Reflective Report sample essay

Introduction

The purpose of this essay will be for me to analyse and reflect on my first year at the University Of Hull and look at how I have developed as a student. I will be reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses as a student in relation to theorists such as David Kolb (1984) to see how I how I fit into one of their styles and also I will be looking at the new skills that I have gained that I did not have in the past. I will also be looking at the major turning points that have changed me at university and also the areas that I could make improvements on. I will sum it all up in the conclusion at the end of my assignment.

What learning style suits me Best

I was not sure at first what learning style suited me best at my first year of university because I think at times I fit into one of different learning styles. To find out I decided to analyse David Kolb’s (1984) learning styles model to find out the sort of leaner that I am. For David Kolbs model there are four learning styles that are very unique. The first are diverges which are leaner’s people who are able to look at things from a different perspective and are very sensitive. The second are assimilators who learn by taking things from a logical approach and take concepts and ideas more important than people and also need a clear explanation to things. The third are converges these learners use their learning to find solutions to practical issues and they can also solve problems.

Lastly are the accommodators who like the hand on approach to everything and relies on intuition instead of logic. The first learning styles that suit me best for David Kolb’s (1984) learning style model would have to be the assimilating learner because I am the sort of learner that like to go to lectures and have lecturers explaining work to me clearly so I can understand and be able to carry out the task to perfection. I clear example was for an essay that I had to do for my culture unit of my degree, my lecturer explained to me clearly how I should carry out the assignment and to make sure I put all the theorists in the assignment.

After my lecturer had explained it all to me I was able to carry out the assignment to the best of my abilities. The second learning style that suits me best for David Kolb’s (1984) learning style model is the diverger because there are times when I prefer to see things being done in the classroom before I can actually attempt to do it. A clear example was for the lifespan development unit of my degree where I had problems writing the main body of the work, so to get a better understanding of what to do my lecturer for that unit brainstormed different ideas of what to put in the main body and from there I was able carry out the assignment.

What have I gained in my first year of University?

When I came to university there were a lot of techniques that I did not have but I have gained because they were a requirement for all assignments that I had to do. One technique that I did not know how to do was to reference in my work, because with the work that I had to do we had to reference so teachers will know the sources that we got the information from so I would not be marked down for plagiarism. I was thought to use the Harvard referencing system (1928) in all my assignment, with the Harvard referencing I must put a reference list for all the sources that I have used for example if I have used a specific book I must put the authors name, year the book was published, the title of the book, the place the book was published and the publishers name and a full stop must be placed at the end of the reference.

At first I thought that the only section that a reference must be put is on the reference list which goes at the end of the essays but I discovered from past mistakes that a reference must be made in the main body of the assignments whenever I have put information that belongs to somebody else. Another technique that I did not develop till I started university was the ability to manage my time. Previously at college I was not under so much pressure to hand in work on time and I could negotiate with my teachers about coursework if i could not get it done on time. However since I started university I have had of deadlines for work that had to be met. Since I am a diverger according to Kolb’s (1984) learning style model, to solve my problem of trying to organise my time I developed a time table where on a weekly basis I have time dedicated to doing my work.

For example on a Tuesday I would spend three hours dedicated to reading a specific section on my work. Being able to do my own research was a skill that I did not have before I came to university. There has been a lot of assignment that has been handed to me that required me to do extensive research. At first the idea of doing my own research was something I thought I could ever understand, but I got the hang of it as lecturers thought me how to do it. Usually when an assignment is given to me there is a list of books that I am required to get from the library or purchase from book stores and study them, so that I could have the knowledge to do what has been given to me.

To usually find the book that I need I simply go to the library and type in the books name in the library computer then the computer will give me the code for the specific section that the books will be in and I can then get the book and do my research. The biggest problem I had since primary school to now that I am in university was preparing for examination. Usually I will prepare too late and go into the exam hall not knowing all the information that will be required to pass the exam.

Since I have come to university I have developed techniques that can really aid me to do well in the exam. For my culture, media and society unit there was an exam that I had to prepare, the lecturer gave me and my class handouts each week we had lectures so we could revise those handouts. I was also recommended to buy a book called An Introduction to Theories of Popular culture by Dominic Strinati (2008) to read. With all the information I was given I was able to revise them and go into the exam and achieve a good grade.

How Have I changed since Arriving at University?

Since I started university there have been a lot of things about me that have changed. I am now more organised than I was back in college I have specific folders for each unit of my work with titles for each unit so that I can know where to look if I was ever required to go back to that specific unit if I ever needed it for an exam or report or case studies. Confidence was something else that I lacked before I came to university, because there were times when I had to do group work where confidence was needed for me to be able to get my point across. Now I am more confident when it comes to working in groups and I really enjoy feeding ideas of other people and them taking in my ideas so that we can do the group work with success.

There was also a time I where I had to do a presentation by myself in front of the whole classroom, I was nervous at first but I was able to have the confidence Being more confident has changed me for the better because now I can get to know people a lot better at university and I am now able to speak out and get my ideas across in the classroom or if I am doing group work. Another change that has happened to me since I have been at university is the ability to use recording device in lectures. I do this so that I can remember everything that the lecturer has said in the lecture room so I can then be able to carry out the work that has been set.

This change has helped me because now when I have a problem with my work I can just use the recording device and play it back to remember what the lecturer said and that will guide me to get my work done. A major turning point for me at university so far has been the ability to meet deadlines. Previously at college at time I had work which was outstanding but as long as I handed it in it will still get marked, however since university I have met all my deadlines and handed in all my work that had to be handed in. Doing well in all my exams was also a turning point for me in university because I feared that I would not make the grade after the studying I done but in the end I made the grade.

How Can I improve on next Year?

In my first year there have been a lot of things that I have improved on but as I enter year two there is a lot I think I can also improve on as well. I usually make a lot of grammatical errors in my work, where I do not spell a lot of words correctly. The main reason I do not usually spot these errors is because I do not look over my work after I have finished it and the only way I am aware of the errors is when I get the feedback sheet and then it tells me that I spelled a certain word wrong. I would also like to be able to have the capability to be able to get assignments done as soon as I get them instead of waiting till the last week before it’s meant to be handed in to get it done.

If I can get into the habit of doing my work as soon as I get it then I will be able to proof read it or even get another student to proof read my work for me to make sure everything is correct and in the right order. Another area that I think I can improve on next year is checking up on all updates online on sites such as Ebridge and Portal. Ebridge is a website where lecturers put all updates and resources for students.

Portal is an email website where lecturers email me and other students if they would not be in class for a specific reason or if they would like to share information with us online. I do not usually go on these websites to check for updates or emails at times so there are times where I will be lost in the classroom when the lecturer are explain something that they told me and the other student in the classroom to watch or read that they might had put online.

Conclusion

Overall I am very happy with the way that I have started and developed in my first year at university. The new techniques that I have developed I think will definitely help me in the long run at university such as being able to manage my time, which is an ability that helps me do my work. Also having the ability to be able to reference is another useful technique that I have acquired at university because throughout university for me to be able to get the best marks being able to reference my work would definitely help with getting the best grades possible.

Having the ability to do research is another technique that I have acquired that has helped me do my work to the best of my abilities and with the library computer taht aid me to find the specific books that I needed for my work. The ability for me to also work towards deadlines and meet them has been very effective in helping me get good grades at university so far because if I was not able to meet any of them deadlines then I would fail those specific units. On the areas that improve on such as my grammatical errors and checking up for updates is something I could improve on with time. I am quite pleased with how I have performed this year and I am really looking forward to see what challenges year two brings for me.

Reference List
Cottrell, S. (2008) 3rd edn, The Study Skills Handbook. New York: Palgrave Macmillan Kolb.D. (2004) Kolb Learning Styles [online] Available from: http://www.businessballs.com/kolblearningstyles.htm [Accessed 15th March 2010]