Becoming a working professional, in any area of expertise, is an extremely difficult and task and involves high levels of competition from others trying to secure their place in the same industry. Once becoming a professional, it is then vital to be able to maintain a high level of professionalism and to continue to develop important skills. At the end of my degree I will become a professional veterinary bioscientist. In order to continue as a professional and fulfil my ambition to go onto a postgraduate veterinary medicine degree after this course, it is extremely important that I am able to and can continue to assess the skills that I need to develop to achieve this goal.
Identifying personal strengths is a very important part of being able to assess progress and development. Personally, something that I identify as one of my own strengths is being able to manage my time between my work life, university life, and then also my own personal and social life including my hobbies. Time management is a key aspect of success, as without managing time well, assignments and revision can be left too late and therefore any work produced at the last minute will not be done to the highest standard possible. On the contrary, spending too much time studying can also have a negative impact on the work produced, because it can become overwhelming and the brain needs time to relax and wind down in order to function properly and learn. Due to the fact that I have a part time job and play or umpire netball matches three to four times a week, I have to ensure that I work efficiently over regular short periods of time, whilst still allowing myself time to be able to relax and go out with friends. Currently I can do this very well, and so long as I am able to maintain this I should hopefully continue to succeed and achieve well in assignments and exams, as well as keeping fit and healthy and keeping stress levels to a minimum at the same time.
Although my general and background knowledge of the content of the course that I am studying is good, to develop further I need to ensure that I conduct my own further independent study adding to the content that we are delivered in lectures. I need to read around the subjects more in order to widen my knowledge, as it is very important to be able to fully understand what it is that I am learning, rather than just being able to memorise a set of facts. This is vital so that I am able to progress and use this knowledge in practice in the future, whether it be during my postgraduate study or after that when I begin working in the professional field.
Setting myself targets is crucial to my professional and personal development throughout my studies and also for my future career. Without specific targets and goals, it is difficult to be able to know what areas to improve on and what new skills to develop in order to better myself and progress professionally.
I think that one of the main targets I have set myself is to complete more CPD (continued personal development) courses online, and to ensure that I keep a log of them on the facilities available via my Royal Society of Biology membership. This not only will broaden my own skills and knowledge, but it will be beneficial to have as evidence to show that I am committed to constant new learning when applying for postgraduate courses, and further down the line when applying for a new job. A record of continuous personal development will hopefully make me stand out compared to others who are competing for the same educational and vocational places as myself.
Furthermore, eventhough through work experience, my current job, completion of the bronze duke of Edinburgh award and my place in one or more netball teams at a time, all display evidence that I am capable at working well in a team, I would like to further develop my leadership skills, which are equally as important. Leadership skills and teamwork are both extremely essential skills to have for a postgraduate course, as well as for a future career in the veterinary industry. In order for me to practice and enhance my leadership skills, I will be applying for the role as captain of the university netball team from September this year, and I have also taken on the role as Vice Chairperson of the netball club that I play for in the Chelmsford District Netball League.
Overall, by using the targets that I have set for myself I will hopefully be able to develop both my personal and professional skills to help me reach and achieve my desired goal.