‘The Study Skills Book’ by Kathleen McMillan and Jonathan Weyers is a book which includes lots of practical guidance and advice for those moving into the realms of higher education and university. I have found it an interesting and informative book so far and am sure that it will be a valuable resource as I continue my studies.
Being a mature student who has lived away from home for many years; I am confident with negotiating bills and household finance. Despite this, money continues to be an area of concern for me and I am currently considering the option of a part time job. I do not want to take on anything which will have a detrimental impact on my studies; particularly as I’ve had to give up so much in order to get to where I am now. This is not a decision that I will take lightly.
The book covers much about getting settled into a new city and a new home, however this does not apply to me as I have lived in Dundee for over 6 years now.
Adapting to University studies
I have always been an organised person who thrives on schedules, diaries and lists. Over the last year, as I completed my Access course at Dundee and Angus College, I was able to improve my study space at home so that it can be used effectively. I was also able to become well practiced at planning and using my time wisely in order to complete tasks and reading for a range of subjects while also keeping on top of the demands of everyday life. This is a skill which will be invaluable throughout my time at University and indeed in my career.
During my previous studies I looked into the different learning styles and found myself to be mostly read/write orientated. However I also discovered that visual notes are effective and this is a method which I have begun to use in my own note taking; using mind maps and spider diagrams where appropriate.
The style of teaching and learning at University is an area of excitement for me. I am used to conducting my own reading and research, as I have done much of this through my work within the Early Years and also during my college studies. I feel that taking so much responsibility for my work and learning will allow me to take pride in the results that I achieve.
In the past I have found that reading over the PowerPoint notes beforehand is a helpful method of being able to remain focused and present during the lecture. I hope to continue this method while taking a few notes which can prompt or remind me of areas to conduct further reading.
Development of personal skills
I feel that my life experiences, career and previous studies have provided me with a selection of useful, transferrable skills, however there are also many which I hope to improve and develop over the coming years. I have identified a few of my own areas of improvement, including:
- Take more risks and occasionally move out of my comfort zone
- Become able to accept professional criticism and avoid taking it personally
- Become more confident with maths and numerical problems
- Reflect on my experiences and learning effectively in order to make improvements or change in the future.
I am already taking steps to improve myself, for example; I will continue to use this blog in order to develop my reflective skills. I will continue to reflect on my own skills while completing the Online Tasks that have been set.
My overall goal and what I’m hoping university will provide me
My goal is to become a skilled and high quality primary teacher which is why I will continue to work hard in order to achieve my potential. I hope to succeed in my education and come away with a good final qualification which will open doors to me. In longer term I also hope to begin a family and also to travel around Scotland, as I have not yet explored much outside of the main cities.
University could be said to limit my options as I am taking a specific course with a specific end role, however as a mature student I feel that I have had enough time and experience to make a fully informed decision about where I want to go, and therefore this focussed route is the most appropriate.
In 5 years time I hope to be fully qualified and feeling confident as I begin my long term career. I hope that university will help to develop my personal and professional skills so that eventually I may be able to take on some extra responsibilities; for example some leadership roles.