Warwick Skills Portfolio Award (WSPA): Why You Should Do It Too
One of my plans for second year was to do the Warwick Skills Portfolio Award. Where many other plans failed ever so miserably, I am very happy to share that I completed the required tasks and received my certificate!
To quickly summarise the WSPA, I’ll just leave the Warwick Careers and Skills description here: The award is achieved by participating in three eligible activities, setting yourself action points related to these, and producing a series of written, reflective entries. At the start of the award you will be allocated a coach, who will comment on your written entries and provide you with on-going support and feedback.
So, the three activities that I picked were the Sprint programme, Organising Yourself and Your Time and Confidence and Initiative.
After having finished my WSPA, this is a blog to urge you all to consider doing the same in the next academic year! So, how did I find the WSPA useful?
It helped me identify what I need to work on. there is a long list of eligible activities you can attend and whilst there is nothing stopping you from going to as many events as you like, you only pick three to do the award. This means you do have to ask yourself what elements of your personality you would like to work on. My choices make it clear what I felt I needed to work on but some of you may feel differently and this self-reflection is key to personal development. It may also be worth mentioning that I went to the emotional intelligence workshop as well however felt like most of things they suggested I was doing already therefore I felt like this is an area I don’t need to work on so much. You may feel the same and this really helps to identify both strengths and weaknesses.
You go to the workshops with a clear objective. If I can recall properly, I went to many workshops but mostly I walked in, sat down, listened, took notes and then came out like it was just any lecture except there was no exam here therefore I really didn’t need to hold onto anything that was said. With the WSPA you walk into the sessions knowing that you then need to set yourself three targets and therefore you listen critically and try to form connections between what is said and your own lifestyle as you try to think about the targets you may want to set yourself.
You’re effectively forced to pick up a positive hobby. For the sake of the WSPA I was doing or trying things otherwise I honestly had no intention of doing. However, because the three reflections for a single session are spread out over a minimum of 3 weeks or something, by the time you’re done with the activity that ‘chore’ becomes a hobby. Indeed, for me this meant deleting Facebook AND Messenger from my phone, practicing Bhangra in my room (I had given up after failing for two years straight), and somewhere in the process of failing on many levels this year, finding self-acceptance. It is a mind-set that you have to work on consistently and WSPA served as the catalyst that pushed me to consider things differently and work on myself without seeing the failure in everything ‘me’.
Learn how to set yourself SMART goals. Very easy to say that I’ll do this at some point and then you keep saying that until you…..OK I’ll leave it there but you get the point right? Time-bound is the part of setting goals that is very difficult. This is something we worked on in the Sprint programme as well and the WSPA served to help me consolidate that learning even further and take control of my personal development.
It gives you a sense of progress. I keep saying I failed on many levels this year. So, to name a few failures, I couldn’t get myself a placement, I couldn’t really do as well in exams as I would have liked. I need 55% to get onto the MChem course and MChem and a placement are literally the two reasons why I came to Warwick in the first place. It had gotten to a point where I was beginning to wonder if my purpose of coming to Warwick had been defeated because I could have stayed at home, gone to a university in London and eaten my mum’s food. But, WSPA enabled me to reflect upon my progress and my learning and helped me realise that my experience at university is so much more than just a placement and an MChem. Sometimes I think about the person I was before coming to university and who I am today and wow the difference! And indeed, the development! I still feel bad about not having been able to secure a placement and am still worried about my results and indeed passing some modules but I won’t let those concerns ever make me question the value of the fact that I study at Warwick. The department, the people, the lovely green place, everything together has made life so much better than it was. I have clearly gone off topic here but this self-acceptance and satisfaction came back when WSPA ended and I was finally able to tick it off from my list on Google Keep.
The certificate is awarded at a Celebration event which I think is today..I don’t know but I’m in London writing this from home and I collected mine early from University House. Otherwise, this is certainly another positive thing: you get to celebrate with other people who also complete the programme!