My final entry in this blog is there to allow me to reflect on the module as a whole and assess how useful it has been when I look forward to what my plans are after graduation.
For the last year, I have been unsure on what path I want to take after graduation. Whilst this is unfortunately still the case, I feel that this module has helped me realise that there a large array of career options that I had not even considered to be options for me.
I found that the seminars covered a wide variety of topics and were all interesting in their own way. I found the seminars that covered ecology and conservation to be the most interesting and useful for me. Guy Woodward’s talk on the impacts of pollution on freshwater ecosystems as I find the subject of how ecosystems have changed due to the industrialisation of the planet and how they may change in the future if the global population continues to pollute systems to be fascinating. I learnt about the current impacts of pollution and what may happen in the future if nothing is done.
I found the other seminars to be equally informative and useful in discovering new knowledge that I otherwise would not have had learnt about. For example, in Dr. Kat Herbor’s talk I learnt that thermal imaging cameras are being used to help keep chickens at a healthy level of stress. I had never thought that technology could have been used in this way, however this talk made me really think about how other technology could be used in animal welfare and other disciplines.
Dr. Shawn Russell’s talk on the work that he has done in the Cape Horn was similarly fascinating as I had never thought that ecotourism could be used to promote so many other things. This talk made me more interested in the benefits that ecotourism can have and the opportunities for more science.
Russell Hill’s seminar on the landscape of fear was incredibly informative about the changing behaviour of animals depending on the habitat they live in. I was also enjoyed learning about the impacts that humans can have on animals without realising it, and I found myself questioning what can be done to avoid this in the future.
Dr Jackie Abell’s talk on protecting African lions was not only informative when talking about how conservation works in the wild, it also taught me that it is vital that the scientists work together with both the people that they are trying to help and other organisations, as projects like this one are not successful if done independently.
Having attended these seminars and thought about my future career, whilst I am still somewhat unsure about what I want to do, it has allowed me to do some research in regards to research science jobs.
The workshops provided me with a great opportunity to learn some new skills, such as what not to say during a job interview, as well as enable me to polish some others, such as my CV writing skills.
The Careers Cafe not only gave great advice when it came to finding employment, it also gave excellent advice about the different paths you can take and that not everyone finds their ideal job straight away, especially for someone like me who hasn’t really discovered what they want to do yet. It was reassuring to learn that and I found the advice that we were given to be incredibly helpful.
The Assessment Centre was not only an excellent chance to test my interview skills, but it was also a chance to compare myself to my fellow students. I was grateful for this opportunity as this was the first time I had spoken about my degree in an interview setting and I feel that the experience has shown me just how much university has allowed me to gain new skills.
The CV and cover letter writing workshop was incredibly useful in learning what should be put into a CV and cover letter. I had previously written both, but only to gain my job that I work at seasonally and never for a relevant job. This workshop and assignment not only allowed me to improve these skills, but also made me more confident in handing a CV to an employer.
The Dragons’ Den workshop allowed me to challenge myself to do something that I had no experience in. Working in a group added another challenge as we all had to work together to ensure that the project was successful. I found this to be incredibly helpful as it mimics what may happen when working as a group in the workplace. Along with the writing a business plan assignment, it also allowed me to work outside my comfort zone and, whilst I have no desire to own a business, it did make me appreciate the challenges it poses.
Overall, I found the workshops to be incredibly useful in helping me gain new skills that I require for my next step after graduation. The skills I have gained and improved upon will hopefully allow me to follow the path I choose to take. As a suspected, presenting was clearly my weakest aspect and I now know that I can improve it by practising.
My Next Step
This module has been better than I ever thought possible. Not only has it taught me new skills that I did not possess, it has also allowed me to improve on the ones that I already had.
The strengths of this module for me have been the opportunities to challenge myself in the interview conditions and writing the CV and cover letter. Whilst I did have some previous experience, it was helpful to have the opportunity to practise these skills before leaving university.
Another strength was the sheer variety in the workshops and seminars that were put on. Not only did they allow me to widen my horizons, they also made me think about career paths that I had never considered. A weakness of this module was that I was potentially missing out on learning about another area of Ecology, but it can be argued that this module is just as important as it teaches you valuable life skills
Whatever my future career may be, thanks to this module, I would reccomend this module to anyone, as I am confident that I now possess the skills required to achieve my goals and ensure that I have a successful career.