“Without vision the people perish,” says a wise verse of scripture. It’s in pondering these words that college-bound students should put some valuable time. For it could just as easily be said, “Without vision, the college student tapers off & drops out.” Even if that doesn’t happen, you may end up with a degree and aimless, which can be just as bad.

Vision is a picture of where you’re headed. It also entails a reason why you’re headed there that transcends the mere pleasing of parents or of wealth generation, both of which get old in time.

In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey shares a small exercise to help you get to the heart of your values, which will underscore your vision. He starts by asking you to envision yourself at your funeral. See yourself floating above everything & observing all those in attendance. See the looks on their faces and feel what they are feeling in regards to you. Hear the words of those who speak, sharing their thoughts of who you are and what you meant to them. Part of the reason this is a powerful activity is because everything said at a funeral is good. How many times have you been to a service where you hear the deceased referred to as a no-good, lousy scumbag? While some may think this, few say it. Perhaps this is because we all desire others to remember us for the good we’ve done and put to rest all of the things we weren’t proud of.

Covey’s little thought experiment is good also for another reason. It gets at the heart of your values. When all is said & done, how do you wish to be remembered? Those things that remain when all else is peeled away are your values. A value-based vision of where you’re going in life, if refreshed & tapped into often will give students a much greater ability to persist through those rough midterms, finals and monster papers.

Capturing down on paper how you wish to be remembered also gives you, the prospective or current student, a direction that many students never have. Think about it. If you knew where you were going and all of your class work was helping you to get there, don’t you think you’d have a better ability to stick with it than the student who thought all his classes where a waste of time? Sure! You better believe it!

So, if you don’t already have a vision statement, take some quiet time, perhaps up in the mountains or by a stream. Hover above your funeral and take notes on who you’ve become (remember, YOU control this). Then once you have a list of what you’ve become, start planning what you want to do to achieve that vision. This will breathe excitement & life into any education you pursue. Here’s to your vision of a successful education!

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