“Setting and Achieving Academic Goals” Workshop for Birkbeck students


Usain St. Leo Bolt OJ CD is regarded as 'the fastest person ever' and hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records.
Usain St. Leo Bolt OJ CD is regarded as ‘the fastest person ever’ and hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records.

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.

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

One of the marketing slogans that Birkbeck College uses is “Change your life: Get a place at Birkbeck” and I believe that 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 responsibility in 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 finishing with the best marks. He suggested to me that I don’t go to university until I felt 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 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 succeeding.

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 do well in your studies – you must 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 and be able to sit back one day, look back and say ‘I did it! Yay me!’?

On Saturday 27th of September I will be managing a workshop for people that are interested in setting and achieving their academic goals. It will be held at Birkbeck College and is free to all Birkbeck students. I will share with you some insights about goal-setting using evidence-based theories from the psychological sciences and provide inside tips which I learnt as a personal development coach.


Email dshaw09@mail.bbk.ac.uk or register here.

Written by Darren Shaw  (President of the Birkbeck Psychological Society)

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