Final entry for Warwick Skills Portfolio Awards
"You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great." - Zig Ziglar
I am an ordinary person but with extraordinary dreams. To be able to talk confidently to people, communicate proficiently and be an approachable person to all members of society, are dreams that I wanted to achieve. Warwick Skills Workshops are my starting point to help me chase this dream. Everything started from zero until I am today. As time passes by, I realise I am no longer the old me. I keep on growing to be more assertive, more organised and the most important thing is that I have more confidence in my life.
It all began last year when one of my lecturers suggested that my friends and I sign up for the workshops. At first, my shyness and lack of confidence to mingle especially with international students held back my intention to follow the workshops. However, I was amazed to see some of my friends who were brave enough to sign up for the workshops and managed to join the entire program successfully, made progress from time to time in being more confident and more organised in academic writing as well as actively contributing to seminars. They said it all began with the Warwick Skills Workshop.
Deep in my heart, I wanted to be like them or even better. Feeling sad and regret for missing those golden opportunities it in my first year, I joined the workshops in my second year. I put aside all my shy and timid feelings and I managed to break free from that cocoon of mine. I now feel the same as Mark Twain when he wrote:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Alongside the workshops, I realised there is much that I need to explore about myself in terms of my personal skills as well as my academic approach. Then I realized that in order to change things, I need to change myself first. Thus, it is true that the biggest room for improvement in this world is the room for self improvement. I will never learn if I do not start to learn. Learning is a long process and it will not stop at one point. Nothing can stop me from improving myself to be better than before. As I was becoming more mature in my studies at Warwick, I wanted to thrive in my personal development, academic and career management skills; I wish to expand my skills development day by day. Hence, I should grab and not miss all the opportunities for self-improvement by joining all the workshops.
After being advised by my lecturers, I enrolled for these workshops: An Introduction to Skills Development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio, A1 Reading and Note Making, P4 Delivering Effective Presentations, P5 Effective Seminar Participation, P2 Becoming More Assertive and last but not least A2 Academic Writing For Science and Engineering Students. All these workshops are very useful and helped me, not just in my academic but also in my personal development.
In terms of my academic skills, I have learnt how to write more formal and academic texts. Besides this, I have gained a greater insight into how to avoid plagiarism and review my use of English grammar. By joining the reading and note-making workshop, it has helped me to improve my reading skills and note-making. For sure, I did find that I could understand the subject better. By attending Delivering Effective Presentations, I have improved a lot in my body language, intonation and language. I have been experiencing the "virtuous" circle in which things that I have "learnt", have been "applied", and this is becoming "natural" through body language, intonation and language. I could feel that I have developed these aspects even though I might not be a hundred percent perfect in communication. In terms of what I obtained from attending P5 Effective Seminar Participation, I learned that being active simply means being involved in the activity and being positive in action as well as mind.
In the P2 workshop Becoming More Assertive, I realised that being assertive helps me to enter conflict without aggression and to find ways of resolving or managing conflict. Conflict is unpredictable as it is "natural" when we interact with other people. Therefore, it is best to be assertive rather than aggressive or passive.
To conclude, my choice to enrol on An Introduction to Skills Development and the Warwick Skills Portfolio in the first place was a smart action for me. I have learnt so many skills that I lacked before, such as communication skills. As a future teacher, I should have an effective communication style so as to interact with students; if I do not, then of course my attempts to transfer knowledge will fail. Other than that, without my consent, I have pushed myself to be more socialised or, in other words, mingle more with other international students.
For me, this is the best opportunity to grab during the workshops as I have lots of chances to interact with other students from all over the world. In addition, I have practised writing blogs such as Warwick Blogs and now enjoy sharing my experiences and thoughts with others. Perhaps, I will continue joining other workshops such as career management next year as it will be my final year. I would like to express my gratitude to The Warwick Skills Workshops which are offered by the Undergraduate Skills Programme and the Masters Skills Programme. Not forgetting all workshop tutors for sharing all the knowledge and being so helpful throughout the workshops.
To conclude, I would indeed recommend all students who have not yet signed up for the workshops to enrol on at least one of these workshops. Being a student at Warwick is one of the biggest opportunities for us to develop our skills not only in academic writing but also in personal development. We are able to learn all the useful and practical techniques from the professional and experienced tutors that are hard to find outside a top university like Warwick and, what is more, the training is free. Believe me, by joining these workshops, you have made your first step to achieve your dreams and bring them alive.
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” Langston Hughes.