Essay on Valuable Lessons Learned in Life

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Part One
  3. Part Two
  4. Conclusion
  5. Reference


It was a great way to finish my degree with this industry project. I have learned many invaluable lessons from undertaking this industrial project and improved not only my abilities but also contributes greatly to my career development. I was excited to be able to contribute to the work of IYC and help them grow.

This report is to reflect on my experience with Innovation Youth Centre and the gains from this project. Innovation Youth Centre (IYC) is a new start-up not-for-profit youth organization that is aiming to support young people to improve their social, recreational, and employment skills. I mainly operate in the northern urban area of Melbourne, where there is a lack of community services available to young people. NYC is currently applying for government funding to expand and improve its infrastructure and services. In order to secure funding, IYC needs to refine its internal policies and procedures manual and present as an organization that is able to carry out key functions.

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Our term’s objective is to update the existing policies and procedure manual as well as implement new policies, so that IYC’s governance, risk management, and financial management are in line with best-practice processes. In updating the existing policies, we are to refer to policies and practices of existing not-for-profit (NFP) organizations, academic research, industry experts as well as key stakeholders. The ultimate purpose of these policy updates is to increase the chances of IYC securing funding so that the organization can continue to grow.

In this report, I will focus on two parts, firstly, I’ll talk about my role in the project, the method that I used to complete my tasks, how I applied theory into practice, and how dealt with project change. In the second part, I’ll focus on self-evaluation and how I can improve for the future to make it differently.

Part One

Firstly, I would point out the most obvious thing I found was the advantage of teamwork. I learned that with limited time and resources, good teamwork is the key to success. I’ve always preferred to work in groups and find that my collaborative nature is one of my strongest attributes. As everyone had their own point of view and many different ideas could be produced, I found that the energy of team participation made me feel more energetic about contributing something. Rosenfeld and Wilson (1999) point out the importance of allocating individual roles to enable the division of labor and therefore increased productivity within a term. In order to know each other better, we have all completed a survey on character strengths, which is a personality test based on research on the theory of the strength-based approach. The survey is about us finding our own strengths in relation to the project and the concept is embedded in areas like governance and youth engagement policy. It was a great tool to help with reflective practice, finding more about ourselves and how we can contribute to the project. Based on that, our project supervisor Maria allocated an area for each of us to conduct research on. My area was finance which is what I majored in as well. Before the first formal meeting with IYC’s director Mr. Paul Papadatos and Maria. I did thorough research on the organization and gathered my ideas. I found some resources relating to the policy area and recorded my ideas about financial policies that I think our team should propose to IYC. Apart from that, I examined the direction, values, and possible execution of the financial policies. We all had different ideas and thoughts, so we gathered up 2 hours prior to the meeting to put our thoughts together and I got great feedback from my team members to improve on my proposal. It was great to meet up with Paul and Maria, we had a better understanding of the project and their expectations. An agreed direction on the project was decided based on the feedback on our team’s findings by Paul & Maria.

To make sure everything is on track, our team met together the day after meeting up with the director and developed our initial project plan. The plan includes the main activities and the method of how approaching the project. Although we did make a few changes to the initial plan, it was really helpful to keep our project on the right track.

Our initial plan was to prepare a policy proposal that details the purpose, background, issues, and recommendations on that particular policy. Present the policy recommendation brief to IYC representatives for reference to decide on which policies would be important to their organization and develop in the future. As I was doing research on the policies in the financial area and drafting policy briefs, the director of IYC Paul had a meeting with the board members and re-collaborated on what is expected from our team. Our modified task is to develop policies and the related procedure, guidelines, and forms in full and submit the full binding policy and procedure manual to the board. Although the change was sudden, I did not stress out, instead, I organized a meeting with my team member and modified our plan accordingly. There was an increase in responsibilities, but I was able to utilize my financial and economical knowledge learned at university and apply them in policy development. The policy proposals that I drafted beforehand were helpful for me as well, it was a brainstorm of ideas that I could include in the policy documents.

Part Two

In retrospect, I feel that I have learned a lot of valuable lessons from this project, and there are many things that I need to improve on in the future. For me, the most useful tool was taking down notes using the daily journal template. At first, I thought I understood all the instructions given by Maria and the expectations from the IYC’s director. However as I started on the project, I realized that I had misunderstood Maria’s instructions and researched in the wrong direction. My team members were confused as well and there we all had a lack of youth work expertise and knowledge. So, we immediately arranged a zoom video call with Maria to get a clarification on the tasks and chatted with professionals to fill the knowledge gap. Having experienced that, I started taking notes for all of our meetings, both team meetings and Zoom video calls with the project supervisor. This has not only helped to_ also ensure that I listen carefully and decoded information down.

In terms of soft skills, I have improved my communication skill in both writing and orally. Ability to seek clarification. As we have to produce professional policy documents, it was crucial to use professional wording and sentencing. Additionally, my critical thinking skill improved dramatically, in policy development, I have refined my ability to analyze and evaluate an issue and form my own judgment. I have also increased my self-confidence where I can speak clearly, thoughtfully, and without feeling nervous when I was presenting my ideas to the director of IYC. I can comfortably handle the increased responsibilities that come along the way.

I have developed my technical skills as well. During the initial meeting with the project supervisor and my team members, we signed up on ‘Slack’, a communication software, this is very important for the future as most of the organization uses similar software for internal staff. After we finished the final draft of policies and gained feedback from the representatives at IYC. We had to bind all the files together and make it a legally binding document. However, I need to pay attention to details including layout, spelling, and punctuation when putting the final policies together. This is really important for the future as well, as tiny mistakes could lead to a big problem.

I need to get more engaged in the IYC community. I missed out on their annual meeting, so I missed out on the chance to talk to their youth reference group and their clients. However, my team member talked me through the meeting and their experience which helped me to gain an insight into their work and achieved a deeper understanding of non for profit organizations. This has not only helped me with policy development but also gain interest in working as a member of the NFP organization and being able to contribute to the community.

I have learned a lot about myself from the host evaluation and how I can improve in the future. From the host evaluation, Maria suggested that I should consider joining more project-based activities, where I can develop more of my own voice in group-based settings. Her feedbacks are very beneficial for me and from that, I can figure out what needs to be improved. I was really pleased to see Maria and the other representatives from IYC were happy with our work and rated me exceeded their expectations. Although I think that I could have done more and contributed further to their organization.


Based on the above, I was relatively satisfied with my performance and contribution to this industry project. In the future, if I had another chance to do the project again, there are many things I would do differently. I have always been interested in working in the banking and finance industry. However, after completing this industry project, I gained insight into a consulting career and established an interest in working as a consultant. It was really rewarding being able to apply my knowledge and help another organization develop and grow.


  1. Rosenfeld, T.H., & Wilson, A.P. (1999). College students’ time management: Correlations with academic performance and stress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(4), 760-768
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