As the weeks keep ticking down slowly before I finish three years at Birmingham City University of doing a Media degree in May, its given me some reflection right now to think about learning curves.
Trying to juggle a 13,000 word dissertation, a 300 hour final year project, updating my online portfolio, applying for jobs and learning Tableau may sound daunting, but I have managed to find a way of making this manageable through a lot of experiences I have learned throughout my entire life.
Sometimes it’s best to step back and reflect
This is something I’ve come to terms with for quite some time as I like to keep myself busy for long periods of time. One of the great bits of advice I have had from my lecturers is the importance of stepping back and realising if the things I have currently going on are benefiting me in the long run.
I can say from experience doing too much can be a bad thing, so by focusing on what makes me happy and reflecting on those past experiences can help me become a much better person and friend. Everyone makes mistakes, but its how you own up and reflect on your mistakes that determines how you grow out of those tough situations.
Particularly with Tableau, I know that if I’m part of that community, I need to ensure that I don’t come across as too intense or needy on Twitter otherwise I will not be able to get anywhere with the business intelligence/data analysis sector.
For nearly three months of learning, I still have a lot of work to do to ensure I find that happy medium of helping others in the Tableau community, as well as improving my own skills to share to others starting out in data visualisation. It’s still a work in progress, but a learning curve I’m enjoying.
Keep it simple
This is something I always tell myself to do and it’s pretty much what I say to myself every day I approach a task or a goal and that is to “Keep it simple”.
In the past, I used to overthink things or let myself get too overwhelmed with other situations going on in my life. Now, if I want to achieve something, I have to keep the goal simple enough to understand so that I do not overthink the situation I’m currently in.
It’s currently working for me at the minute this approach, but I still think there’s a lot I can improve on. Simplicity is not easy, but once you understand its concept, simplicity will become second nature to me.
Slow down, life is not a fast bullet train
Another thing I have learned to work on is slowing myself down when life comes to me like a fast train approaching the railway tracks. In life, our species can live for a certain amount of time, so its about making that time worthwhile and not cramming everything in all at once.
For the past couple of weeks, I have set myself the goal of doing as much work as I need to without overdoing it. In the past, I would have a habit of trying to get everything done as soon as possible, but it would put me under severe stress that I would need to take a day off immediately to calm down.
Now, I can work smarter without going too quickly in my approach to the work I produce. Yes, it still needs more refinement in terms of how I can work more smart, but I’m not going around trying to do everything at once like a 200 mph Ferrari.
Life is all about learning
Finally, the main thing is life is all about learning and developing to become a better person than you once were. No-one in life is 100% perfect and I have found that its great to embrace your strengths and work on your weaknesses without stressing out too much.
There are situations that I can find myself in the wrong, but if you can learn from those wrongs and put them right without blaming others, then it’ll hold you in good stead later on in life when I find employment in the media. Granted, it’s going to be difficult finding a journalism/data analysis job, but I take every application and interview as a learning curve in the hope that I can gain more out of those experiences for future uses.
The final bit of advice I can give to everyone is never ever give up and never take those learning curves for granted. I have learned so much in terms of my personal development as a media professional and person, but there are so many areas I could improve on from a friendship level, as well as a student. These next five-to-six weeks’ are coming fast, but I must keep myself calm and learn each day to maximise my last remaining weeks at BCU.