Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Past Mistakes

As the end of the first year draws to a close I’m feeling mostly satisfied with my progression through the course so far, though there’s room for improvement. I’m also relieved that all the assignments are done with for now, after all the work and late nights I’ve had to put in recently.

Looking back over my other entries and remembering how I felt at the start of the year, it seems like ages ago. In my very first post I said I was hoping this would be the final stage of my education before employment and I still feel the same. 

After 4 years of FE and a year of HE (not to mention another year to come) I’m ready to get a job. While I’m motivated and will continue to do the best I can and put all my effort into assignments, I grow tired of forever doing coursework. I’m just looking forward to employment now when at least I’ll get paid for all the work!

As noted in the second post, the step from FE to HE was bigger than anticipated but I feel I’m working at the level required, though I can push myself to do better. At the time I was struggling to annotate inspirational pieces, something that came much easier as the weeks went by. Word counts were frustrating at first and while at times I felt they were ridiculously low for the level of detail I thought was needed, I’ve adjusted to them. However, sometimes it can take a while to edit a piece of work down to the word count, which still leads to frustration.

A2: A Journey of 1000 Miles... was probably the easiest assignment for me, and it’s a shame we weren’t given the chance to achieve anything higher than a Pass as I feel I could have at least got a Merit for that one. Still, it was a good assignment to ease us into the course and it was probably the least stressful one, even with the move and everything else that was happening at the time. Achieving a straight Pass was also a major confidence booster.

A3: Sounds Like a Plan could’ve been considerably less stressful if my time management had been better, as noted at the time. Having no internet connection at home didn’t help matters, but I could have done more earlier on in the assignment to avoid working over Christmas.

I was also struggling to meet my 16 hours a week throughout Semester One, which I’ve also learnt from. Had I pushed myself to do a bit more each week there’d have been no late nights.

A4: Typecast went smoothly for the most part, though there was some stress meeting some of the shorter mini-deadlines. This was mostly because the ideas generation took so long, but I feel I’ve improved on this and now take a little less time to get my ideas down.

A5: Builder was one of the more difficult assignments for me, as it took a while to get my head round some of the code. I intend to practice on XHTML and CSS over the Summer break and am confident I will soon be able to build websites with ease. I got there in the end, with a little help from John, and still achieved a Pass.

A6: The Big Picture was probably the most stressful assignment. Everything was just so time consuming and I underestimated how long everything would take. I think I’m still recovering from this one, hence why I’m looking forward to the Summer break so much. I was determined not to make the same mistakes as for A3 so I pushed myself to get as much done possible each week, but even so I still struggled towards the end.

However, the fact that I managed to do so much every week perhaps highlights how I’ve progressed over the months. At school I used to get straight on with my homework and would typically not take a break until it was finished.

When it came to the first year of college I started to slip and became lazy, leaving work until the last minute and not putting as much effort in (which cost me some higher grades on the animal course).

On the GCE I was much the same and, again, my grades suffered. It wasn’t until Semester Two of the HND that I got out of this habit and really started to get on with work again. It was with the start of A6 that I began doing the 16 hours a week or more.

I think my main problem with A6 was spending too long on some tasks (such as the presentation), and not starting the other tasks sooner. This is something I will try and be more aware of in future.

A7: Rasterised I’ve mostly enjoyed, and it’s been good to have some time to myself for the duration of this one. Towards the end I had to put a lot of hours in though, especially as A1: SketchBlog was also due in the same day. This meant ensuring my sketchbook was complete. The holding page also took a lot of time to code and I still need to practice this. The last two weeks were stressful and I’m relieved to have handed it in, and confident that I’ll at least achieve a Pass.

So, I will take from this year the knowledge that I’m on the right tracks, as I’ve passed every assignment. However, I know I can achieve better grades and next year I’m going to really try harder to pull these up to Merits and possibly Distinctions.

I’ll also try to manage my time better and set some time aside for myself as well as work. I’m thinking of taking some leave off work which will leave me free to concentrate on my studies and thus allow me to get a more challenging job in my chosen industry.

I also think my level of creativity could still improve so I’ll spend some time over the Summer working on this. I intend to look for more inspiration and become more creative in my own designs.

Next year I want to learn more code, despite a few difficulties this year. I’m thinking I would like to learn JavaScript at this point in time, as it would be useful to allow me to build better sites.

Action Plan:

Better time management
Higher grades: 4 Passes, 3 Merits and at least one Distinction
Be more creative
Better developer