“Never of writing designed to critically analyse,

“Never regard study
as a duty but as an enviable opportunity to learn” (Albert
Einstein,2018.)

Einstein ultimately highlighted the benefits of
taking every opportunity we get for self- development not because it is our
duty, but rather because it is chance for
improving our self. Within our first semester we have been given a variety
of prospects to develop our professional and academic skills. Improving not
only our communications, but also our team working capabilities.  Opportunities such as having to do
presentations in front of our peers, working in groups, receiving and giving
feedback on our and other peoples work respectively, has allowed us to cultivate.
 This essay will be a self-reflective
piece of writing designed to critically analyse, my strengths and weaknesses weighted
against some of the categories mentioned above. The outline of this essay after
evaluating my strengths and weaknesses is to elucidate the good practices allowing
me to continue in this route, while also providing an action for the areas where
further improvement is required to refine my personal academic development.  The final segment of the essay will focus primarily
on the transition from school to university; which will be discussed in order
to identify differences and difficulties which was experienced during this time.

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Throughout the
Economics course, it is mandatory to attend all lectures and seminars, whilst
in seminars there is an expectation to complete relevant seminar sheets before attending
the group meeting with the subject seminar tutor. . These
questions are based on what was taught on the previous lecture.  Within the semester the biggest difficulty I need
to rectify is my focusing ability, I think this is an issue due to an inability
to fully understand what was said, and therefore it leads to loosing concentration.
I intended to correct this by understanding the topic before going to the
lecture, finding solutions to questions I do not understand, and moreover by
asking questions too, if I don’t understand. This should not only improve my focusing
capability but also give me more confidence and allow me to participate more.

 

Team work and group work has been constrained to
within our ‘Developing academic & professional skills’ course. Where we had
to work in groups to do a presentation on our chosen subject. This was an stimulating
task as cooperating and discussing topics. This was quite enjoyable, as a group,
we all listened and decided as a team what route and what topic we would work
on. Personally, our group worked well, we all did our individual work, which
then when brought all together made it quite easy to understand and discuss throughout
the presentation.  Considering what I individually
did, I think my biggest strength was the presentation itself, although at first
I was nervous speaking in front of an audience, once started the nervousness disappeared
as I was able to communicate coherently and clearly. One element of the presentation
I would however improve, based on the feedback from out subject teacher, would
be to continuously keep my visual contact, while also improving hand gestures instead
of being still. Incorporating this into my presentation display would allow me
to further improve my overall communication and understanding.

 

Within our personal development seminars, we were
also required to peer review a coursework, based on what we have been taught. This
process involved joining a small group of two or three, where each member would
have to take the essay given, and critically analyse it. I think this process
was very useful because it allowed constructive criticism to be deployed. This allowed
me to further enhance my essay, and therefore enabling me to score more highly.
 Overall, I think this is a successful method
in improving overall understanding of what is written but also, having been given
the opportunity to critically analyse someone else’s work, make the you as the
marker, understand and develop our own essays more, as you can see what
assessors look for. Although this section was very useful, it did highlight
areas of both strength and weakness. For example, it illuminated my time
management ability, it showed that I was capable of finishing essay marking,
understanding and then writing my own essay based on what feedback was given. Nonetheless
it also emphasised my lack of persistence. I found it difficult to sit and go
through each element which needed to be fixed. This I understand is an
important to studying but also in my future. One such way I intend to fix this
is by continuing to do things I find requires more patience; the intention
being that slowly I will develop an ability to keep persisting throughout areas
which require more time.

 

In the Math’s element of the course, we were given
an ‘in-class test.’ This was an interesting period, as I did not know how the
exam would be, being that it was my first exam I sat at University. I think my revision
strategy was especially good, I focused primarily on what I found difficult, spending
more time on those areas, than those I found easier.  I think this is what enabled me to score more
highly in the exam. However, one element I do intend of improving is revision
for a longer period. Throughout both Secondary school and Sixth form, I often
revised at the very last minute, however what I did notice is, that university requires
greater revision at more constant and smaller periods, as leaving everything to
the last minute, perhaps as more time goes on, will make it especially
difficult when it comes to the exam. I intend to improve this by trying to go
through what was taught in the lecture, after the lecture at home; in the hope
that it is still relatively fresh. Moreover, once fully revised at home, I intend
to do the seminar sheet a few days after, which I then could use as practice,
or even a test of how much I remember.

Coursework on the other hand, has been something I’ve
been exposed to before, during sixth form and secondary school. One thing
however I did notice was how heavily research based essays should be at
university. Moreover, there is a greater emphasis on referencing and in-text
citations. This I did find quite difficult due to different formatting required,
i.e. CU Harvard Referencing. I plan to improve this, by continuously looking at
the booklet provided by Coventry university on referencing, especially when
doing coursework and essays.

 

To conclude on everything mentioned above, my strengths
and weakness are not black and white. I often have tendencies which do in occasions
weigh me down. Weakness such as a lack of patience when doing things, I don’t particularly
enjoy, prevent me from perhaps achieving and doing my best. One could argue
that is arrives from my inability to focus fully and concentrate on things I find
difficult. Methods such as repetition and understanding topics better, as
mentioned above, should hopefully slowly turn these weakness to strengths,
making me a more well-rounded character.

 

There are many aspects of university which differ
from Secondary School and Sixth from. The biggest thing is losing some of the
close relationships you often have while at school, as people move away.  Regardless of this however there is various
opportunities to meet people and socialise. Things such as societies, and team/group
working activities.  Another different
aspect of university life is the emphasis on independent study, the work and
how much you progress is truly dependent on yourself. We have the responsibility
to attend, concentrate and do the work, otherwise we will continuously fall
behind. Whereas in school there was someone who would continuously check up on
us, check where we are, and check our progress.

 

 The first semester
has without a doubt had its up’s and down’s, I have had my difficulties and surprise,
such as the emphasis placed on referencing, and how independent university life
can be.  Nevertheless, I have also had
many positives, joining societies, having employment seminars, which improve my
future prospects, meeting friends, and slowly but assuredly becoming my own
independent person. I truly am looking forward to remaining years at university.