Looking back at my academic journey and my process of documenting that journey, I am filled with a real sense of pride. Firstly, because I am immensely proud that I achieved my goal of creating a daily entry (well almost!) and secondly, because I actually made it through the semester relatively unscathed!
My first post, back on June 22nd 2015, began (Winstanley, L. 2015)
“Chapter 2: A Critical Diary.
I don’t consider myself to be a writer
per se and perhaps I never will.”
This task has forced me to challenge this negative perception of myself and by setting the formidable challenge to complete a daily entry spending, at least, half and hour each day writing, I have quashed the misconceptions of my own inabilities and even my false ideals of what a writer should be. I am a writer, and one who is able to critically evaluate content, reflect and respond. Do I think I’ll ever write a novel? Probably not. But it was never my intention to create a work of fiction, merely to document a journey and, to that purpose, I believe this diary succeeds.
Writing has now become a habitual practice and my 30 minutes of reflection time has afforded me the space to think, process, reflect and refine. In one particular diary entry, Day 61, I discussed the concept of, ‘Littleing it to Death’. I consider this diary to be an extension of that creative process, using reflection as a source of littleing and thus becoming part of a daily routine.
In retrospect, a daily entry was quite an ambitious task, especially for someone like me, who has never been able to actively commit to a regular written journal of any kind! Some days I found writing to be a chore, some days a late night scramble for time and other days a wonderful opportunity for creative expression. Hence, If I were to approach this task again I may not be so keen to commit to a strict daily entry also considering that for, the most part, of this task I was on vacation from work having more free time than I would under normal circumstances. I think a weekly post would be a far more appropriate target and this could even consist of a series of smaller daily reflections.
The main benefit of completing a daily entry is that I have amassed a wealth of information on my thought processes, creative frameworks, how I am able to deal with setbacks and conversely how I deal with successes and triumphs. By reviewing these processes over a period of time I have been able to critically evaluate what works for me from both an academic and personal development perspective.
The diary paints a picture of my progress through the semester and I can see real improvement in my confidence and critiquing abilities. Having documented this journey I believe the process itself encourages such development and I am beginning to find my own voice.
Writing down my thoughts has facilitated a deeper form of learning. It has encouraged me to make decisions on how to conduct my research in a far more timely manner; whereas, previously I might have procrastinated and remained indecisive for longer. By formulating my ideas into structured diary entries I have been able to ensure transparency in my thought processes and this has, in turn, fostered a greater understanding of my working methodologies; resulting a in a more productive and selective decision making process.
At the beginning of this task I often wrote my diary entries long hand, with pen and paper, as this method, although perhaps more time consuming initially, allowed my thoughts to flow more freely and this was actually devised as a time saving device. Slowly I began to change this by directly typing my entries to the blog, this was mainly due to necessity,in order to more effectively manage my time. Initially my ideas seemed to be stifled and my words less fluid but gradually I was able to start, ‘thinking’ on screen. This may seem like a small development but for me, this was a huge differentiation in my working methodology and most certainly aided in saving time. I think my reluctance to move away from writing my thoughts on paper stems from my creative process. I ‘create’ by hand and ‘organise’ on screen and I have probably subconsciously transferred this line of thinking to the writing process. It’s only now that I reflect, that I realise I am capable of doing both.
As I began this final reflection I took the opportunity
to look back through the ups and down, trials and tribulations and realised just how far I have come. I have gained a lot of confidence both personally and academically and whilst I fully acknowledge that I still have a very long way to go in many areas I can see real improvement in my willingness to tackle a challenge head on and anticipate success.
I am very keen to continue documenting my Postgraduate journey, as I progress through my studies. I believe this has been a key component to my development as a graphic artist over the past few semesters and I now see reflection as a vital aspect of my practice. As I stated at the beginning of this entry the ability to review my process and revisit the challenges I have faced really instils in me with a sense of pride and It is my hope that in documenting this process I have able to share my journey in a manner that effectively communicates my intellectual growth, my ability to work with others in an effectual manner and the autonomous way in which I have managed my learning this semester.