Sunday, January 31, 2010

Short and Long Term Goals

We are already three weeks into a new semester. And our GPS Group also meet for the first time last week. (For us, the “G” stands for Goal, not Global.) We share about our goals for the semester. Getting good grades, completing projects, that sort of thing. But a student also shares how he wants to take some subjects outside his major, learn some new things, and make some new friends.

Then we discuss how some goals are only short term. If we get good grades this term, we are happy for a moment; then we have to start again for the next term. The achievements last term mean very little if we don’t get good grades this term. In addition to these short term goals, we also need to know what our long term goals are. Otherwise it is possible to achieve our short term goals, but ultimately failing to achieve our long term goals. For example, if our long term goal is to be a scientist, then we have to ask whether we are studying the right program, the right subjects, or even studying the right way.

We often see some students getting good grades because they are good at taking examinations, not necessarily because they have a good grasp of the subject of study. On the other hand, there are students who are good in programming or solving problems but failing to get the best grades because they are not very good at taking examinations. In the long run, who is going to be more successful?

It is a bit like the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman. He was thirsty and asked the woman for water. Later he took the occasion to tell the woman that people who drink water will be thirsty again. But He can give living water which brings eternal life.

It is obvious that it is the long term goals that are more important. We did not have a lot of time, but the students showed keen interest. There were a lot of interesting questions and thoughts expressed. We had a good start to the semester.

[The building is not on fire. It is just a reflection of the setting sun. But appearances can be deceiving sometimes.]


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