official post #6 : Reflection on Learning

Time flew by way too quickly this semester, as we have come to the final official post for ES2007S, about how we have developed on a particular aspect throughout this course. With several components covered in the course, such as cover letter writing, intercultural communication, proposal writing and oral presentation, I can confidently say that I have made progress in all these areas. Personally, the segment which involved the learning of job interviews and partaking in mock interviews had the most impact on me for several reasons.

I had much less experiences with job interviews in comparison with some of my classmates.   Although I did not think that I would be at a disadvantage when it came to mock interviews, my mock interview was undeniably an eye opener for me. As I was the last person to be interviewed from my ‘human resource group’, I was slightly disheartened since the order of interview was based on the impressiveness of our cover letter and résumé. At the end of the interview, one of the most striking and memorable feedback I received was that I was very defensive throughout the interview. After the feedback, I did some self-reflection on my answers I gave and on my behaviour during the interview and realised at some points during the interview I was being quite blunt with my answers. As I felt I have brought my true personality to the interview, the feedback of me being defensive was an indirect reflection on my personality as well.

What made my mock interview more interesting was that I was involved in the peer teaching component on job interviews together with Noelle. I had learnt many new facts about the preparing and performance aspects of an interview, but when it came to the actual mock interview, I felt that I was not as psychologically prepared as I could have been. Coupled with my nervousness, I could have ended up appearing defensive and unprepared to the ‘interviewers’ and left an unfavourable impression on them. So all in all, the mock interview has highlighted my flaws and allowed me to learn from my mistakes.Ever since, I have made a conscious effort to be less blunt when speaking to people and to be less defensive (but not aggressive either). This made me more aware of what I was saying and what kind of impression I was leaving on other people. Although the results are not instant, I am still trying hard to improve in every way and I believe that I will be able to be more prepared and perform even better next time during a real interview.

official post #5 : Reflection on Oral Presentation

Just completed my oral presentation with my team (Team Abercrombie) yesterday. We had presented our ideals, solutions and proposals about improving the standards of zebra crossings on the NUS campus.

for a short recap on the presentation (for Lance’s and Christopher’s parts + Q&A only) here it is below:

 

I apologize for the poor video quality. The camera settings were set incorrectly by accident and thus the resulting video is very poor in quality. You can still hear us properly (although you may have to turn up the volume slightly).

As for the personal reflection on my own part of the presentation:

Strengths:

  • Voice projection and clarity in words. I tried my best to be clear in my enunciation and tried my best not to mumble.
  • Spoke with feelings and conviction. Since it is something important to us, I naturally presented our cause with passion.
  • Good improvement on eye contact (from mock OP)
  • Did not turn to face the slides on the screen for too long. Such that my body was facing the audience most of the time.
  • Made suitable references to the pictures on the slide.
Weaknesses:
  • Stumbled quite a bit while speaking at the start. Too nervous again, I guess 😦
  • Spoke too fast (that I what I felt), could have paced myself slower.
  • Too much hand gestures, could have toned it down slightly.
  • I think my fringe was quite a distraction, might have impeded my eye-contact with the audience.
That is all I have for now, thank you in advance for the comments! 🙂

official post #3 : Application letter critique

*Just a note. The formatting which I did from Microsoft Word could not be properly shown here. 😦  The spacing , eg. the address, does not come out right even after I have edited it on WordPress. So I have decided to upload the picture of it instead, for more accurate visualization! To enlarge the picture for better viewing , just press on it! 🙂 *

Context: I am applying to National University of Singapore for admission into a graduate programme hosted by School of Design and Environment. The graduate programme I am applying for is the Master Degree Programme in Environmental Management.

Do feel free to leave comments as to how I can further improve on it! Thank you in advance 🙂

official post #2 : Resolving Interpersonal Conflict

Two student councillors and I were the people in-charge of our school’s upcoming end-of-year Prom Night, which would be held after our school seniors have completed their GCE Advance Level examinations. It was only less than two months remaining before the event. However, it was also just one month away from our final year examinations.

Besides the three of us, there were also two Teacher Advisors whom we must submit any proposals related to the Prom Night to. Since it was close to both the examinations and Prom Night, both teachers and the three of us were under immense pressure and felt stressed. Despite many responsibilities already at hand, there was one pressing issue which had to be settled at soon as possible. It was the purchasing of door gifts which will be distributed to all seniors who would be attending Prom Night.

The three of us wanted a door gift which would be well-liked and would be taken home by the seniors so as to reduce possible wastage of gifts. In the previous year, the organisers chose to give an engraved metal tag to all attendees. However, the door gifts were not well received and the organisers were left with many unwanted door gifts.

The three of us then proposed to the teachers that a miniature teddy bear wearing our school crest would be a suitable door gift, as it was something which we felt was enticing enough for our seniors to bring home. One of our teachers, however, was strongly for scented soap bars as door gifts. The three of us felt that the idea of soap bars as door gifts appeared to be cliché and unsuitable, as the recipients of the door gifts would be students. Despite protests from us, the teacher insisted on scented soap bars as she felt it was aesthetically pleasing and that it was a practical item. Furthermore, the cost of producing a miniature bear was relatively higher as compared to the cost of manufacturing a bar of scented soap.

Both parties (3 student councillors versus 1 teacher) went on debating on this issue for the three days and it lead to further dissatisfaction and disagreement between both parties. This is despite both parties writing up short proposals in order to convince the other side that their choice of door gifts were more suitable. In addition, a short meeting lasting at least half an hour was held among the five of us (there was still a neutral teacher involved) to try and reach an agreement. However, the meeting was unproductive.

It was possible that the three of us were just being stubborn during that period, due to stress from teachers and examinations. However, it may be possible that the teacher was insisting on the soap bars due to her own personal preference, as the other teacher involved did not support her idea of having soap bars as a door gift.

Question: So what could have both parties done better on their part so that a common agreement could be reached in a shorter time?

*PS. This is similar to a real life scenario which happened to me a few years back. I will reveal what actually happened after that 🙂

official post #1: why effective communication skills are important for me

Being an average performing student for almost my whole life, I was never given the chance to attend ‘special classes and lessons’ which my previous school had provided only for the top students in the cohort. Basically, these special classes had provided them with proper training on how to write proper job resumes, application letters to top overseas universities, interview skills and communication skills.

We are all aware of how important such skills are to us, especially to fresh graduates, whether we are applying to a university to further our studies or applying a job at a respectable company. Despite being told countless times that these skills were important and necessary, we did not know where we could learn them properly from. Honestly, I had no idea on how a cover letter should be like until I searched it up on the Internet. From the start, I have been at a slight disadvantage as compared to these top students, as I was not offered guidance on such skills. I, too, would like to be on a comparable level as those who had the chance to learn professional communication skills before, so that at least we are on even ground while competing for jobs/university places. Only then, would I have a fighting chance out there.

One day, should I be deprived of a place in graduate school or my dream job just because my application letter was not as well written, I would feel very unjustified as well as upset with myself for not having the initiative to pick up the skills early on.

I will not just sit back and let my opportunities slip. Thankfully, it is still not too late for me to learn effective communication skills now.

:D

hohoho, 1st post on my new blog!

This time, this blog is for this module I’m currently taking in AY11/12 Semester 1. This is probably my ‘nth’ blog I have created and will be managing currently. Woah. And this is the 2nd blog created for ‘academic purpose’ so far during my time in NUS (the 1st one being created last year for another module I took. Any curious souls, here’s the link http://thisblogaddresshasbeentaken.blogspot.com/.

With so many different sites to blog on (Blogger, Tumblr, Livejournal etc), I’ve chosen WordPress this time as I’ve recently moved my blogshop from Livejournal to WordPress platform. Might as well take the chance to learn more about WordPress, since it will benefit both ES2007S and my blogshop XD

Ok, time to email Mr Brad my link and to write my post soon!

*PS, THIS IS NOT THE 250-300 WORDS POST WE’RE SUPPOSE TO MAKE! :p*