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Carrington College Blog

Set Yourself Realistic Expectations!

June 29, 2012

Student With BooksBy and large we set our own expectations – we can choose to set them idealistically high, unfathomably low, or somewhere in the middle. But keeping your expectations realistic is critical; otherwise they can take a toll on your emotions further down the line.

In an article he wrote, Psychologist Carl E. Pickhardt, PhD defines expectations as “mental constructs that we create to anticipate our way through life, through change, and through time.” To you and me that means expectations are what we believe will happen next in life.

In certain circumstances having no expectations can be exciting, because it means you have no idea of what’s coming next. You leave yourself open to being pleasantly surprised and you can’t be disappointed, but equally you have no motivation. But if you set your expectations too high, you’re more than likely to end up disappointed and frustrated.

Neither approach is good for your sanity or your college career, which is why it’s important for college students to hold realistic expectations. Aim high, but aim true.

What Should I Realistically Expect From College?

Put simply, you should expect to get out as much out as you put in. The staff at Carrington College is committed to helping you succeed, but ultimately it’s you who holds the key to your own success.

If you come to college expecting to ‘breeze through’ without putting the work in, you cannot be disappointed if success doesn’t come your way. And should that happen, you have no one to blame but yourself. For all but a very fortunate few, academic achievement takes commitment, hard work, and often an element of sacrifice.

We have had students in the past who have shown up expecting their instructors to carry the burden for them. They had no commitment, weren’t prepared to put the work in or to sacrifice time with their friends or family. Most of them have been disappointed.  Our faculty members will go the extra mile to help their students succeed, but a great education has to be earned, and help is the key word in that sentence.

Students come to Carrington College either directly from High School or a little later in life; either way, most know their strengths and weaknesses. If you don’t consider yourself to be ‘book smart’, or if you didn’t come flying out of high school with a 4.0 GPA, there’s no reason to ‘expect’ to graduate top of your college class. That expectation may result in disappointment because there are a lot of smart people out there. Set yourself a goal that’s realistic – aim to finish in the top 25% for example.

Aim high, but be realistic because success is measured at different levels.

Ultimately if you work hard, maybe harder than you’ve worked at anything in your life before, you should expect to leave Carrington College with a valuable education that can help you in your goal to achieve success in your new career.


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