This year has flown by, I have to admit.

It’s been, from an educational perspective, quite dramatic and remarkable for me.  I’ve been and studied in Grenoble and embarked on the final year of my degree.  I even managed to sort out the one part of my work that was in some way lacking: the referencing.  Seriously, when you get to university level they come at you like a ton of bricks.

It was nearly a year ago that I compiled a small list of the sorts of things we should be doing to help our education move forward over the course of 2014.  Mostly oriented towards secondary school level, we talked about making sure that you took mock exams seriously and helping out others, completing your homework and preparing for your future.

I guess on a personal note doing mock exams isn’t really what we do at university level, though getting in enough preparation work would be considered rather advantageous.  In Grenoble, I like to think I was prepared enough for my exams and it contributed to my experience whilst I was out there.

Did I help out others – especially the disadvantaged?  Arguably, whilst I was out in France I helped out teaching English and this did involve some university students with learning difficulties.  Does that count?  Yes, I would say it does.  Add that to doing my homework (in the form of these nasty assignments) and preparing for my future in looking for my graduate career…. I’d say I’ve had a productive year.

I also vowed not to be too mean to Michael Gove, but since he’s out of his role as Secretary for Education, I’d say that I probably got away with that anyway.

Looking back and reflecting on what you thought you should do at the start of the year is actually a pretty good thing to get involved in, no matter what level of school you’re at.  Clearly at the end of 2013 you thought that something needed to be improved to take you through this year, so taking some time to see what you said isn’t actually a bad idea – it gives you a sense of perspective on things.

OK, with that in mind, here are a few things that I’ll be trying to do in 2015 – or at least for the first half of the year while I’m still in education.

  1. Fully preparing myself for those final year exams – OK, it’s coming to the end of education for me now and I think it’s safe to say the pressure is well and truly on.  I’ve got an awful lot of work to get finished this semester, but I think the main focus once those pieces are in is certainly the exams and final hand-ins.  It really is the last frontier before I go out there and into the world of work.
  2. Keeping myself organised throughout the modules I take – Admittedly, I’ve never been the world’s most-organised guy – I frequently find my notes all over the place and some not completely written up.   That said, when I actually sit down and look at nice, neat notes in a big binder, it makes life so much easier!
    Final year for me features four modules so one binder for each has been such a saviour.  I would recommend that others do the same.  If you really want to get detailed, do one for each unit within the modules.
  3. Remembering that you never really stop learning – This is a strange concept for me, seeing as I’ve now been in education forever, it would seem.  However, in May 2015 I’ll leave university and hopefully head out into the real world where I have to work and live in my own place.
    The reality of it is though… whatever habits you’ve developed over the last few years, they’re going to stick with you and define how well you do over the critical phase where you go from student to graduate…. and then onto employee.  Every time you did something specific for your education – like learn a new way of organising notes – you were also doing it to prepare you for the world outside. When you step into a new role, you have to remember a great deal about how to learn new things.  So whilst I will be running out of university and throwing my mortarboard in the air, I will remember that it’s only just the start.

Everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses and so their own lists are going to be a little different.  However, I think being organised and preparing for the final hurdle is something we can all get behind.  It seems like basic stuff, yes, but sometimes I do have to get out a textbook to read up on a concept that I thought was ‘basic’ or ‘simple.’

As for remembering you never stop learning?  It’s vital that you keep that in the back of your mind, otherwise you could find yourself regressing.  As much as I write about various injustices in the schooling system, or the last time I felt that something wasn’t right… it’s all there to set you up in life in one way or another, that I’ll say.  Seriously, it’s wrong to say that it doesn’t prepare you for anything.

As much as it is about knowledge and learning facts, school and university teach you skills too.  These skills are going to prepare you for the future, so bear that in mind when you finish off your academic year.

It’s getting to the stage where you need to reflect and think about what you’re going to do next year and if you want to do anything differently.  OK, so the concept of New Year’s Resolutions might not be your thing but hey, with a Christmas break looming, perhaps now could be a better time than most.




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