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Currently I am a student at Coventry University and over the first semester I have grown and learned more than I thought was possible. I came to university after doing my A-Levels with skills what I thought was a good foundation, actually proved to be basic and needing work. Going through this course has taught me more than just numbers and figures; it has taught me how to express myself. I have learned how to think for myself, how to find answers to things that I do not know and the most important attribute this course has taught me is how to communicate with others. This had been demonstrated several times through assignments and a variety of tests.
When I started at Coventry University I thought I was going to spend my next three years working with figures and applying them to the world of finance. Although in classes I did work out figures, sums and learnt the world of finance, I quickly found out that there is so much more to it. A specific experience where I had to think outside the box was when I had to do the preliminary research exercise. Researching is not one of my strongest abilities so at first I struggled with this task. To overcome this I first planned out my work by spider diagrams and organising my work into segments. Organisation and planning are skills I am familiar with hence I was able to plan my work and knew what I needed to research. Although I knew how to use these skills, it was an opportunity to expand which I took. By planning and organising my work I was able to overcome this problem but soon I was hit with another obstacle of referencing. Referencing was a skill which was touched upon at school but during the time in my study, it has been called upon extensively. I used my initiative and found a book which shows how to reference. I used this to reference my work however from the feedback I received, the referencing was not done correctly. Referencing is one of my weaknesses which I will improve on by practicing step by step and I will gain help from colleagues.
An attribute that I have which is used very often is being able to use resources provided very effectively. I have been using this feature over the years however at my time at university I have been using the resources provided thoroughly. A part of this skill is using my initiative to find the resources available. A time when I have done this at university is when I do not understand a certain subject. I would have then go to the library and find a book on the topic and read about it. This is only one of the many times I have used my initiative and used the resources available to me.
One of my biggest strengths is my mathematical skill which is clearly demonstrated through my assignments. On my most recent assignment I received 93% which shows that I have good numerical skills however there is a room for improvement which can be done by practice and answering more difficult questions. Another skill I have attained throughout my time in Coventry University is confidence which was not there at first as I have not experienced settling in a new environment with new people prior to coming to university and it was admittedly difficult. However, my confidence levels have increased the longer I have spent in this University which is clearly evident in classes as I have shown confidence when told to display my work to the class in a presentation. My studies gave me an academic understanding and skill required for degree level study. These I have had the opportunity to build upon with university lectures requiring me to take notes independently rather than copying tutor notes from whiteboards.
My teamwork skills have also been developed massively as opposed to how it was in previous years as in those years education was mostly set as an independent task which, although allowing me to improve independently, did not give me a chance to work on my teamwork skills. However, in Coventry University a lot of tasks and exercises that are set are group work. This gave me a chance to improve my teamwork skills as I have learnt how to divide the work equally between the members in our team and how to cooperate in order to finish the work at minimal time. Furthermore, working in a group has also improved my communicational skills because, as a team, we had to discuss ideas and answers to each other.
One of the main areas which I have developed is my communication and presentation skills. There was better use of verbal communication skills in the group task which included giving a presentation of the output of our work. Any mistakes concerning academic writing were avoided as I had received feedback from the preliminary research exercise. However, a range of new skills were needed in this task. These skills included getting the attention of the audience; presentation software as well as bearing in mind the duration of the presentation. I found it extremely useful to look up lectures online to help me make decision on the information I wanted to use. The outcome of looking up on these online lectures is I have learnt the importance of an influential introduction in a formal presentation, as it helps capture the attention of the audience. Even though the task involved using a multitude of exterior detail, such as time limitations; layout and adding impacts through graphs, the arguments inside the slides were an outcome of analysis and critical thinking. There are many steps involved in this process and they are very useful to improve other skills. The first skill I put to use is my note taking skills which I used to gather the information; acknowledging its meaning. The next step was evaluating its importance and applying the understanding I have gained. The final step was finding if there were any problems, developing ideas and drawing conclusion.
However presenting work and involving more actively in group debates was not the only way of developing verbal communication skills, but this skill could also be developed by working collaboratively with my team mates. At first, the pre-assigned roles that we were given were doubted in the fact that it would not result in achieving the tasks in the most effective way as we were all different- some people are good at leading and motivating as opposed to others whereas other people are good at more practical skills such as writing and research and by being assigned to roles it restricted us from working at our strengths. However, the module helped us develop most of basic skills needed to allow us to be time keepers, researchers, group leaders etc. so, in a working context, this will be extremely helpful as we will need to prove our ability of undertaking a range of different tasks.
There are some things where I lack the confidence and skills to do which I hope to learn from my time at university. Writing has not always been one of my strong points but from my time at university I have become able to express what I feel onto a page. My judgments are more complex as I have learned to present an argument in an organised fashion. My writing has become more concise however I believe there is room for improvement as I still feel the need to â€˜waffleâ€™ which brings the quality of writing down. However that being said my writing has become more interesting as compared to before. One of my weaknesses as found from the skills audit test is my verbal reasoning. I received a low mark from this test hence I will need to improve on this. I will need to practise my verbal reasoning and in the future I will take this test again to see how much I have improved. By doing this I will be able to progress and I will be able to use this skill in other aspects of my course.
As a result of undertaking this module, I have recognized a variety of strategies that would help improve on my weaknesses and expand on my strengths by using SMART objectives. I will specify some time for study by creating weekly study plans and priorities tasks. I will follow the necessary steps needed in order to write a successful essay, beginning with mapping out a plan, followed by research and then writing the essay.
To conclude, this module has helped me develop my personal and also my educational expertise. It has helped to identify my strengths and weaknesses. Doing group and individual tasks and also considering feedback received on my work has helped me correct my weaknesses and develop my strengths. Itâ€™s caused me creating an action plan for more improvement as well as determining techniques for turning weaknesses into advantages. Overall I am satisfied with my progress but I am aware that there is area for improvement.