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Essay on Personal Challenges in Life as a Student

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This module has helped me gain both academic and personal skills that would prepare me to undertake real business scenarios I may face in my career. My reflective statement aims to show my journey so far by detailing my experiences, stating what skills I have and need to develop and what I aim to have achieved by the end of this module, course, and my time spent at university. Within the first weeks of the course, I set out ‘SMART Targets’ (Doran, 1981) which focus on setting 'smart, measurable achievable, realistic, and time-based goals. (Day and Tosey, 2011) I set these (see Appendix Week 1 and 2) as I wanted to improve my performance throughout the module and these set SMART Targets I set for the 12 Weeks included: finish any work set three days before the deadline, do two hours of extra reading a week surrounding the module and not getting behind on logging my reflections each week.

Referring back to these targets when tasks were set throughout the past months improved my self-awareness as I focused on my ‘emotions, personality traits,…goals, perceptions’ (Morin, 2011). My emotional intelligence developed due to logging reflections each week which pushed me to discuss how I felt. An example of my emotional intelligence improving was when selecting a project manager. Knowing there was going to be a teamwork setting, I previously evaluated how I perform in a team. Normally putting myself forward for the lead role, I decided not to. Being aware of myself, I know my personality can come across as ‘bossy’ or ‘dominating’ and I wanted to see how I did if I took a different role. ‘Emotional intelligence influences an employee’s ability or inability to perform their job by managing their emotions…Having this social awareness affects a person’s capacity to manage workplace demands...’ (Davis, 2019) Both experiences taught me that it is essential to be self-aware and develop emotional intelligence when undertaking tasks as you can affect judgment, what is best for the task, the success level of the outcome, and working environment.

In most jobs working within a team occurs regularly. There were two group projects handed out. Project 1 (see appendix Week 3) had us present during Week 7 then I reflected on it using Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle which splits the reflection into six stages of ‘exploring an experience’ (Gibbs, 1988) (see Appendix Week 7). The reflection under ‘feelings’ is significant as it acknowledges how I felt about the presentation. As well, the evaluation and conclusion section as I identified where the project went wrong, what could of be done better, and how I would do it again which was good preparation for Project 2. (see Appendix Week 9). Project 2 was presented in Week 11, I reflected using a method similar to ‘5W1H problem solving’ (Kipling, 1902) (Jinks, 2019) where there was a set of questions that helped to focus on different parts of the reflection. I felt there were noticeable differences in how I worked, how the team worked, and what we achieved in our presentations in Week 7 vs Week 11. In Project 1 I wasn’t confident because of how we worked, and what we produced, and communication levels were low. However, in Project 2, although we had less time and a bigger task, what we produced was better due to improved communication. (see Appendix Week 7 and 11) My biggest challenge with teamwork was adjusting to online teams as never had done teamwork online. If we worked on another project, I believe having more group meetings would have helped us more. The teamwork I did within this module taught me that when you face challenges you need different perspectives for solutions.

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Employees are often handed tasks that suit their abilities which helps achieve ‘maximum efficiency’ (Taylor, 1909). We undertook similar methods and selected a project manager and I got assigned a deputy which helped decide on individual tasks. (see Appendix Week 5) We discussed what we each were best at and our team leader delegated tasks. We didn’t follow the method strictly but increasing efficiency worked. We followed Taylor’s principles on ‘cooperation’, ‘harmony’, and ‘mental revolution’ (Kaur, Gupta, Dhand, and Gobindgarh, 2020), the idea of being equals and working as one. In Project 2 we used an approach that included more organization than we did in Project 1. Taking inspiration from the ‘Waterfall Model’ (Royce, 1970), a method where ‘each phase must be completed fully before the next phase can begin’ (Abouabdellah, Hassani and Idrissi, 2018), we clarified our process with The Study Skills Handbook. Going from section to section, the phases are: ‘preparation, research, analysis, writing up, and fine-tuning’ (Cottrell, 2019). I felt this was successful for our team as we got our second project done more efficiently even though we had a smaller timeframe to complete it (see Appendix Week 5 and Week 9). I felt more confident in what we produced, and what we had accomplished than I did in Project 1. (see Appendix 11)

Resilience is valued in every aspect of life, career, or personal. Essential for growth, it helps with motivation and reaching goals and has been shown that ‘workers with high resilience have better outcomes in difficult work environment’. (Shatté, Perlman, Smith, and Lynch, 2017) My resilience has developed over the 12 weeks due to both workshop challenges and personal challenges. I felt disappointed after Project 1, questioning myself and my ability but those feelings turned into motivation (see Appendix Week 8 and 9) when discussions about Project 2 started. I knew that I wanted to do better to prove to my tutor, my team but especially myself. I referred back to my reflection logs from Project 1 and identified what I could improve on for Project 2. As seen in my week 5 appendix, I went through a personal set back and it is very easy for personal challenges to affect your motivation. When reflecting on both instances of resilience I decided to add another set of SMART Targets for when I reviewed my action plan after the 12 weeks

For me to be able to put the skills developed through my experiences in this module so far into practice I have created an action plan. By using ‘mini-targets as well as deadlines’ (Cottrell, 2010) I can develop the skills I gained further and it provides a guide to follow as I enter semester two of this module. Action plans are valuable to implement as they assist organizational skills and teamwork, focus on goals, can change to new challenges I may encounter, and adapt as my skills develop.

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