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In my previous personal development plan, I had made several initiatives through which I hoped to achieve certain goals both in academics and in social life. In the previous personal development plan, I had embarked more on the process that I believe would help me to think about my own learning, performance and achievements as well as to plan my personal, educational, social and career development. Since I made the plan within the PDP, there are certain changes that I have witnessed happening in my career, social and learning areas. For example, I have noted that for the last one semester, I have improved in a number of areas that I had pointed in my last PDP.
In academics, I have achieved a lot, as my average grades have improved from the previous B+ to an A. This is primarily because I was able to develop clear SWOT analysis, in which I recognized my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats not only in academics, but also in my social life, extra-curricular activities and any other activity I took. With this plan, I worked hard to perfect my strengths, correct the weaknesses and make them my strong points, utilize the opportunities placed within my abilities and finally recognize and avoid any negative effect that was posed by the threats in the SWOT analysis (Bolton 2010).
From these considerations, I recognized that some of my strengths were the ability to work under strict deadlines, carry out extensive research, attend classes, and do personal studies and to submit all the papers and assignments at the right time. However, I also recognized that I actually had some weaknesses that caused my performance to dwindle in certain areas. For example, I realized that I had a problem relating with other students, tutors and friends. I did not attend discussion and group work, and seemed to ignore the strength of teamwork. I realized that I did not consult my tutors in academics; rather I attempted to do my own research. In co-curricular activities, I realized that I had done little in games and clubs within the university, despite having a number of athletic teams, training personnel as well as other facilities. I was not able to attend any of the activities before I made the last PDP, and even spent much time playing games on my personal computer rather than being involved in real athletics. In this plan, I set strict schedules to allow me attend my favorite games – soccer and American football. Within this reflection, I had also recognized a number of opportunities that I should have utilized to perfect my skills in education and social life. For example, the university has a number of games, societies and clubs, all of which are equipped and staffed to help the students achieve their goals in academics and other activities important in social and personal life. In addition, the university encourages teamwork, from which students realize their weaknesses and strengths, and work to perfect their strengths and to improve their weak areas. These were opportunities that I ought to have utilized before, but which had been the priority in the previous personal reflection plan. I further realized that there were certain threats that challenged my performance. For example, I was running a risk of being lonely due to my weak approach to teamwork. In addition, it was possible that I would face academic failures in future because I was becoming possessed with video and computer games rather than being involved in real physical exercises.
Several significant changes have resulted from the previous personal reflection plan. For example, apart from the increase in the academic grades, I have developed a good habit of relating with others in the university, and especially in my department. In addition, I have been involved in a number of discussion groups and even contributed to the development of general classroom discussion groups, in which students present their findings to the class during discussion time, while others try as much as possible to challenge the presenter. This has increased my confidence in academics, and I am more able to express myself than I would have done some few months ago before I embarked on self-reflection plan. Moreover, I am perfect in both soccer and football because I have dedicated enough time for these activities, and in fact, I have joined the university teams in both of these games. Moreover, I have joined the rangers association, a university society that is involved in environmental issues. I have realized that I am good in keeping and maintaining a good environment within our localities. During the last semester, we have taken part in national environmental programs, workshops and seminars, in which we have been taught the importance of maintaining good environment. In addition, we have organized a number of workshops for the community, where we teach elementary and high school students about the benefits of a good environment. In this way, I have realized that I have perfected my teaching, social and organizational management skills.
From the personal development plan I created last semester, I have pointed out three main key learning areas that need much attention, and which have been very pivotal as far as the incline in my grades is concerned. First, I have realized that education is not all about understanding of what has been taught in class, and thereafter reproducing it in the examinations. It is a fact that education is not all about passing exams, rather it is a matter of understanding the courses, and how the classroom gained knowledge can be applied in the real life (Bolton 2010). Therefore, I have learned that one needs to do a lot of research and experiments to practice the classroom gained knowledge in the related fields, and to imply the information gained in books to the actual world. Secondly, I have learned that time management is the most critical tool towards achieving personal goals not only in education, but also in the other aspects of life. From the reflection, I have realized that the increase in my overall academic grades, as well as in extracurricular activities, is a result of proper time management, and the ability to work with strict time schedules. Lastly, I have learned that education required coordination of activities between personal efforts and the teamwork. I have observed that students perform better when they participate in class activities, work in groups and challenge each other (Jasper 2007). Moreover, it makes one obtain courage to conduct a research on vital topics, and have the pride to present it in front of the others. This is important for future researchers and scholars like me because at least, I am able to express ideas and ideologies to a number of people, and to meet the challenges they pose (Jasper 2007).
Analysis of the Current Situation
Currently, there is a number of issues that have to bbe improved as far as academics and other activities are concerned. I have achieved a lot in education, sports and social activities in general. Moreover, I have improved my communicative skills. However, I still have to target my main goal, which is to obtain straight A’s in all the courses I take each semester, and at the same time, achieve other goals in other activities apart from education.
Currently, there are certain internal factors that are affecting me in a number of ways, both positively and negatively. For example, when I develop a personal SWOT analysis, I realize that I have internal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to my education as well as other activities. Currently, my strengths in education are defined by my abilities to correct my past mistakes and improve weaknesses. I never ignore my weak points, though it is very common for a number of students in my faculty. In addition, I am able to learn from daily life experiences, especially from other people’s mistakes. Apart from these strengths, I have also realized that I am able to identify opportunities within my learning environment, and utilize them to increase my knowledge and skills in education and career. However, I have some weak points, which are currently affecting my performance. For instance, I do not possess even basic skills to lead other people in the class, groups and the teams, which means that I may not become a good organizational leader unless I perfect my leading skills. I also do not have the courage to communicate with my tutors more. I have one more weak point – I tend to believe that I can perfect my skills either on my own, or with the help of small groups of students. This is not quite good for my educational development, as I require help from my tutors in order to achieve best results. The main reason of my weak points is that I started using personal development and reflection plans only two semesters ago. Earlier, I did not consider such plans to be of great importance. But now, as I see a great progress in my personal development, and taking into account that the university provides a lot of resources for each student to master all the necessary skills, I will continue planning my self development.
There are also some external factors that affect me in one way or the other, and which can be regarded as threats and opportunities. For instance, a number of opportunities are evident in my current situation. Other students in my class and the faculty have intensified their need to have personal reflection programs, and are in fact comparing their performances with the others in the class. This implies that…