Since the last review I have had a lot of experience with people, for example I had an assignment presentation/walkthrough in my Requirements & System Modelling module. I felt that I was prepared for this assignment but very nervous because this was something new to me and I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, when presenting I actually felt very comfortable and that I addressed all the key points I had rehearsed in a professional manner.
I have also written a professional report since the last review titled ‘The Impact of Games on Society’. This was very different from the essay writing I was used to during my A-levels because you had to include title, contents, acknowledgments and references pages. Also using the Harvard referencing system was something I wasn’t familiar with, however overall I feel very pleased with the outcome of the report and felt that it was written in a professional manner. I think the reason that my report was successful was because of the great amount of research and planning that took place because I started writing, this I learnt was absolutely key to a well structured and valid report.
I plan to improve my communication skills by undertaking some work experience this summer, I feel that I would benefit greatly from it as I would be exposed to a real working environment. My skills in this area could be improved by evaluating how others deal with people too, by analysing lectures techniques on how they get the attention of a whole lecture theater full of people I could learn some techniques to apply to my own style of communication.
Academically I have worked in 3 different teams since my last review, all in different modules. My roles in the teams included designing diagrams for a database, researching evidence for the group, or modelling with clay for animation. I found that in all of the teams I worked it certain people did not complete as much work as others, I felt uncomfortable asking them to step up and be willing to work therefore added to my pile of work. This is something I need to work on, I need to have the confidence to voice my feelings about the group so we can all work together and put in equal effort, rather than just sit back.
Socially I have been attending social sport netball at Sheffield Hallam on Tuesdays, I find that this is great experience of working in a team as it is all about communication with the other players. I have to be aware of everyone around me and always looking out for signals or people to pass the ball too. In order to improve these skills I can get to know more about the people in the class to understand their style of playing.
Organisation & Planning
University has been a big challenge for me and I definitely underestimated the work load! I think as a first year student there is so much to become familiar with such as, your surroundings, the new people you meet, the university and new lecturers. At first I found it all quite overwhelming however I feel that in semester 2 I have been much more focused and have really grasped the uni life and have been able to get the balance right between life outside of uni and completing all my work to the best of my ability.
Other than academic projects this year I have been working on setting up my own home baking blog to display all of my creations, this is something I want to expand upon and perhaps make income from. This project has taught me a lot technically because I have had to try out several blogs to see which one suited the style I wanted. Also there was the problem of getting it out there for people to see, however I dealt with this by contacting close friends/relatives of mine who work in PR who all said they would help promote the blog.
I could improve my planning and organisation skills by going the extra step when it comes to work. Instead of completing an assignment which I feel satisfied with I could spend an extra, day, few days or a week on it and push myself to achieve far beyond what I am capable off.
IT Skills & Experience
Since the last review I have developed many new IT skills in all of my modules. I have learnt how to use ‘Flash’ to program,create interactive games using code and animate characters. I’ve learnt how to use ‘Access’ to create a database for a cookery website and furthermore, how to use ‘Gamemaker’ to create a 2D platform game.
However my favourite IT related project of this semester is my animation assignment. In this assignment I was introduced to a variety of new software including, ‘Stop Motion Pro’ and ‘Pencil’. In my claymation module my group and I had to produce four sequences that each portrayed a different emotion. We had to mold clay into something and then used the stop motion technique of taking a picture, changing a detail, taking another a picture etc. I loved doing this as it brought out my creative side and modelling with clay is something I had done in A-level art.
My 2D drawn animation project was also very enjoyable, this saw me use a graphics tablet and the ‘Pencil’ software to create a morphing, weight and character walk sequence. I found this very fun but also difficult because I am so used to drawing on paper with a normal pencil whereas drawing on a graphics tablet is much more challenging. I dealt with this problem by experimenting lots with the software, I took the time to practice applying different weight with the pencil on the tablet to creating hard or soft lines.
I feel that I need to improve my skills in all of the software I have been introduced too, I need to expand my knowledge in order to create successful and professional work.