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Personal development

Personal development planning is a structured process which enables students to gauge their personal growth in a learning institution. The plan therefore enables the student to effectively develop knowledge and skills which are necessary throughout their academic life. Among the basic knowledge and skills which can be acquired includes planning and organization proficiency, communication skills, team work and interpersonal skills. This paper seeks to review my personal development plan throughout the semester.

Throughout this semester my personal skills have consistently improved, a progress which is purely contributed by my efforts to acquire new skills and knowledge. It is evident that my learning behavior, communication skills and my ability to team work with other students have been poor and thus the need for a change. I have personally established an action plan which seeks to upgrade and transform my lifestyle into a better one in future. My personal desires and aspirations to attain good grade in classes has continued to be the driving force towards positive change. The action plan also aims at ensuring the full utilization of the available resources in attaining the required results. For instance I have learned to utilize my free hours constructively by undertaking my personal studies in the library, something that I neglected earlier before. Beside personal improvements, the personal development plan enables me to effectively participate in team building and field research practices. Group discussions have enabled me to not only share knowledge and skills with my team members but also to effectively communicate my ideas to the group. This has also enabled me to acknowledge that personal development is a gradual undertaking which takes time and requires personal commitment and discipline to attain.

It is evident that I have made tremendous improvement in the planning and organization management. This is because the plan has enabled me to efficiently utilize my free time by regularly visiting the library as it offers favorable environment for knowledge assimilation. I have also adopted technique which requires me to consistently write down some short notes as I read. This technique seems to be more efficient as they assist me to frequently remind myself of issues read more quickly. Such skills also empower me to organize my work chronologically. I have prepared a timetable to assist me utilize the available time resource efficiently. The timetable also guides me on what to do at any given time. But because the time schedule can be meaningless especially when one lacks discipline, I have trained myself to follow it accordingly.

I have significantly improved my skills in team work and networking activities. This has mainly been necessitated by regularly participation in group work discussions and research activities. Through the networks I have been able to acquire and also transfer knowledge and ideas to the team members. The integration has also helped me to develop interpersonal skills which I lacked in the past. I have learned to appreciate and acknowledge the ideas and suggestions of other people without questioning. Additionally, the skills have assisted me to understand the need of consensus building which solidifies the ideas of different people into a unified conclusion or decision (Smale & Fowlie, 2009, p. 32).

Although I have not fully attained better communication skills, am still striving to ensure that before the end of the semester I will have fully improved on it. It has been a challenge for me to air out my views and ideas in front of people and especially in a formal gathering. The challenge can be attributed to the way I have been socialized since childhood. My key character has been that of listening to others and not talking, mostly in the many formal social gatherings that I have had a chance to attend. But so far so good, there is a positive progress since I can efficiently air my views and opinion in front of my team members without any difficulty. Although during the initial stages anxiety used to overwhelm me, I have constantly learned not to fear and to be confident. I intend to continue developing my communication skills in future by offering to present group work in class. This will enable me to develop the required courage in a learning institution. The skills will also enable me to effectively prepare for the life beyond college which is also very critical to me (King, Haydon & Moorcroft, 2000, p. 2).

Many theories have been used to explain the development planning. Among the notable theories used is the Erickson’s psychosocial development theory. This theory argues that development begins immediately after birth and that it ends when the person dies. Development is therefore a long journey which is only initiated by a single move. People develop and acquire skills gradually through learning and experiences. According to the Erickson’s theory people will generally undergo eight development stages. During the initial stage trust and mistrust dominate the individual world. The infant will only tend to trust the mother and no one else (Parrish, 2009, p. 66). In the second stage shame and autonomy dominate the individuals. Personal willpower and self-drive also propels individual actions in this stage. The third stage mainly focuses on initiative and sense of direction. Individuals also suffer from guilt at this stage. The fourth stage is coupled with competency and industriousness. During this stage individual will tend to acquire more knowledge from the teachers, fellow colleagues and even friends.  The fifth stage focus much on personal identity, individuals are also likely to be more confused at this stage. The fourth and the fifth stage mainly affects the students since fear of being regarded as inferior can totally disorient a student and deny him or her chance to express his or her personal views and ideas. The sixth stage mainly dwells on love and affiliations while the seven stages are more inclined towards care and productivity. An individual can also suffer stagnation at this stage, but the eighth stage is coupled with wisdom and repudiation.  Erickson’s theory therefore seeks to justify personal development planning process, by appreciating that personal life keeps on changing with time (Shaffer, 2008, p. 41).

This reminds me of the experience I acquired from the group work project I did first year. As a group we were required to research on the impact of peer influence in the learning institutions. The group comprised of five members of which three were male and two were female students. Since this was our first experience it really proved hard for us understand each other. As members we used to retain our views instead of sharing amongst us. It actually took us time to develop a sense of acceptance amongst ourselves. But we all came to understand that there is nothing as easy as working as a group. This is because information and skills sharing is allowed, and also the project tasks can be subdivided between members. Our group leader had excellent leadership trait which enabled him to coordinate and chair our meetings efficiently (Fisher, 2000, p. 159). I was appointed as the group secretary and thus my work was to compile all the relevant information discussed in our meetings. The position assisted me to acquire writing skills which I didn’t possess earlier. I also learned to plan and organize my work properly. It took us four weeks to complete our project and after presenting it in class our group was ranked in the first position.

The Tuck man’s team development theory acknowledges that groups undergo four major stages before they attain synergy level. It also emphasize that the quality of the group work projects is mainly determined by the team member’s personality and the task presented before them. The theory also acknowledges that members within the group must work in unison for them to realize the set objectives. According to the theory the task must undergo the forming, storming, norming and performing stages before completion. It is also not possible for the group to jump either of the stages; the sequence of the stages must therefore be followed to the later. Since the report obtained from the group work has to go through the four steps, the quality is usually high compared to the individual work (Cullingworth, 2004, p. 289).

As a student I purpose to attain the following objectives within the next six months. My first objective is to acquire leadership skills which will enable me stand out from the crowd and to transform the world positively through my influence. I also intend to acquire the decision making skills since it’s a necessary tool in leadership. And finally I purpose to gain delegating skills which will works simultaneously with the leadership and decision making skills.

The SMART action plan which I intend to use in order to realize the above objectives is as below. The smart action plan enables a person to choose specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely objectives. The plan therefore guides and monitors personal development and planning process. It enables an individual forge towards realizing the set goals and objectives (Sanchez, 2007, p. 1).

Objectives

What I want to achieve within the next six months

Success criteria

How I will measure and recognize success

Actions

The methods I will use to achieve the stated objective

Implementation

How I will actualize my plan

Leadership skills
  • Being active to the institution issues
  • Ability to inform and unite diverse people
  • Emphasize on quality education
  1. Discuss with the institution leaders on the student issues
  2. Share information and ideas with the students at large
Engage in student leadership
Decision making skills
  • Ensure consensus building
  • Prioritize on the students needs
  1. Hold meetings for all
Lead by actions
Delegating skills
  • Recognize other student leaders
  1. Share leadership duties
Encourage personal growth and development within the institution

The above table above lists down the objectives which I will have to attain within the next six months this provides me with measurable achievements and a good structure to work to wards meeting it. I will mainly strive to attain leadership skills, Decision making skills and delegating skills. These skills will be handy and applicable for the durations which I will be in the learning institution and after graduation. Leadership skills will enable me to be influential hence being able to influence my fellow class mate and trainers to agree with my arguments and provide guidance on what needs to be done. As a leader I will be much exposed and interactive with almost all stakeholders in the institution in different levels of decision making therefore decision making skills will be handy. Decision making skills will make me have good negotiations skills to ensure that during a discussion I will optimize the opportunities being evaluated. As a leader I will be having many duties which must be done with short periods therefore I will be required to delegate most of them to be effective. In delegation I will require delegation skills to ensure that I am able to delegate duties to the appropriate fellow students or leaders without losing control on what is required to be done.