Reflection. It is the end of the year, so why not reflect a bit…

Everyone is crazy about reflecting on the passing year, some people even making new year’s resolutions. Well I guess I can use some reflection too – but I prefer to focus on what this blog and my studying at University is all about.

These were my first three months studying Media Production. The first term, or as Steve Dawkins put it, 1/9 of our degree. So how did I spend this 1/9 of my time at University?

  • I tried being a leader and I failed.
  • I wrote 60+ blog posts and only a handful of comments on other people’s blogs. And then moaned about my blog being comment-poor. The irony
  • I didn’t connect with fellow students enough. Big mistake. I’ll face the consequences next term, I can see it already.
  • I missed a number of opportunities to collaborate and gain some relevant experience. From the fear of failing. Because I’m used to doing tasks I am confident with, or at least that I have some clue about.
    Confidence is overestimated. When it is the only criterium you approach things – either ‘I am confident and will do that’ or ‘I am not confident and will not even try’, you (read: I) miss lots of chances of learning. University is giving us this safe environment for ‘learning by doing’ and ‘learning by failing’, but I still can’t help but look at it as if it were a real-life situation, with real challenges and consequences of not doing your job right.
  • I did not have enough fun. Oh, did I write ‘enough’? I didn’t have almost any fun. Why so serious? Go figure…

After all this, how can I even think I did anything right? Well, it turns out, there are a couple of things I think I did right:

  • I attended over 90 % of lectures and workshops, and tried to listen and comprehend at least 80 % of what was happening there. Sometimes it’s the details that make the difference, so I tried to pay attention to what all this was actually about. Too many distractions keep us away from the ‘now’. I hope I was able to cut these at least while at University.
  • I did my best to listen. Other people, fellow students, lecturers – a lot of learning happens while observing what others have already learned, have succeeded or failed at.
  • I attended some inspiring Coventry Conversations talks. Some not that inspiring, too. But informative nonetheless.
  • I kept notes. Quite a lot actually. Some of them made it into blog posts. Some of them were starting points for a quick (or not that quick) research themes. Some of them helped my arguments in discussions. Some of them I haven’t looked back since I scribbled them in my notebook, and will probably never return to again. But it just didn’t feel right to not write them down…
  • I asked questions. I questioned people, and I tried to question myself. It is not easy.
  • I collaborated. That was new. I knew from previous experience what working in a collective means, but this had nothing to do with actual team working.
    Here, I had to (and sometimes even succeeded in) working in a group. When done wrong, it is mostly frustrating. But when done right… The feeling is unique. Synergy. You feel you can do anything. The other people’s passion empowers you in moments of low. Yours empowers them. Everything starts to make sense. For the first time in my life, I was actually collaborating in a creative and challenging project with another person. The result was surprisingly good.

What’s next? I can only hope to learn from my mistakes. It sounds so easy, but it never really is. So instead of making promises I won’t be able to keep and then feeling miserable about it, I am wishing myself the courage to challenge myself, try and fail at something, then fail again, learn to accept failure, and at some point start learning from it.

Happy New Year? We’ll see.

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