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Individual Reflective Journal

1: Group Dynamics Real Team, a small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, performance goals and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. (Boddy, 2006) In my study and research methods class, we decided to allocate ourselves in our own groups of four or five people for a group verbal presentation. The presentation was worth 15% of the total module mark and would last for 10 minutes. The subject of the presentation we chose was to do with the economic benefits of smoking in relation to the health costs smoking causes. I felt the choice of groups was good because it was the same group I was in for previous projects and we already had a good understanding of working with one another. The subject we all agreed upon because we felt there was a lot of information on it and it looked to be the easiest option out of the other options available. This is the second verbal group presentation that I did during the term, and so had some experience of knowing what is required of me. Verbal presentations are not however my strongest points because I am a quiet person and feel introverted to speaking in front of an audience. The research side of the presentation was not a problem at all because one of my strong points is browsing the internet for relevant information. We brainstormed some ideas about what to include in the presentation and what information each member will need to allocate. The group did not have a recognised group leader as members of the group were all fairly loud. One member of the group came up with an idea to carry out a questionnaire in a casino, and present the data collected in graphs. We held one group meeting a few days before the presentation displaying our findings onto one PowerPoint presentation. This meeting took some time due to the relaxed approach of some of the team members and because not all of the work 1

had been finished in advance. We got together again one day before the presentation to practice, everything was completed to a good standard and I felt confident for the real thing the next day. The group presentation went well because of the rehearsals we did the previous day. I was very confident in what I had to say and delivered my part without the guidance of precautionary cue cards I had made. I was not directly asked any questions from the judicator, which my colleagues did very well to answer to the best of their abilities. If I have to do another presentation I would change only a few minor things. Starting work on the project earlier I feel will instil confidence in me as I will have more time to prepare for my part in the presentation. I may also have to be more assertive with my colleagues and make sure that everybody has brought sufficient amounts of information before group meetings.

2: Self as an Independent Learner I came to Durham University from Leicester, to study a degree in accounting and finance. The university accepted me because I achieved their requirements in A Level grades from my exams earlier in the year. This was not the first time I had been away from home, family and friends. This would however be the longest period I would stay away from home. I have had many types of feelings during my time at the university which I was excited about coming to beforehand. Making new friends was very important and most people were in the same situation as me, not knowing anyone at first. The lectures I felt were boring and is a very different style of learning to how I have been taught in the past.

This was the first time where I felt free to do whatever I like as there was no more parental supervision from so far away. I did though need to make sure I kept up to date with my studies and adjust to the new teaching methods so I can progress to the second year. The workload at the beginning of term was relaxed and the settling in period was going great meeting new people from different backgrounds. There were some great nights out during freshers week even though the towns nightlife is dire. Adjusting to university life was not hard in particular and I quickly formed a strong bond with certain individuals who I am now very close to. I started falling behind with work as it became more difficult during the end of the term, however I did hand in all of my formative and summative assignments in on time. My overall impressions of the university during the first two terms were very impressive. The students and members of staff were all very friendly and as things paned out my new friends were helpful in showing me how to calculate certain equations for my quantitative methods seminars. We helped each other with the academic skills we acquired at college and also cooked together, something I had never done before coming to the university. With the nightlife in Stockton being quite appalling I travelled to cities like Newcastle and Manchester to gain a better clubbing experience. I could have done a few things differently to optimise the start of my university experience for the better. I should have tried to pay more attention in lectures so I understood the subject matter and would therefore not fall behind. Other ways I could have stayed ahead in academic terms would have been to complete all seminar work a few days before the seminar and read the recommended books for each subject. Another thing I would change would be to choose the nights out I go to carefully, as some were a waste of money and will probably spend more time exploring cities such as Newcastle.

3: The Rationale for you Choice of Degree and Strand I chose to study a degree in Accounting and Finance at Durham University. The university is ranked one of the best for teaching business subjects and this influenced my decision to study the degree at this particular institution of higher education. The accounting and finance degree will give me an insight into my future career path and also make me exempt from a few ACCA exams in the future. My initial feelings about the degree were that it would be maths based which I am comfortable with despite not studying the subject in college. Since taking the degree I am surprised by the level of maths involved and do regret, not taking maths as an A Level. Certain modules of the degree such as economics and finance I find difficult to understand and bore me. The degree is difficult with so many concepts to learn, however with the aid of some lecturers I believe I can pass the first year. The way in which the degree is taught is different to the way I have been learning in school and college as there is limited help with assignments from lecturers. In the shorts run my aims are to pass the first year and hopefully get a degree that is a 2:1 or above. I will have to put in a lot of work and effort to attain this mark which will lead to greater qualifications and a good job. My long term ambitions are to take an ACCA qualification and become a chartered accountant. If I am able to qualify as an accountant I will hopefully open up my own accounting practice which I can do with my father who is a qualified chartered accountant. I have taken some steps to furthering my goals which include talking to relatives who have been through the steps I wish to go through. I have also met with career advisors who informed me about possible routes to become a chartered accountant. To pass my first year I acquired the help of some colleagues who knew the subject more than me to guide me through the workload. 4

On some occasions I have not performed to a standard that I am proud of, this though has been the case a small number of times. My second economics formatives only consisted of around 600 words, this is well below the limit and I should have researched more on the subject to write on. I have also at times been reluctant to prepare seminar work before going into classes and relying on other students. The reason for this has been that I have found certain concepts difficult and have been lazy in reading them up in more detail.

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Bibliography Boddy, D., (2006), Management An Introduction, Third Edition, page 560