MISSION POSSIBLE: Creating your own academic mission statement!
When you think of a mission statement what comes to mind? Most people immediately think of a successful business. After all, mission statements are used to define the core purpose and goals of a business or, as the definition states:
noun: mission statement; plural noun: mission statements
- a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.
However, the one word in this definition that is always overlooked is “individual.” That’s right, a person or group of people can also have a mission statement, which means so can you. The obvious follow-up question would then be: why would you need or want a mission statement? The answer might surprise you.
Why a Mission Statement
As the mission statement defines a company, so too can it define you. The importance of defining who you are cannot be understated, because as you go through your academic career, you will make many choices that may change where you are in your path to a degree and make you question who you are as a student. You may choose a new major or may not be successful in a certain course, and you will inevitably face challenges at some point during your academic career. But through it all, if you can return to your mission statement, where your core values and beliefs and goals remain true, then the sting of adversity will be easier to bear and the euphoria of success will be tempered with humility. Your mission statement can be the foundation of your academic experience if you frame it correctly which is the next step. Ready? Let’s go….
How to Create a Personal Mission Statement
Step one: your core. When you look at yourself in the mirror don’t only look at who you see but also look at what you want to see. You could see traits such as confidence, empathy, courage, humor, strength, caution, ambition, and adventure. These are the types of characteristics that will anchor your personal mission statement and like a company, this would also be what you would want people to know about your business.
Step two: your strengths. Like your core, knowing and utilizing your strengths will make you more successful. A tool available to every Towson student to assist in this process is StrenghtsQuest. If you have yet to look into this resource, make it a priority early on in your academic journey.
Step three: your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Since this is your academic mission statement, these goals should be primarily related to your major, GPA and graduation goals. However, remember, as previously mentioned, things rarely go as planned, so keep these goals general enough so you they will work throughout most scenarios that you might encounter.
And now you’re ready!
Here are some final tips; keep it short and to the point. Be positive and honest and be inspiring!
Mission accomplished? Share it with us! Send a highlight of your mission statement to @TUacad with #mymission and you will be entered to win a prize!
Remember that your academic journey will be uniquely yours, and your mission statement should be a reflection of the possibilities of that journey. Below you will find the highlights of mission statements of two very successful personalities to inspire and guide you as you come up with your own academic mission statement.
“To have fun in (my) journey through life and learn from (my) mistakes.” – Richard Branson
“To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” – Oprah Winfrey
Robert Karp & Emily Halligan
Academic Advising Center