All entries for Thursday 15 December 2011
December 15, 2011
Soooo in the last couple of weeks or so, they've decided to flood us with loads of assessed pieces of work, and we have two more set for when we get back to uni again. I figure the last few have been set in a very condensed time period, so this has helped me practice my writing under time pressure, whereas the next couple (aside from aiding in my time management skills) will be more of a long-term coursework exercise.
With the last few pieces, my results writing skills have been the ones most tested. My last action point was geared towards taking an interest more in the results sections of published journals, and despite the endless chore that is picking apart every little part of every stats test, I really think this has helped me a lot here! By reading results sections from a variety of authors, I've got more of a grasp on the different ways in which results are reported (often varying from journal to journal), and my overall awareness of them has risen. Therefore, I was able to write in a style that was very similar to those I had read. Another winner was being able to condense my writing more (another action point I've been working on). For results sections in psychology, we must only use scientific language, and only write things that are absolutely necessary. Through all the practice I've had with summarising and condensing my writing, this is becoming more and more second nature to me!
Aside from all this, a few new action points have formed. I have two massive assignments in for after Christmas, and these take the form of critical essays. Again, being succinct and to the point is of vital importance here, so I shall continue to look at examples of scientific writing (particularly empirical critiques) to get a grasp on how these are writen by the pros. In addition, from reflecting on the results sections I completed for my previous assignments, I think that my methods of results presentation is something I need to work on - I wasn't sure whether it was conventional to draw one type of graph, or a table, etc etc. So looking up guidelines on this would be very helpful. One final point would be to look at structuring arguments, as this is one of the main parts of my empiricial critique, as well as my exam in January (on evaluating research methods in psychology). Therefore, I have requested a useful book from the lecturer taking the exam, and I'm in the process of borrowing it from my local library to see how arguments SHOULD be structured!
In the last few weeks, we've been given a ton of assessed pieces of work to do, hence a ton of oppertunities to try out my action points! Okay, so, what have we learned from the previous few pieces of assessed work? First point to note: on none of these essays I've stayed up past midnight on the deadline date to finish them (a massive achievement for me!). Second point: I've been able to manage my time more effectively, and set some time aside each day in order to prevent getting overwhelmed with each section of the essays. Third: I'm not constantly seeking approval for every part of the essays, like I used to (I'm being more of an Activist now). I genuinely feel like I'm making progress on this front, as my work seems to have more shape, and i'm a lot less stressed about it! However, on reflection, there's always room for improvement. I still need to realise that each section of an essay will take a different amount of time, and should compensate for this; the perfectionist attitude is not always used in the right places. In addition, planning is something I'm still not doing effectively (mind maps and such). Therefore, still room for improvement on these fronts, and this can be done for my next two critical essays.
I've been following the action point of diving head first into oppertunities, by getting a job that involves me getting up at 5:30 in the morning, to work before university. I figure (aside from getting much needed money!) this will show employers that i'm flexible in my working hours, and very hard working in all areas of my life. This is aiding my action point of being more proactive towards making my CV look more impressive, and the career appointment has aided in helping me decide what internships I'm looking towards, but I still need to make some applications - the next action point! On the plus side, I have contacted a relative who has informed me about the HR career path, and I've been put off this a bit (out of about 5 career path choices, I find myself down to 4... just 3 more to cut down...!)
Tutor: Mary Sage
So, once again, there has been a distinct lack of leadership oppertunities in my life (not for lack of trying to find them!), so I shall focus on the action points set in the previous blog post.
Alrighty, so the first action point involved splitting large tasks down into smaller ones. In the last few weeks we have been swamped with pieces of assessed work (they seem to spring them all on us at the end of term!) so the silver lining of this situation is that I've been able to put into practice my plans here. I attempted to split many of the assessments into manageable chunks, and with hindsight this seemed to work well at first. However, on further reflection I think the part of this that let me down involved not making these milestones very clear in the first place! For example, thinking back, "I will write the first two paragraphs, and it will be done in three days time" seems like a good target at first, but it isn't specific enough. The problem lies in the fact that more planning is needed to work out what each part of the overall task will involve - not just splitting it into arbitrary sections (and milestones). One to work on there!
Haha, the kitchen project. This overlaps a bit with the assertiveness seminar I went to, but as I mentioned, I'm not very good at making people play their role in a group environment, and often end up doing their work for them so that the job gets done. However, with my kitchen it may be a small achievement, but I have acheived an environment in which people realise what they need to do, especially coming up to the end of term. I organised an informal meeting, and expressed what had to be done (a side note, the sink flooded part of the house the other day, as the sink was too full of dishes - that may have woken people up to the issue!). By drawing up a vague plan of everyone's duties, the room is looking in a much better state, and I feel like I've actually led a "team" of sorts! Reflecting on this experience, I'm going to attempt to keep this up, and attempt to lead a new situation that has arisen - sorting out the electricity bills, as we have been charged an extortionate amount (something I would not normally take a lead on).
With regard to the team project, I've discussed with my potential team members what ideas we have for the project next term. So far, I'm trying to organise a planning stage, but hopefully when we've got some of these ideas down, I can start delegating research to different people, and take more of a leadership role in this!