My Learning JourneyThesummer of 2017 entailed a huge new chapter in my life; university. After arelaxing year out in which I learned a lot about myself: how much my friendsmean to me, my ability to take risks, my ability to make difficultdecisions(R01), it was finally time for me to make my way to Newcastle. I had aworked extremely hard during my A-Levels and achieved A*AB, however, if I was to do them again I would havestarted revision earlier to improve my grades further. Nonetheless, I feltprivileged and proud that I had earned a place at such a highly rateduniversity, and despite the decision to come here being somewhat risky (R01), Ihad an inkling that this was the place for me.
Isoon found myself deep in the cycle of going to lectures and seminars, which Ifound daunting at first simply because I was not used to it. Finding lecturehalls and seminar rooms often involved talking to other new students andworking together to find out where we were going, so in terms of my learningjourney I was already developing communication and team working skills withinthe first week. The first project I was faced with was the team photo challenge(R02). Before completing the challenge, I was nervous about working with newpeople, and although I had already been through the process of meeting newpeople a lot already, such as in halls and on nights out, I remained unsure howwell I would be able to work with them. Nonetheless, we went on to complete thetask quickly and easily (R02).
Upon reflection, this challenge helped build onmy communication skills, my planning skills, and my confidence. I will be ableto take these skills into future jobs and interview situations and apply them to help me get an advantage overcompetitors. However, if I was to complete this task again, I would take otherteam member’s ideas on board more often rather than just forcing my way all thetime, as this may improve efficiency within the team.
Afew more weeks passed, and I was slowly becoming homesick. I was not used to living away from my family for thislong. I decided a short trip home was in order (R03). The idea of the trip didraise a few questions in my head: would I fall behind on work? Would I miss outon spending time with my friends here in Newcastle? Now I can look back on thissituation, I feel as if I can take away positives and negatives from thisexperience. Booking long-distance traintickets and being on time for the trains was something I had never doneindependently before, so my ability to function independently increased. Also,I learned that taking a break every so often can help reduce stress levels,which improves mental wellbeing.
On the other hand, I think I may have switchedoff from my studies a bit too much when I went home; I took no revision homewith me. Therefore, if I am to visit home again I will take home some sort ofrevision, to make sure I don’t fall behind schedule. Uponmy return to my flat, I found a pile of bin bags surrounding the bin in thekitchen (R04).
This was something that had been become more of a nuisance astime had passed, as it seemed that nobody else ever took the bins out. This, inaddition to the stress and anxiety induced by my poor sleeping pattern (R05) culminated in a very negative opinion ofmy flatmates. I decided that it was time for me to have a conversation with themto solve the situation. I gathered my flatmates and we came to the agreementthat if the bin is full, you take it down to the bin store, rather than justleaving a disgusting bag of garbage in the room that we prepare food. Iapproached the situation calmly, despite feeling rather annoyed about the factthat it only ever appeared to be myself to empty the bin in the correct way.
The skills this experience taught me are levelheadedness, as well as problem-solving skills. Keeping calm allowed meto convey my feelings respectfully and clearly, which will be essential in awork environment later in life. I think this situation can be applied to Gibbs’Reflective Cycle. Gibbs’ reflective cycle is a process through which one canlook back on a situation and break down what they can take from it.
I haveapplied my experience from blog post(R04) to demonstrate this.Description – None of my other flatmates would take the bins outwhen they were full. Feelings – I was irritated and thought it was inconsiderateand lazy that nobody else would do it.Evaluation – I had mostly negative feelings about the experienceand how the others acted, however how I dealt with it was positive andconstructive.Analysis – I can understand why they may not have been botheredto put the bins out, so I can see where their attitudes come from.Conclusion – I perhaps could have made a chart or rota to helpuphold the new system of putting the bins out.Action Plan – If this situation was to arise again I would notchange much about how I dealt with it.
Keeping calm and clear helped everyoneunderstand why I was unhappy and was constructive in reaching a solution.Inthe Academic and Professional Skills, we went on to take the Myers-Briggspersonality test (R06). This involved one hundred questions and took about twenty minutes to complete. Whilst takingthe test I was unsure as to how accurate the result of the test would be. Thiswas because, for a lot of the questions,I wasn’t sure how to respond. This was a strange feeling as I was sometimes leftunsure about how I would react to certain scenarios. If I didn’t know how Iwould react, then who would? I went on to complete the test and the outcome wasENFP. Completing this test allowed me to clearly outline my skills anddisadvantages, which when reflected upon will help me improve myself.
Thisincludes focus in lectures and on levels of stress, both of which I have improvedon since then in my learning journey.Notlong after taking the Myers-Briggs test, I took a simpler test of personality(R07). We were told to pick our favourite flavour of ice cream and then were told what personality typecorresponds to our flavour. I went on to find that the vanilla personality typewas not particularly accurate for myself.
Upon reflection, therefore, I can see that my tastes and preferences don’tnecessarily correspond with my type of personality. Followingon from completing the personality tests, my first major written project wasset (R08). Apprehension was the main thing I was feeling – I had so many questionsabout how to answer the assignment and how to structure it. It really did feellike a major step up from any project-based work I had done before because ofhow the brief was worded. There was very little aid provided by the lecturerunlike what I was used to in school. Even my huge Portfolio for A2 ProductDesign didn’t live up to this, and that was horrible at the time. I rathercomplacently put the project to the back of my mind like I have done with somany other pieces of work before it, and left it until a few days before thedeadline to complete it. Like my blog post (R08) explains, I eventuallyfinished the project and handed it in a mere hour before the deadline.
Thereare aspects of how I went about the work that I would change. I would startwork on the project much earlier to lower stress levels closer to the deadline.There are still positives I can take from this, however;I developed my ability to work individually and my ability to work within timeconstraints. These are skills that will almost definitely be required later inmy career, and developing them now on my learning journey in semester 1 isvital to later in life.Toconclude, my first semester has given me a lot to reflect on, both positivelyand negatively. I have developed my communication and teamworking skillsdrastically thanks to the tasks set in the Academic and Professional Skillsmodule. In addition to this, the universityhas helped me improve my ability to work and live on my own. Going forward,however, reflection upon my learningjourney has allowed me to clearly see that my time management and workmanagement skills need to be improved on.
I will try my hardest to improve onmy flaws as my learning journey develops into a career.Word Count: 1483 TeamworkingInmy opinion, teamwork is a vital skillthat one must develop to be able to function in today’s society; many employerslook for it in new employees and see it essential in order to be able to workfor their company. Since a young age, I have been heavily involved withteamworking activities, such as scouts and playing football while I was young,to working behind a busy bar with other staff members in recent years. I havealways found pleasure in cooperating with other people to get jobs or tasks completed because I love the satisfaction ofworking through a hard scenario with other people and coming out the other sidesuccessful.
Ifind that being able to function as part of a team is one of my greatestassets, however, have also found that Iwork a lot better with people who I am comfortable with. This was outlined in blog post (R02), where I stated that I wasunsure whether I would work well with the group I had been put with. Thisuncertainty has always been a downfall for me, and it probably stems from lackof belief in my own ability, rather than in other people. Nonetheless, I wenton to find that my team were very easy to work with and I had no issue at allgetting the task completed with them. Tuckman’s model on stages of groupdevelopment can be applied to this example somewhat. At first, we went throughthe forming stage. We met each other for the first time in a seminar andintroduced ourselves before we completed the task. We then progressed ratherquickly to the storming phase, in which we began to discuss possible ways ofgoing about completing the challenge, and when we should go out and do it.
Thisphase lasted barely any time as we were surprisingly able to agree very quicklyon a date and time to finish the challenge. Next, we moved onto norming. Thisactually occurred when we had already started the challenge, and we all quicklyrealised that working together and taking in each other’s’ ideas would help uscomplete the challenge faster.
We then found ourselves comfortably in theperforming stage, where we were able to communicate easily with each other and be flexible to complete thechallenge. Uponreflection, I can see that my teamworking skills are fairly adept. Overcomingmy doubts in this situation has allowed me to build my confidence in meetingnew people and working with new people, ultimately resulting in better teamworking skills.
To improve, however, I feel like undergoing more teamwork basedactivities may them develop. Perhaps joining a football team will help keep myteamworking ticking over. Also, being more open-mindedtowards people’s ideas will help me to work more effectively with strangers innew situations, making me adaptable. This will be applicable both later in mylearning journey, as well as in my career in the future.