All entries for January 2013

January 18, 2013

First entry on Academic writing for arts and social science students

Workshop Tutor: Laura Davies

Introduction

My experience with the Warwick Skills Portfolio Award has been outstanding so far. I have assisted some great workshops that have pushed me to work on my personal and professional skills. And even though I started this process with some doubts about its actual benefits, I now see clearly the great advantages of the reflective writing process.

So here it goes again, starting with the blogging process expecting to take as much advantage as possible of the content discussed in the workshop. The reason I chose the Academic writing at Masters Level at this point is because I have been struggling with my first assignment. Ever since I broke a leg my life seems to have been put on hold: you can’t move, hence you can’t do, think or live. It has been a very hard process both physically and psychologically, and I have just started trying to get life back to normal.

Unfortunately this incident happened before I had the chance to turn in my first assignment. This meant that for more than a month I wasn’t able to do any work and hence I had to get an extension. In theory this sounds really good, but the problem resides in the fact that even now I have been having problems getting back in track with my work. And what is worst is that it is my responsibility to set the new assignment’s due date, and I am currently a bit lost about when would be a feasible date.

Actions

  1. So as my first action point, I wish to take advantage of the structure provided in the workshop to carry out the process of academic writing to be able to set a deadline for my assignment. This workshop was like a great checklist that gave me a complete idea of how to get along with my writing assignments in an easy way. So for my first action point I will assess at what point I am currently at with the development of my assignment. This way I will also be able to objectively say how long it will take me to get my assignment ready to turn in. This process will help me stop procrastinating and stick to an actual deadline to start getting work out. To make this action smart, I will say that by the end of this weekend I need to know when my deadline is going to be, so I can meet with my personal tutor on monday and tell him.

  2. My second action point will be regarding the critical and evaluative aspects of academic writing. I had never before thought about writing as a clash of ideas to create something new and in that way generate new knowledge. But is one of the things that struck me the most in the seminar, because it shows your ability to be critical and evaluative while writing. However a problem I usually encounter is that ideas seem to make perfect sense in my head, but then not so much outside of it. Which is why I want to excersice myself in the ability to keep a diary for my creative-critical thoughts around different subjects. I will start writing my thoughts to express them in a clear simple way, with the best words posible. My goal is to write at least during 30 minutes every night.

  3. And my third action point will be to work on my tendency to be over generalize and simplify when I am making an explanation. This workshop made me realize that in academic writing there is no point in being melodramatic to try and create a bigger deal of what you are writing. So you need to be confident enough that what you are saying and the way you are saying it is creative and critical with out falling to the temptation of saying that your work can accomplish more than it actualy can. If your are not measured in your writing then you will never be able to support what you are saying which may descredit a very good research and development. So to work on this, I will put to the test every statement I am making to see if I can give a couple of examples of this behavioiur before asuming it as true. This way I will try to keep my statements very succint and concise.

To write a follow up, go to http://go.warwick.ac.uk/skills//blog


January 02, 2013

Final entry on Organising yourself and your time

Workshop Tutor: Beverly Maynard

Looking back, this has been a long and eventful process with both progress and setbacks. Through the application of some simple tools I managed to solve a great problem in the way I organized my time and myself. Also by keeping in mind simple principles, like prioritize and delegate, I was able to stay calm and in control during challenging situations.

However I realize now that this workshop has taught me much more than just about organizing my time and myself. As I am doing this workshop within the WSPA I was forced to carry a process of reflective writing. And I say forced because I would not have done it if I was not intending to receive the award. I saw this as a mandatory task I needed to complete which was time consuming and not very useful. However I now understand perfectly why the blogging process is not only necessary but incredibly valuable.

As I thought thoroughly about what had happened during the process, analyzing whether there had been progress or not, I learned a lot about myself. Every time I went back to read my last entry before posting a new one, I ended up questioning the reasons behind my actions. It was not just about telling someone what had happened, but also about asking myself the reasons behind my successes and my failures. And it was only through this process that I was able to recognize and admit the true problem behind my organization issues during this experience at Warwick: “I am afraid to fail”.

It sounds a bit silly but it is true. I have invested a lot to be able to come here and do my masters, and so I have high expectations for its returns. However I know the outcome rests entirely on my shoulders; whether I succeed or not is going to be entirely my responsibility. And I see now that I have a tendency to panic and quit when the stakes are too high. My problem from the beginning was not that I didn’t know how to organize myself, but that I was afraid to do my best and still fail. Somehow it was better to blame failure on my lack of organization.

It can be said I am being to hard on myself. After all I do have a broken leg, I am in quite a lot of pain and had to go through it all on my own and worst of all during the holidays. But still I know I would have been able to do much more during this period if it was not for the fear holding me back. For instance I still have not reorganized my planner with the new deadlines and my plan to achieve them, which is quite an easy task. I had not even made a list of the things I have to do until two days ago. And I kept asking myself why, but the answer now is very simple: I was afraid. I am afraid of the time I have lost, of the vastness of the task and of myself not being able to pull it off no matter what. And so I have been hiding behind my broken leg, taking the pain as an excuse not to work.

Some of my weaknesses I recognized through this workshop were: I do not have to do everything on my own, I need to delegate when someone else can help me and stop being such a control freak. After admitting this great fear that was holding me back, following on what I had learned, I am proud to say that I asked for help. My family is now aware of how I was feeling, as well as my tutor and I am working to get passed it. So in the end this feels like a great way to start the year 2013, hoping to keep learning and progressing.


January 2013

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  • Thank you for this first blog entry. It sounds as if things have been very difficult but that you ar… by on this entry
  • Hi Maria Thank you for your final blog. I am sure when you came to the workshop and submitted your f… by Beverley Maynard on this entry
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