My Experience in the UK: On campus Foundation Programme

Posted: October 10, 2016

My Experience in the UK: On campus Foundation Programme

The foundation programme aids aspiring students to familiarize themselves on their chosen course of study, which is important in determining their next step closer to their career paths and ambitions. It prepares a student on what to expect, thus, among themselves effectively for the educational journey ahead. Before one can even learn, may it be a skill or even beginning a new phase in education that people hold perceptions in their mind. These perceptions helped a lot in searching deeper for more answers and surprisingly, inadvertently, I welcomed the chance with open arms. Before starting my journey to Oncampus, I thought I had all the skills required to join my major but it took no time to for that to be proven wrong. The Skill class gave new insights that I did not think about before.

On my journey to attend the skill classes, I attested the sociological phenomenon that familiarity simplifies the mechanisms by which enable individual to get new information out of familiar settings. In a familiar setting of the Oncampus foundation program, my learning experience has been splendid and I could not have hoped for better. There have been some challenges though; it has not been a bed of roses. I had to relearn a lot of things. What I knew about International Relations was sketchy. Funny enough I had not braced myself to the idea that it was going to be a little hectic. What I knew at the time was a basis of what I actually needed to know.

I must say that the study skill section was the most important among everything I was exposed to during this process. This skill is proved to be very relatable. In the study skill section, reading skill is the most important of all. Reading skill, if mastered well will lead to the understanding of other important English language skills such as written English. Thus, this part of the module was of crucial essentiality in the course of my study. Most of my time in school involved reading and was assured more would be done when I joined the university. It may seem very simple to many but it is a skill that is learnt over time for one to be perfect at it. Literature was good at sharpening those skills. It would involve the mind in a numerous of activities such as getting the purpose of a given type of text, brainstorming on titles, check out the vocabulary used, style of language used to convey the information, audience intended, purpose, relevant questions and lastly skimming and scanning through the piece of work at hand. Skimming and scanning are vital reading skills. The reasons being that I had to actually go through layers of documents to find the specific information I may be looking for. It first begins with skimming then followed by scanning. This came in handy especially as I was doing my research. I would skim quickly through comprehensive titles, find exactly the title that would give the information I needed, then I would scan to get to the specific of the information I was looking for. Knowing how to read well comes with many benefits. It saves a great deal of time since not all information is really important at a particular time, the reader gets to understand the content, make interpretations, make summaries of what has been understood and finally make reflections on the read. This skill goes hand in hand with note taking, since in the process, important points have to be jotted down. It also enables one to find out whether a given piece of information will turn out to be resourceful as some may contain similar titles but lack the depth of the information offered. It was relatively hard to paraphrase and summarize text that I had read. I greatly improved on this when I was required to write assignments and even much so in research, in writing an abstract and literature review and presentations. This in turn would really help to analyse any given information or data for the meaning and intended purpose in the course of my career as a dealer in International Relations.

Among the skills that I got familiar with in the process was that of note taking and even as I write this paper it came to be of great use. Developing a skill of taking short notes in the form of excerpt on any event and using them as a referral for future research is a great capability that any individual should pursue. Taking notes help remembering important terms and factors that otherwise might have been slipped off. I have developed the habit of carrying my little note book around wherever I go to avoid the limitation of human mind that is forgetful. It enables making summaries of rather long texts in case of large publications such as journals, noting down the important flesh in the whole meat of information. It also pinpoints the essential components thus making it easier to get a gist of the whole body of information where large publications are involved. I learnt of its importance in the career of my choice as it would involve challenging meetings with various individuals and this could not only be restricted to board meetings but also in conferences or seminars. These social meetings would require note taking skills as the speaker presents his or her point. The human mind at times does not have the capacity to remember everything that has already been said, a slight percentage may be forgotten. I remember that I was going through some revision for midterm 1 exam for skills and forgot to take notes. As I was getting ready to read that section, I could not remember how the events came to be in the end and it ended up in leaving me in a mess. I could not do well in the exam because of not taking notes. This reminded me of the importance of note taking. I now use abbreviations or acronyms to note down important points.

We are living in a world of technological advancement and modernisation. Author Cottrell and Morris (2012, pp.36-40) identifies research as the most important basis for the advancements in various fields, which can be flourished through appropriate use of the technology. Therefore, it is vital that I acquire the second most important skill which is on research. It incorporates most of the skills already outlined such as note taking and reading. I did not actually understand how I would begin my case study research. This was new to me since I had never done independent research before. The above mentioned skills were important especially when I was writing the literature review. It required me to identify a need or gap that required to be bridged; come up with objectives and relevant research questions. When we were in skills class, Dr. Gustavo Subero tremendously enhanced my experience by teaching me the importance of breaking down everything in the research, a step without it I would have been left overwhelmed. This helped me learn various sources of information such as the primary and the secondary sources and how I could locate these sources in the library. It came to my knowledge that depending on the nature of my research topic, I had to choose what kind of data I would collect and how I would find it mostly dependent on my measurable objectives. The process does not end at the point of collection but all the way down to data analysis; I learnt of a couple of software that could help analyse data such as SPSS and last but not least, coming up with conclusions based on the data analysed and making recommendations that will probably have a direct or indirect impact on particular components of my industry of study. Advanced capability of data analysis using computer software, drawing appropriate conclusions from analysed data and making intelligent recommendations for clients to follow are few of the most important skills for an individual can develop on his way to career growth. In the absence of this skills, it is highly difficult to come to a solution to a problem in hand or conduct a valid research.

What I appreciated from this whole experience is identifying a need. I also came to understand why most organisations have a dedicated Research and Development department.

The first three skills outlined above are followed by the critical evaluation skill. It entails critical thinking on the topic of interest, trying to establish what the author intended and of what significance the current information holds. According to Williams (2014, pp.10), critical evaluation incorporates namely, outlining the problems, the interpretation of problems and resolving of problems. This helps the particular individual to even think beyond what has already been presented and come up with possibilities. For example, when I was asked to critique the Human Interactions is the Asch case study, for the methodology used and performing a SWOT analysis of the same. It is a by-product of reflection, since having done careful reflection after reading a publication say a book, what comes next is critical analysis of the events that surrounds the text. When reading a story for example, it is required that you clearly evaluate the start point, climax and the resolution of a given story. It helped me in understanding various situations in order to interpret them and make sense out of them. Critical evaluation is of great influence during examinations and interviews. The exercise of concept mapping put to test this special skill. I had to think of interrelationships between ideas I had established necessary to make connections between them and most importantly, arrange them in a logical manner, then summarise the information in form of a diagram.

Consequently, I was able to learn presentation skills. If the skills such as reading and writing are not learnt well or taken seriously, it would greatly obstruct on the presentation skills. This is because, one cannot present what they have not understood. Presentations could take the form of essays, PowerPoints and oral presentations. It helps to bring to light that, presentations require good command of language, proper presentation of oneself to the audience, including grooming and a special mention of verbal and non-verbal cues and designing of the presentation according to the type of audience. It was particularly difficult for me to identify brief information when faced with space limitation as when required to design posters and still convey the intended meaning. This was difficult for me at the beginning. I can see some improvements as I got to familiarize myself with posters that I saw changed around campus. Before the foundation program, I was not confident enough presenting in front of my peers. With many practices and classes in skills, I improved my presentation skills and gained confidence to present. I have greatly improved in searching and using the right key words to catch the attention of the reader. I also have learnt skills such as critical evaluation and reading skills, I saw the importance of using the same to convey the message without implying different meanings for it to be clear. It took me two to three days to come up with a poster. I have learnt this over time and I can get much done with lesser time. I can now do it in two days. This is a clear indication of improvement.

Teamwork is a great factor that can accelerate success for any company or individual. It explains the importance of being a team player and focuses on the advantages that teamwork offers. This is because, we all are uniquely gifted, which means that what one person can do, another cannot or can do it better. I needed to connect with people in the various teams to get work done. I learned teaming up with peers not only helps you to be more efficient, but it also prepares you for workforce.  I was amazed to see how different people may view one single thing in an unparalleled manner. It felt good to be needed especially when people discover amongst themselves what each and every member of a given group can do uniquely. It cultivated in me the urge to work on a given time line. Dependency doesn’t always have to mean that one is vulnerable but would indicate the strength indeed to agree that you need help from others. I was challenged during this period as it instilled character and endurance especially when it came to dealing with people with differing personalities.

One of the most valuable asset that a man lose every day is time. A time that is not well spent is wasted. Essential time management skills are important for the development of an individual. This is an independent skill but could be detrimental if not well managed. I had to draw up a plan for important things such as reading, doing revision and research during the programme. Work, can prove overwhelming if a plan is not put in place and actually don’t know where to commence when having heavy workloads such as, assignments, meeting up for group discussions, setting up revision time, and downtime among others. I believe it is very important to keep time as well as know how to use it to obtain maximum benefits.

Referencing of work done and avoiding plagiarism are important as far as the academic integrity is concerned and must be followed (Williams and Carroll, 2009, pp. 12). I could not understand why someone could refuse to give credit where it was due. The former, together with formatting and good grammar covers most of academic writing. I was not good at referencing, but I learnt all the rules regarding referencing, citations and writing a bibliography in skills class. I learnt that it takes time and effort to produce quality work which I would be satisfied with to present to the tutor. I also struggled with tenses and the persons to use but I am picking up.

Last but not least, the most common way since ages to assess a student’s performance was through examinations. Rowntree (1977, pp.01) recognizes student assessment as the most important factor to assist and support the student in developing their skills and allocating their resources. It always begins with knowing the various revision techniques as this will help a student such as me to prepare well for the examinations. I did not seem to understand why this was important. Does it really change anything? I learnt the importance much later but not too late. Knowing how to revise is as good as doing the exam itself. Poor revision techniques may lead to poor performance in the examinations. Therefore, revision techniques may alter examination performance outcome. Answering questions as asked in the examinations is as vital as the revision itself. I am bracing myself for the task ahead.

To sum up, the time I spent has been nothing but spectacular. More so because the period has challenged me to think at different angles, searching and looking into the wider perspective and having acquired the critical analysis skill, I believe I will be at an advantageous position to solve problems as they present. As a consequence, I am more than willing to welcome new ideas as they come as they may form the basis for excellent solutions. I have added a reasonable level of knowledge, which was vital all this time to fulfilling my expectations. I look forward to joining the university and pursuing my career of choice armed with the skills I attained in my foundation year.

Ultimate discount!

Check the discount here

Order now