Setting and achieving your academic goals


People go to university for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s for personal development, other times it’s to escape from their home life and some even return to study because they want to prove something to themselves, in order to gain confidence in themselves.

My name is Darren Shaw, I’ve been at Birkbeck since 2010, beginning my life here as a counselling student before doing a degree in the psychological sciences. At the time of writing, I am the president of the Psychological Society and I am an experienced life coach, events manager and trainer.

One of the marketing slogans that Birkbeck, University of London uses is “Change your life, get a place at Birkbeck”, I believe this is rather fitting for my areas of interest, which involve the task of setting powerfully motivating goals that move you into a place of full responsibility for your life.

A wise friend once told me, that when you are at university, you cannot have multiple things distracting you from your overall goal of completion with the best marks. He suggested to me that I don’t go to university until I felt like I could commit my mind and body to the sole task of completing my course of study. This is one of the secrets of getting to the end of the course.. being prepared to let go all else, for the sake of success, whilst at the same time, making a plan, or goal, that incorporates everything and everyone that will increase and sustain your chances of success.

Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, doesn’t win races by messing about with his goals. He knows who he is, sees what he wants and runs at it with all of his might. He doesn’t get distracted by his kids, doesn’t let his friends faze him and he runs, faster than any man or women on earth, towards the ultimate prize, the finish line. Do you think that the reason Usain keeps achieving is because he focuses only on the finish line? No, there is a bigger picture, like the one you must have if you are to smash your studies and do the best you can. So here is the question, what is that bigger picture? What is it that will make the hard slog worth it once you have completed your course of study?

What vision of your future can you design that is so powerful, that nothing can stand in your way so that you can attain your desired state, get whatever you deserve in life and be able to sit back one day, looking back and just simply saying “I did it.. I actually did it.. yay me!”


Email the author, Darren Shaw on to find out more about the events aimed at increasing your academic effectiveness


2 thoughts on “Setting and achieving your academic goals

  1. The ultimate motivation for me personally is to achieve and progress and to reach the dream goal that I set for myself and for my family. To proceed with this I must plan and stay focused on the planned momentum of each day. At the same time it’s important that I have the ability to stay flexible and accept that I may need to alter the plans if needed. My ultimate guide is “balance” and never loose sight of the main route while I am focusing on the waves of my journey.


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