Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reflective essay

As we come to the end of the course I'd like everyone to write a short reflective essay which looks back and evaluates the experiences of the last year. It seems like a long time ago since we all met up outside the Scottish Parliament. We've covered a lot of ground since then, and, I hope learned something along the way.

You can use the following structure to help put your essay together:

- Introduction – motivation and expectations
- Positive experiences
- How course could be improved
- Evaluation of your own performance
- Conclusion – what you have learned

If you don't mind others reading what you have to say (and this would be useful), you can post it as a response to this blog entry. Otherwise you can type it and email it to me. Or, even hand write it.


fabrizio said...

The course is coming to an end and in less than 3 weeks we will all be on holiday. It is true that the course went really fast and it seems yesterday that the whole thing started.
I was very motivated and excited about it as it represented my pass-partout for the University which I will reach next year, hopefully. At the beginning I was highly interested in the subjects, Spanish, History and English mostly as I have always been very keen o languages and literary subjects. The fact of studying in a new college as well as the entire course portfolio encouraged and inspired me a lot.
I believe that in certain areas the course could still be improved in order to provide a wider and deeper preparation for students. First of all, considering external factors it should be said that the overall Stevenson College's facilities are advanced and updated, especially when it comes to language labs. However, the strictness of certain figures such as Carlos makes the pleasantness of studying sometimes very little. With regards to the course specifically, I think that small feedback questionnaires to fill at least once every two months and for each subject, could be useful for having a clear overview of the progresses made as well as highlighting chances for improvements. Secondly, I have to say that the first History semester has been ridiculously boring, only gaining interest with the suffragettes’ essay. So that, I think that the study of British History should be critically reduced in favour of European History or more contemporary issues. I think it could also be an idea to insert Philosophy or Politics modules in replacement. Thirdly, I am not completely satisfied by my spoken/written Spanish even though I had to focus on my English for the grater part of Semester 2.
Moreover, I believe this year has been incredibly valuable in terms of education and preparation for the University. I have experienced countless positive experiences from the fresher’s week to the funny classmates to artistic projects.
I reckon that my own performance has been pretty good considering the results I have achieved. I conveyed all my efforts into this course, trying to better myself and my knowledge. It has been a big challenge as my English was not extremely good and the ielts test put me through the mill. My essay writing skills are gone form nearly inexistent to quite good and my English has greatly improved. .
I feel much more confident when it comes to plan, write, present, discuss on academic topics.
Generally, I feel ready to cope with a British University and all its barriers.

Hannah said...

Motivation and positive experiences

My main motivation and expectation of this course was to help get myself into University. I really wanted to do well with this course as I hadn’t done well at school.

I have to say I have really felt this course has worked better for me than school ever did.

My most positive experiences have not just been doing the course, but meeting others on my course and having really good conversations and debates with some of them about a range of topics: from whether Euthanasia is right or wrong to how useful Wikipedia can or cannot be.

I also feel like my speaking and writing of French and Spanish has improved. For Jordi’s class it included a lot of extra work on grammar and writing, but that was expected as I was doing an Advanced Higher course. I feel like I really learnt a lot from Spanish i.e. how to check my work properly, not something I always did before.

Roger helped build my confidence up on speaking and writing assuring me that the writing mistakes were mistakes even French people make due to the sound of the language.

I have to say John really helped in the way he taught maths, it was something I was really rather scared of. Most of my maths teachers before were not as patient and therefore I had believed that I’d always be useless at it, but John helped build my confidence up on that.


I feel that the course could be improved by having the history assessments a bit closer together as it would give people more time to work on the history investigation, despite Evan’s thought that it takes barely anytime at all. I am aware of people worrying rather a lot about it.

The other improvement to the course that I believe needs to be available is access for communication classes to computers or laptops, and a PowerPoint screen. It’s a shame that the technology meant our first recorded presentations meant that many of us were almost blinded by an OHP light. I think that could have been avoided by having a better room. It’s a shame that the class has only changed location in the last month of the course.

Study skills really helped me to be reflective about my study and how much I’d achieved. I have to say a diary that I at first felt was not the greatest way of planning has now become really useful as a reference to what I’ve done, what I’ve to do and helped me to remember the way I’ve revised last time. I think I may even continue to use it, maybe not online but as a diary or something. We’ll see how well my time management goes.


I have learnt a lot from this course, how to time manage, finding different ways of revising, how to write essays. I have also found out how to structure my essays a lot better, when I think back to my first one for Jerry, structure was practically non-existent.

I think I’ve learnt more about myself from this course than I expected. My first thought was just to do my best, but I’ve found I’ve done better than I thought I would. The fact I’ve got the marks I got, and passed things that I thought I’d panic, stress and therefore fail has allowed me to gain a bit more confidence with the things that I do, and I believe that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learnt.

hkscot said...

Part 1 -

Although time has flown - and in actuality it's been several months since we started this course - to me, it still seems like we started last week, and I haven't gotten into my stride as yet. Maybe this is due to my psychological make-up where there's never any rush to finish anything, and there's always time. But in this case, I'm finding things somewhat traumatic since the deadline now is so absolute and final - once this course ends, it ends. That realisation is awfully frightening, especially as there's still some work I have to hand in and I worry if I can achieve it constantly now. So much to gain, and so much to lose. Damn!

Anyway, if there's anything I should have learned this year is the importance of deadlines, and time management. Not adhering to any kinda comes back to bite you on your bum, no matter how good the work is when turned in. Upon reflection, and if I could, I would have handed in essays that were passable rather than time-consuming and long pieces that turned out to be more than passable. What makes the situation worse is knowing this but not being capable of rectifying it. That really sucks.

My expectations for myself and the course were and are simple, and that was to pass and head on to university and there experience whether my intellectual capacity was sufficiently capable of success or failure. I hadn't expected my somewhat lackadaisical attitude to be such a burden at this college stage. I suppose going to university was the primary motivation but in the midst of college work, it is more than easy to lose focus on that original goal, and to be honest, it can be a daunting goal anyway, especially when at times it so seemed unattainable, such as within these last couple of months

hkscot said...

Part 2 -

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this course – knowing some Spanish at the end, I suppose. I knew the actual writing stuff would be ok, and although I hadn’t written anything academically for close to 18 years, I did hope I would be able to brush up on whatever English skills I had been neglecting for so long. In doing Communications, Literature, and writing essays for History, I think I’ve learnt a lot and have become more aware of the technicalities of writing essays than before. Yes, I understand that this particular piece of writing lacks the structure we’ve been taught, but since this isn’t an assessment, I’m gonna free-flow and ramble on without a care in the world.

Positives: any learning that came my way during the course, not too shockingly. And in that sense, as before, I’ve valued my time learning from Communications, Literature and History. Investigating Europe was interesting in making me learn history first-hand and appreciate the art of research more. Maths can go to hell, where it truly belongs (sorry John, you’re a nice guy, but you’re doing the Devil’s work). As for learning Spanish, to me it’s been a disaster, no less because of what I’ve mentioned previously, but also because I’ve realised that I’m more accustomed to using books to chart my progress rather than learning from a more freed structure this course prefers. But of course, it’s just me, ultimately, as others’ learning seem to be sufficiently of a higher grade.

Another positive, and I think it’s the most important one, is knowing that I can get along with just about anyone. It might have been just the make-up of the class where everyone is agreeably friendly, but nonetheless I’ve enjoyed my time with all the people on the course – lecturers and students, alike - and I’ll be sad to not be in the same class ever again.

How the course could be improved. The course is good at what it does – preparing its students for university. And I find it difficult to actually fault it. But if I was asked how it could be even better (hee!) then I suppose having a time-table of assessments and deadlines all structured from the start of the course and given out as a guide to all students to have a better picture of the work required, then I think that would be better for the likes of me who like knowing what he has to do next instead of wondering and waiting for that next assessment to be told. (Maybe I’ve been too disorganised to realise this was already done, which is quite possible in my case.)

I think that’s it. If I can think of anything, I’ll add to this. Maybe at the end of the course. But for now, regards.

Sinky said...

What I wanted from this course at the start is difficult to say! For a number of years I was restless going from job to job and always flirted with the idea with going to university. Going to do highers was my original choice but I was very sceptical about my ability to jump back into education at that level. Luckily my mother found out about this access course. Result! So I came along to the interview hoping to study German. Uh oh found my self in a Spanish course, oh well not to worry off to camp America I went. When I returned two weeks late I was very nervous and only knew how to say ola in Spanish (that’s how I thought it was spelled before the course haha). I persevered and went in to see Dieca tired as hell because I’d had a heavy weekend after my reunion with my friends. So after the first few days of nervousness and wondering what I was doing in the course I settled down. My expectations now: To get to uni; never miss a history class again after I was told I’d missed so much in the first few weeks!!; speak Spanish in a year (I’ve since changed the timescale in that goal); and try not to get anyone hating me in the class (I expected a little too much of myself). All in all the introduction to the course was different than everyone else’s but good all the same I think the fear of being two weeks late made me more determined to work harder.

The positive experiences in this class have been massive. Firstly the friends I have made have been great. I have met people from all over the world and had many friends in different countries before this class but none as close as these. I couldn’t imagine going to a party in Toledo to meet our Spanish friends with a Bulgarian, a Pole, and two other Scots. Classic! What else? I can now communicate in Spanish, not well but I’m on my way. One day I’ll be fluent no matter how many books Edinburgh uni throws at me (if I pass this course first). Now on to the educational side of things since I imagine that is why we are writing this. I’m trying to make this interesting though, if not for the reader at least for myself. I found out I can write an essay, due to my laziness and my ‘anything will do’ attitude I believe the teachers have only seem glimpses of my best work. But you don’t stop being an underachiever over night. Which brings me to my next point; I now know the importance of trying your best at everything you do. I feel that I am well prepared for university with regards to knowing that I have to actually work hard to produce good results. The old high school motto of doing it 5 mins before class has been eradicated from my system. Well done teachers, if you guys have achieved anything this year (you’ve done loads for us really) it’s getting that out my system. Finally and this is going to sound like the class got together and planned to all write this; the importance of deadlines! We are lucky that no-one complained when we handed in stuff late. I know this will not work in uni, not that I would want to get to the end of another course and find out I got so many essays due in so little time.

Sinky said...

How the course could be improved eh? Well let me begin. More maths! No word of a lie I loved that class. I planned to do more but I also planned on having a social life too, so maths went! (that seems a stupid thing to say about education). I believe stricter deadlines would help. I know we have been told for months about what we have to do! But any work that is ‘for the end of term at the latest’ is going to be put of by the majority of the class every year. And then we have the build up of work problem again. Imagine the madness if investigating Europe was this term as well, someone would have jumped out of Carlos’s window! What else could we improve? I dunno. In Spanish Alicia was fantastic (shoulda put that in the positives right?). but seriously more classes like hers would have been great, a mix between her and Dieca for the whole year would have people talking a lot better than I can. I don’t have much else on the improvement side of things. I don’t know if this already happens but giving people language exchanges every year would be good – ours were brilliant.

Now were on my performance!! Haha this should be fun and if I have learned anything from study skills I think this is expected to be the longest part. Well I feel my performance has been mixed! History and maths I feel have been my strongest subjects I enjoyed these and tried hardest in these subjects. Spanish has been ok, I feel I have done well but I believe that it took me too long to get a successful studying technique for it. But that’s part of the learning progress. I think that my speaking needs a lot of improvement I still hear Spanish and panic for a few seconds. My reading is my strongest and my listening is no bad. Investigating Europe was interesting, I think I did ok in this. I wish we coulda had classes with Joe cause he’s brilliant. But I enjoyed the class and felt that if I had chosen a subject I enjoyed a little more than something ‘arty’ (I’m just not that guy, give me football or a book any day, but Picasso? Who’s he?) I would have done better. Communication I think I did ok I missed waay too many classes though. I found it difficult to write about some things like the speaking skills! I enjoyed doing the talks for all the classes and feel, other than my attempt at a talk in Spanish, that my skills have improved. Finally literature I haven’t finished all my work for this yet so I’ll find out soon about this. I enjoyed reading all the stuff for this class but comparing one thing to another is difficult and I definitely need work to improve this.

In conclusion (I feel that’s a great opener for this final part of the story) I have learned a lot of important things. Like never break into a hotel in Düsseldorf if you plan on walking normally afterwards! 300 euros is not enough spending money to take to Madrid if you plan on getting drunk every night. Never miss a £1 a drink opportunity, you never know how long its gonna last for. Don’t waste a sunny day in Scotland inside!! And finally my biggest lesson I have learned is if you want to use the language centre; switch off your phone! Don’t eat or drink! Keep quiet! Write your name in the book! AND NEVER print more than 5 pages! Your life depends on it.

Emily said...

Reflective Essay- my personal evaluation of the course

Motivation and positive experience

My main expectation of this course was to prepare myself well to University. I really wanted to do well; however being on this course was not an easy challenge. It has been long time since I left University. What can I say? Being a student is the best time in my life. I really feel this course has done more for me than anything else before.

The most positive thing about the course is meeting others. I have never met so many interesting and amazing people as you guys! And I’m not talking about students only. I think we have done great together. I will never forget all of you and I hope you won’t let me to.

About the course: very well prepared and structured; lovely and very helpful tutors with passion and determination. I would not be here without all of you and I’m really grateful for everything you have done. The course helped me to build my confidence more (sometimes I’m not sure about this being a positive thing) , planning and learning.

Dieca! What can I say? I have never met such a wonderful, surprising, open at people
person. I don’t think I can find enough words to describe how grateful I am for everything you have done for me. I hope you will never change because somewhere there are still people who need a future direction.

Jerry! It was very interesting yea full of challenges, disappointments and never ending assessments. Overall, it was worth every single minute I have spent on it. I think I have got more from this subject than from any other. Why? The subject have had what any student needs to develop wanted skills- great tutor, well structured classes, lovely atmosphere and never ending work!

Scott! The literature has never been my favourite subject. However, this year I found something special about the subject. I might take it the next year but maybe as a third subject J Still classes were relaxing and perfectly structured for nine o’clock in the morning. How sad is, that some of us (always late) will never understand what I’m talking about.

Evan! History was always my favourite subject at school. I was really happy to do it this year again. Very interesting subject and lovely tutor, passionate about the subject. I find British history very interesting, however, it would be nice to learn some more of European history. Maybe if it is possible change a number of hours on Friday, from 4 to 3 or 2 with a coffee break :-)

John! I have to say he really helped me with maths this year. I was so scared of it when I find out that we have to do it on this course. Believe me or not I have done really well but just because of John. I can just say: God bless you!

Joe! I have just good things to say about the tutor and the subject. The tutor lovely, helpful just great person! He helped me a lot with my investigation and I’m sure I would not manage without his help. Thank you again Joe!


I agree with some of you about having the history assessment a bit closer so people can get more time to do work on the investigation.

I would not change much about the course. However, there are some things, which could be improved. Maybe like access to computers in each class, as it would be really helpful especially for presentation or even every day class. Also Carlos! Don’t take me wrong, as I do understand that the rules are important but we don’t leave in regime. Of course the place is better to study than any other in this college but the person who works there can be irritating. I think we all know what I’m talking about.

Emily said...


I have learnt a lot from this course: how to plan, write, read and survive. I have found myself in this again. This course has changed my life, as before, what I can see now was boring. ‘ The course will change your life’- Dieca kept saying. And you know what? She was right, again!

I have learnt from this course more than from any other school. This course helps people to learn the real life, help to meet and understand people from different cultures. This course was the best decision in my life. I think I’m ready to go now.
The worst thing is that I don’t know if I really want to go!

Beata said...

My Reflective evaluation essay 
It seems like yesterday when this course started  I did look forward to it, to get to know new people, learn something and prove to myself that I can do this and that my English is good enough to go to university.
Positive experiences for me were the fact that all tutors were very positive and helpful, even subject like maths, which always had been a problem for me and a subject deserving my hatred through my school years came easy because of such a nice guy as John, it just proves if the tutor is interested in the subject and is understanding, people like me can actually start believing that we can do something. I can say that in every subject I learned something useful, for example communication which was my favourite, because Jerry has a fantastic quality to wake an interest in students about the subject, there was always something interesting to do and even though at the end of the course there were a lot of listening and analysing tasks to do, I do appreciate that he made us to do that, because I feel that my ability of listening and analysing has raised. Jerry, I thank you for that.
About the improvements – Considering language studies, maybe it’s just me but I would have preferred if we would have had a book with the programme, to follow, but apart from that I think it is great as it is.
Evaluation of my own performance – Well, well, well, I DEFINITELY could have done better and could have done things on time and planned my tasks much better. There is always place for doing thing better. But I also have to admit that I have learned a lot.
What I have learned – In a short words, a lot. Maths – I repeated my entire school programme in three months, it definitely was useful and gave a boost to my confidence  Investigating Europe – helped me a lot in a sense that I had to prepare a presentation and get a lot of materials for my investigation, it was time management, planning and searching for the materials. Spanish language – I have learned Spanish in a level I can understand when people speak, but I could have done better anyway with my Spanish studies. I have learned more about Spanish culture thanks to Dieca who was telling us about that and giving us various materials about it. I think that now I know it a little. History – definitely learned a lot about Britain and Scotland. Communication – praise Jerry!!!! Loved this subject and it was my favourite as there was always some active listening and analysing and writing to do also the fact that Jerry always gave a very logical and useful feedback. I definitely feel my skills have improved. Literature – I read some books I otherwise would not have read and it is again very useful to know classics.
Overall I can say that this course has changed my life, and I hope that it is just a start, I want to thank all my tutors and the boss of the course Dieca for encouragement and all the work she did with us.
Also my dearest course mates, I will miss you guys, it was so great to have such a nice group of people really, I don’t want to say goodbye.

Leokaiser said...

My motivation for enrolling on this course was very strong long before I ever applied – I wanted to study Japanese at University level, but had been out of school too long for my qualifications to still be valid. In this situation, I was faced with a choice between going on a Japanese course with lesser entry requirements or to find a way to gain access to university once again. Going the former route would not have allowed me to reach as high a standard of education and would not have actually given me a degree, which is necessary if I ever want to work in Japan. So, I took the latter option and joined the Access course.

While my qualifications are too old to consider ‘recent’, in reality I have only been out of education for 6 years, and since then I have spent a lot of time writing and studying various topics for recreation, so I did not expect the Access course to challenge me in radically new ways. For the most part, I thought it was be fairly easy; English, History and Maths are all subjects I was good at only a few years ago.

I consider it to be a positive experience that I was proven wrong about the ease of the course – yes, I had covered the majority of the content, but the workload and the pressure which came when I was actually required to start producing work was an eye opener. Had I gone straight to university or another learning institution; if I did not have this year to reacquaint myself with the life and demands of a student, I think I would have received a nasty shock.

This year also showed how valuable the support that tutors and fellow students can provide. This has been excellent group of people to work with, everyone was helpful, friendly and, with most us all feeling the same pressures of the course, helped to allay one another’s fears. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved, and I will be very grateful if next year I have any tutors or peers like those here at Stevenson.

There are some minor ways the course could be improved, but it is hard for me to make effective criticism considering that I was hardly here for great chunks of time! Personally though, I would have liked to have had more discussions in class. Jerry’s class allowed a lot of time for discussion and the swapping of opinions and I thought Communications was an engaging and dynamic subject because of this. History, on the other hand, while interesting and well taught by Evan, seemed to be mainly listening to the facts rather than discussing them; it may be that the amount of material that needs to be covered is too great to allow this, but I do feel the course, particularly the British history unit, could be streamlined to allow more in-class participation.

What have I learned from this year? Well, I just finished writing an essay on Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for Scott, and one thing that taught me was this: “Don’t Panic”. There was a lot of work to be done this year, and at times it was daunting. But for most people, if you stick your head down and get to work then progress will be made, things will get done, and you’ll eventually emerge on the side of success.

Zeitgeist said...

The course gave me great incentive after some struggling college years in Germany. At Stevenson I felt the course enabled me to study things that matter most to me. All teachers helped us wherever they could and often it was even possible to change the deadline for an essay or presentation. In Communication the majority of subject matters were chosen thoughtfully with the intention to prepare us for academic writing at university. I could often easily motivate myself to do some research and eventually start writing without losing too much time. History classes posed a thorn in my eye until the first half of the course. Retrospectively, I think Evan’s class was of enormous meaning. Even though I don’t entirely agree with the rather classical way of teaching I appreciate his passion he put into every single hour. With regards to Literature, we were all effectively taught to develop the skill of analysing and comparing themes and techniques used in a text. As for Spanish, the target of learning the language has been partly achieved. In the end however, I couldn’t bring up enough enthusiasm for it; though it was clear from the start on that I wasn’t going to study languages at university anyway.
I believe, the course wasn’t just about the preparation though. Part of the experience we have gained, was to be exposed to all sorts of personalities and characters and certainly getting on in a diverse environment. As a result I feel much more confident than before I’d begun Stevenson.

Coming to the improvements I have to say only a few matters should be taken into consideration.
Study Skills is one of those few matters. I can see that some people do need a bit of help with computers, and regardless of my opinion towards the subject they should be supported in Study Skills at any rate. I would therefore suggest cutting down the hours for the remaining ones who have the required computer know-how.
Also, as Hannah has mentioned already, computers are desperately needed for Communication. The fact that we finally, after countless months, got transferred into another room with laptops seemed like an empty joke to me.
Other than that, I felt really happy about everything else in the course.

After recalling the course, I can contentedly look back and say the whole course was an utter success. I’ve discovered weaknesses and strengths, I have learnt how to manage time more efficiently, what makes an academic essay, and so much more. In some ways the time at Stevenson gave me hints that were essential to show me what immediate course I want to pursue.

Now, this is probably the right moment to say thank you. Thanks to all for a fantastic time, I will really miss you!

Pawel said...

It's been just a few intensive summer weeks and I feel like I have never attended the College. First of all I am greatly thankful that on the contrary to Poland, education in Britain considers full time mature students, otherwise I would certainly not be at the universitie's doorstep today. When I think of the access course expectations now, I must say that I have strangely not had any as I always thought of going to the university in the first place what was also my main motivation. Furthermore even I thought of the college as more of a place of transition, I started to realise it's importance towards the end of the course. I suppose that what determined my decision about choosing this particular one the most was the option of studying Spanish as I intended to continue it in the future.
According to my experiences in the college they were definitely mostly positive, except the distance one had to overcome everyday. Since I've moved to Edinburgh, bicycle was my main mean of transportation and I could not imagine spending over two hours daily in the bus (listening to Spanish pod casts helped a little). Because of that I have passed my motorcycle driving licence, firstly using my scooter to commute to the college and than, when the weather got worst, the car or eventually buses. I truly hated the long travel and the distance one had to cover in a stuffy, claustrophobic, perfumed and horrendously loud buses and that was also the main reason for rejecting the option of studying at Stirling University. Even so it was worth it in the end as I was given a chance to meet a remarkable people and improve some skills necessary at the university. Beginning from refreshing the history facts and learning many new ones, especially about Britain to breaking my timidity during presentations and finally absorbing vital vocabulary and ability to intelligently analyse and criticize works of others, I have gained a hand full of useful tools to assist me in the future.
Personally I consider this particular course as a very well tailored as in general it is extremely difficult to match everyone preferences and develop them within a year. Despite the different interests and levels of engagement (as there were no two people alike, who have chosen to study the same faculty at the university) this course handed our personal needs greatly. Obviously everyone could find something to improve in the course, nevertheless they are all minor things that do not interfere with the integrity of the whole. As far as I am concerned my only request for the forthcoming years would be to find a more appropriate, interactive space for Jerry's absorbing class. I am highly convinced that it would gain a lot and everyone could take the full advantage of it's time even more efficiently. I must also add that at the begging of the course I had a mixed attitude toward the content of some of the subjects like history or literature, but in time I have realized that throughout being introduced to what their offered I am being more aware of the Scottish culture and society, the society I am a part of now. Therefore I would like to thank to all the teachers and although my dedication to some subjects might have not been noticeable during the course, I deeply appreciate and respect the commitment you have overtaken to share the valuable knowledge you posses. Finally the time spent in the college definitely made me more aware of the world I am living in and what is more important helped me to identify and improve my weaknesses to bravely challenge the future obstacles. Although the number of commitments and required self esteem I have enjoyed the course enormously and would recommend it to anyone looking for a gateway to further education.
Most importantly I loved you all guys (well maybe apart from .... ) and hope we will occasionally meet here and there not to forget this fruitful time that joined us all.
Good luck to you all and see you in the near future.

Arturo said...

My review of the course
It was about a year ago that most of us started getting interviews for this course. Before that we had applied for the course. Now, we have finally finished the course that would prepare us for university and grant us access to it. Some of us sought to recover study habits that we had lost, if we ever had them, to improve our writing in English so as to produce acceptable pieces at university level and to learn the skills that would see us through university successfully. Scary university. For reasons all of our own we each wanted to make it into university. Maybe it was to improve our lives, or to get a degree, or to be taught skills that are hard to access anywhere else. Different reasons that made us want to make it into university, and for that we required this access course. In my particular case, it is for the reasons mentioned before. I am interested in a foreign culture, the Japanese, and without the language it is really hard to delve into any aspect of their society and customs. I also like the language per se, and unfortunately outside university there are not many ways of learning Japanese, and even those will not take you far. I want to get a degree, for what it means and for what it grants me access to in the working world, and because nobody in my immediate family has one, I want to set an example for my young ones. Now, the access course is finished and university is the next stop on the road. So what did I get from this course and what do I think of it? Let us see.
Most people that have ever met me can tell that I am a confident person, probably overconfident would be used to describe more often than not. That is not really the case, I am ridden with doubts about myself, just like anybody else, but I also know that if I try, if I really do, there is not really all that much that I cannot accomplish, it is a matter of stubbornness, or will if you prefer. Unfortunately, no amount of self-confidence would see me through university if I did not have the skills to draw upon and rely on to tackle the task that university is. Thanks to this course I believe I have become more or less efficient in all of them.
The writing of good essays from the start, from the information gathering and analysis of such information to the actual writing of acceptable academic text. There is still room for improvement in that area, but at least now I know I am capable of it and how to bring about the changes required.
The study habits I never really had. I have always relied on good memory to see myself through exams in college when I was younger, but now I find myself with all these helpful techniques that I can use to be successful at university. From the setting of a study area, to time management, to the breaking down of the workload into manageable units, work plans and more. I feel like I hold an arsenal of weapons waiting to be unloaded and bring forth something that has never been seen before.
Student life. At the start of the course I doubted if I could bring myself to be a fulltime student again. Living on budgets and not having much money, committing myself to one place and one thing for a long period of time, and most importantly, if anything ever happened, going back to class and catching up rather than giving up. I believe my record speaks for itself. I have been absent a lot, but I have made it back, I have struggled, but I have made it back, and this is not only due to my own determination. At the start of the course Dieca told us to look around us, see our classmates, our friends to be and see them for what they were, the people that would be our support, the people that would help us through anything and everything. I was sceptical, I stand corrected. Thanks Dieca and thank you Simon.

Arturo said...

There are many other things that I have learned in this course that I find to be of great help. The self organisation and work from the Investigating Europe that help us glimpse what many university classes will be like, just you and a tutor to guide you when needed, but mainly you. The facing of challenges we are not accustomed to, Maths for many, in my case History and Literature, subjects that I used to hate with a passion, and that now I enjoy thoroughly, and this is thanks to Evan and Scott who showed me that if you can back up what you state, your view should not be dismissed and you can dare having an opinion of your own, a freedom of sorts in subjects that I always found suffocating. Thanks.
From Jerry and Dieca I have learned much in the form of study habits and communicating tips. Oral presentations and how we all have them as part of our everyday life, facing an interview successfully, the structuring of the message that you want to deliver, and the actual delivery of such message. And mainly how to play my advantages. Thank you.
From Jane, I have rediscovered my interest and passion for the French language, a great language teacher that has been able to push me farther than any other language teacher ever has, and it is my win. Thank you.
John and Joe saw very little of me, but thanks to their cool relaxed attitude you could approach them and they would steer you in the right direction to show you that you could be successful in their classes. Thank you.
I did not have any actual classes, but thanks for being available and keeping an eye on me, and also for all the help you provided on your tutorials. Most people on the class did not have the need of using many of the things you provided us, but they were of great help for me to make it into Manchester University. Thank you.

Arturo said...

And finally Dieca, the bossiest teacher I have ever had. A bit of a bully, I would dare say, she likes getting her way and she will do what it takes to make it so. Thankfully for us, her way is that we all make it not only into university, but through it successfully. I cannot start to thank you enough. If it were not for you, I would have never made it into the university of my choice. With your help and guidance I learnt what to look for in a course and where, how to look for what I needed and how to get in contact with those that would help me through and what to do in order to accomplish what I wanted. At the start of the course Dieca told us that she knew her way through the ropes and that she had seen it all, we all laughed a little, not anymore. Dieca has a well of knowledge from which we have all benefitted, and as I just said, if it were not for her, I would not be making it into the right university for me; I would not even know what to look for. And that is just some of the help she has provided, I believe in the years to come I will be referring more and more to all that she has taught us.
My own performance could have been better, but I am very happy with it. I was not able to stick to the datelines, I skipped class constantly because of work and personal matters, but I have made it back and learn my lesson. That gives me hope in my being able to make it through university. I made it through the course, and that is what matters, for I know that with better management I have everything in me to be able to make it through university, and I am already working and preparing for that. I have learnt my lesson and I will not make the same mistake again.
What to improve about the course? Nothing much, in my honest opinion. Each class has provided us with a wide background on which to build upon depending on our needs and career choices. Each class had something to contribute, from learning a new language, to being independent in the production of your own work, to all of the skills I mentioned before and more.
In conclusion, I have loved this year. I have learned a lot, I have met amazing people, and I have been provided with skills that will serve not only for university but for life in general. Right now I am filled with dreams, hope and illusion. I have a spring in my step that I had missed for years, and it is all because of this Access Course and all that it represents for me, a future full of possibilities. Thank you, sincerely. Thank you.

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