Every next step in our life brings something completely new and unknown by now, and the university makes no exception here. We all distinguish from each other – some have exceptional communication skills, others are good leaders or are good at problem solving, but many of the skills, which some may own, but another don’t, are learnable and the university has a big impact on a person’s entire personal development, which includes many things, some of which are the skills, which will help you not only in your university life, but will be also necessary for the further stages of your life, like your career. Learning those skills and developing your study and employment skills at university is extremely important, because this is your start of your forthcoming life and having a good base will be not only helpful, but also determinative for the decisions you make and for the path you choose to take. Being able to make for yourself a personal development plan is not an easy job, but it’s necessary if you want to clearly state your goals and to see your progress after that. The purpose of this report is to state the skills, I have developed so far and to state the areas that I need to work on in order to improve myself. In the first part of the report I will analyze in detail what I have done so far for my personal development and in the second part I will consider what more should be done in order to build myself as an individual.
2.0 AUDIT AND EVALUATION OF KEY SKILLS
“Skills audit is a process that can be used to identify the skill gaps in an organisation. The outcome is a training needs analysis that identifies where training is needed.” (cognology).The same goes to university – skills audit is a process in which you define which skills have you developed and what your potential as a student and as an employee is. The importance of a skills audit is not for underestimation, because it shows you/ your tutor/ your manager and etc. what you’re capable of and what it can be done to improve and to build up your personal development so far. Being part of the £25 Challenge and especially working in a team helped me with my skills development and was also crucial for identifying the skills I need to work on more. As you can read further in this report the two skills, which I improved the most for the last three months were the time management skill and the teamwork skill, but I also can spot a big difference in my communication skills, my decision making skills and my problem solving skills. All of the five stated above were mostly affected of the fact that I worked in a team with people I didn’t know before the challenge and I think that was the right time to develop them as they will be needed in my further education.
2.1 TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS
For a very long time I had a problem with my time-management skills and that was always an obstacle to me. No matter how serious or important a meeting or an appointment was, I was always late and around me was always a chaos. Starting the university in September I was determined to change that, but it didn’t go as I expected (or I just didn’t make enough effort). Taking part in £25 Challenge, in the other hand, was the thing that played a massive role in my routine, because being in a team means that the decisions you make will reflect not only on you, but also on every other member of the group, and that doesn’t allow you to be disorganized, lazy or chaotic.
Another really important thing, that I learned, is that it is not necessary to be busy 24/7, in order to be productive. Before starting university I thought that in order to be successful you need to work on your improvement and development in every single minute that you have. Every time when I was spending some time with my friends, or watching a movie, or doing anything else, that wasn’t helping me to evaluate self-progress, I felt bad, because I thought it is loss of time, although it’s bringing me joy. And I’m glad that I was wrong, because everything you do should be balanced, and you can’t work on yourself 24/7 or going out and enjoying life all the time, waiting for the success to come by itself. Instead of that, you should find the golden mean for yourself and to manage your time properly and at this stage of my life I can’t say that I had found it, but what I can say is that I’m learning and I can see a big difference between now and three months ago. I have days, which are entirely dedicated to my university studying – going on lectures/workshops, reading books, writing my assignments, doing further research for my academic learning, working with my team on the challenge, but I also make time for my friends and my hobbies, I’ve been to quite a few cities and places like Durham, Newcastle, Edinburgh and London, I work part-time and that balance, which I have set up, works perfectly for me at that point.
When talking about time-management, it is important to mention also the self-management, because that’s the bigger conception, which the time appertain to. “We are also more likely to succeed in our endeavours when we know what impacts on our performance. That puts us in a good position to identify ways to fine-tune the way we work and study, removing potential barriers and distractions, so we can perform at our best. Sometimes, quite small alterations to the way we approach our work, study, tasks or situations can reduce negative feelings such as boredom, stress and anxiety, and incite greater interest, enjoyment and desire to engage.” (Cottrell, S., 2015) All of us have been in situations, in which, for example, we sit on the desk, motivated to work/study, and then suddenly our phone makes a sound and we never get back to what we had to do. But we all know ourselves, I know what I am capable of, I know what makes me motivated and what distracts me, for that reason I already turn off the sound of my phone every time I decide to study and I don’t allow to be distracted, which for these past months was one of the things I had to change, in order to develop my time-management skills.
In addition, I can give as an example for my improved time-management skills the distribution of the time, which I made for myself, in order to complete all of my assignments till 12th December, when I’m going back home for the holidays. If these situation had happened 3 months ago I would probably have left all of the work for the last moment, but now I know that I have three weeks to rest, because I did my task earlier, and now I have time for myself.
2.2 TEAMWORK SKILLS
Being in a team is not an easy job, especially when you didn’t know your teammates before that, and in addition, in our case our first language was different as well. Coming from different cultural background and growing up in different countries was also an obstacle to our communication, because we had divergent views and differing opinions about everything. I’m that person, who is used to be in control of everything, every time, but maybe, because this time the language barrier was there, and the girls had more experience with doing such activities, I sat and listened, way more than I talked, which was completely new for me, but I’m glad that I did it, because I learned a lot of things, not only about the work process, but also about their culture, traditions and customs. I learned that being in a team is not about one person giving orders and the others implementing them, but it’s about the overall devotion to the task. “The team must have an overall purpose that adds value and which is translated into clear, challenging team objectives. And the team needs the right people as team members with the required skills in the right roles. They must be enablers not derailers – people who support effective team working through their behaviours, not people who sabotage, undermine or obstruct team functioning.” (West, Michael, A., 2012)
2.3 PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS
Being able to solve problems maybe sounds like an easy task, but in reality when you’re facing the particular problem is way much hard to find a solution. The easiest and the quickest thing you can do when you get in a situation in which you feel troubled is to go to somebody, which you think can help you. And sometimes that is the right thing to do, but there are moments, in which you should handle the problem yourself, without seeking help from others. That is what I learned during the £25 Challenge and now I can say that I’m much more independent as I was before. At the beginning it seemed like I always asked for help from the girls, whenever I had a question or I hadn’t understood the task that was given to me, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but doing that constantly wouldn’t teach me anything, so I decided to stop asking and start searching and thinking about a possible answer or solution. That way I improved not only my problem-solving skills, but also my analytical skills and my critical thinking, as well as my research skills. I found that the easiest way is not always the best way and not always someone will show you the right direction, so it’s important to find it yourself.