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In my first critical skills essay, I will be writing a reflective essay on my strengths as a learner, the challenges I will face here in Maynooth University and what experiences I anticipate to enjoy the most over the course of my three years studying in this university.
I will begin by reflecting on, what I believe to be my strongest skill as a learner; my teamwork skills. In recent years, my schooling was more geared toward learning in pairs and groups in the latter years of my secondary school experience. Personally, I felt like this dynamic worked better for me than constant individual learning. I found this especially beneficial in my geography class, when I sometimes struggled to contain large chunks of information. It was easier and much more fun to bounce ideas off my peers. I learned different facts from different people and associated the fact with the person from the group. This helped me when trying to recall information for study or exams. This allowed me to acquire better listening skills, time management skills and organizational skills. These group activities have benefitted me in not only my academic life, but also my work life.
In the workplace, I project an attentive and organized persona. I thoroughly believe that my past experience has given me strong team work skills that will benefit me here in Maynooth and in the future. With strengths, come weaknesses and challenges too. Upon my decision to study here in Maynooth, I will encounter many challenges along the way- moving away from home, making new friends, navigating the campus, amongst other things. The one I worry most about is independent learning. Looking back to my past schooling years there is a stark difference in secondary school learning and learning at third level. Teachers tended to keep on my back about learning and study whereas lecturers and professors have left it to my discretion at my willingness to learn. Like Duffy (2015) said, as learners we have full control and responsibility for our learning and they (professors, lecturers) cannot do the work for us. I am a firm believer in this statement, but I find the transition from secondary school to third level education daunting as I am expected to learn mostly independently. With time I will overcome this challenge, and hope to overcome this challenge.
Lastly, I reflect upon what I am most looking forward to during my time in Maynooth University. Personally, it is the opportunity to join various clubs and organizations. Unfortunately, in secondary school it is not an option to join societies at school so this is a exciting opportunity for me to broaden my horizons and find my niche. I hope to make new friends with common interests and overall to make my college experience as fun as possible. I will pick up skills such as listening and leadership that will benefit my studies and learning here in Maynooth, but after my studies as I search for a job. As Krisitine Duffy (2015) backs up, there have been numerous surveys conducted to say employers are looking for graduates with ‘soft skills’ such as public speaking and leadership, all in which can be developed through college clubs and societies.
As I conclude my essay, I know that I am starting my college career with learning strengths such as my teamwork skills, that I will have challenges such as independent learning to deal with and conquer in the coming years and most excitedly have the opportunity to get involved with various societies in the coming years. All I can say now is, the world is my oyster.
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