Consider the following statements and click if you feel they apply to you.
1. I am confident that I understand what university education is all about
That is good. Just make sure that you keep checking that assumption against what you experience: there is nothing worse than living by an assumption that is not correct.
2. I know what makes the difference between good work at school and good work at university
Good – but again, check your assumptions, perhaps by reading Chapter 6 on ‘General Principles of Assessment’
3. I think the skills I have developed during my earlier education will be important to me at university
Some of these (such as information-gathering skills, MS Word, etc.) will be very important, but there will be new ones that you will need to develop.
4. I am confident that I will do well in my university career
Good. Maybe create some goals for yourself and keep checking your progress against those goals.
5. I have high expectations of myself and the grades I will eventually obtain
That is good. Make sure you know what to do to make those expectations become a reality.
6. I have a good understanding of how the skills I develop at university will relate to those I will
need for my future career
That is good. As for item 1, just make sure that you keep checking that assumption against what you experience: there is nothing worse than living by an assumption that is not correct.
7. I am clear about what my future career will be
That is good – but whether you are clear or not, it would be a good idea to talk to a careers adviser as soon as you can about this.
8. I want to achieve the very best I can for me, my family, and those I will work with
This is a very good and ethical thing to aim for.
9. I have the capacity to lead others and enjoy leadership roles
That is excellent to know – do you have any evidence of this? If not, then how do you know? At the end of your studies, an employer will need to see evidence that you can do this.
10. I am competitive and will do nearly anything to ensure that I win
A competitive spirit is usually a good thing, but competing whilst abandoning morals and ethical values is something that most universities and employers will not tolerate. Be careful not to let your competitive spirit get out of control.
If you are not competitive, then that is OK, but employers will want to have seen that you have developed a sense of persistence and determination to get things done. Again, be careful and do not turn into someone who sits back and waits for others to tell you what to do.
11. I think competition among students is a good thing, so I will use this to motivate myself
It can be a good thing, although the issue for this item is that the grades you receive are not based on any competitive ranking: they are based on the quality of work you have produced.
12. My motivation comes from seeing others benefit from the advice I give them
That is a very good motivation and expresses a slight sense of humility.
13. I enjoy achieving something good when working with others
Working with others (see Chapter 10 on ‘Team-Working’) can indeed be a great deal of fun and should lead to something of good quality, but not everyone likes working with others.
14. I prefer to do academic work on my own
Similarly (to item 13), some people prefer to work on their own. It is a matter of personal preference.
15. At university, I will try to focus only on my studies rather than on student clubs and societies
It is important to give your studies priority over anything else, but to ignore the student societies might mean that you miss out on the opportunity to develop and demonstrate leadership skills that employers are looking for.
16. There is nothing more important than academic grades to get a good career
As for item 15 above, there is a balance here. You do need a good degree to get a good career, but without the right skills, you may find that your good degree may be insufficient.
17. All the skills I will need for a good career will be developed through the activities I do
during my studies
Your studies will develop some of the skills you need, but it will be unlikely that you develop all of these. Work, family situations and active participation in student societies will also be important.
18. I am good at developing my skills and can now do things that I could not do before
That is encouraging to hear. Keep on doing so, but make sure the skills are relevant for future employment.
If this does not describe your view of yourself, then it might be a good idea to put a plan and some personal goals in place.
19. I am very clear in my mind about the skills I will develop during my degree
That is good. Every programme should develop some transferable skills – skills which you can take from university to the workplace – and you should be able to find out what those are quite easily.
20. I know how to develop my skills
If this is like you, then you are in a good position to start doing so.
If you are unsure about how to develop your skills, then be sure to read through the remainder of the chapter.
21. I think it is easy for me to be aware of my own strengths and weaknesses
We can often think we know what our strengths and weaknesses are, and sometimes we do know. There are, however, times when we think we know, but are wrong, and times when others know us better than we know ourselves.
Have a look at relevant content in the chapter on the Johari Window.
22. I think I know myself better than other people know me
The comment on this item is the same as that for the previous item, so read the chapter carefully and take time to consider whether others have the same view of ourselves as we do.
23. My parents can tell me what my skills are and can help me find a career
Sometimes this is very true, and sometimes not. A lot will depend on the kind of professional backgrounds your parents have.
Even if this is not true for you, there will be others around you (where you live, who study on your course, your tutors) at university over the months and years ahead who can give you feedback on your skills.
24. I find it very easy to change who I am
Some people can change very easily, but most find this hard. One section in Chapter 13 looks at who we are – our world view, our values, beliefs, our behaviour – and some of these will be easier to change than others.
It is not impossible to change our behaviour sometimes, but some people really struggle to change their values and beliefs.
Whatever your answer here, it is good to be open to changing who we are sometimes: the question we need to consider is what we are prepared to change, and by how much.
25. I think university is about developing knowledge, rather than skills
The reality is that it is about developing both. At university, you will grow as a person and hopefully become more mature and independent, so your time there will develop both your knowledge and your skills.