan?

It’s more than just developing a graduation plan, though that’s a really good start. It’s also planning when and where and with (or without) whom you will study, and for how long and how often – doing a little every day is more effective than working once for longer right before the class. It’s also planning for a good night’s sleep (which has been shown to improve memory retention and improve test scores). It’s knowing what keeps you from focusing, or what helps you focus. Is salsa your study groove, or is it K-pop – or silence? Do you struggle with constantly checking social media? Use an add-on like LeechBlock or an app like SelfControl. Whatever it is, you make a plan.

Alright, NOW I can focus!

Okay, I planned. Now what?

So you made a plan. Did it work? Did you do what you intended? If not, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. A plan is only as good as your ability to execute it. What didn’t work out so well? What could you do differently? If you DID follow your plan, did you get the results you wanted? Why or why not? What would you like to change?

Ultimately, planning and working are the process by which you get you to the outcome you want.

They’re also where you learn some of the most important success tools for your work life to come. We know. We’ve watched a few students succeed or not. And it really does all boil down to this:

Plan your work, work your plan.

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