A new way to improve yourself

workshop in progressRecently, I attended two workshops held by the Student Success Office. It was a new experience for me, since I have never attended any workshops before, and I know many international students rarely sign up for workshops just like me. 

The first workshop I attended was a Study Skills workshop on study strategies for STEM students. The facilitator was nice and approachable, and the whole workshop went at a suitable pace and contained a lot of useful information.

For me, this workshop was surprising, because I did not really think different study strategies would have an effect on my grades and I had never been exposed to different study strategies. The facilitator led students in a discussion on distinguishing different types of learning styles, the curve of forgetting, and Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning. She also led us through some short activities. One method that stood out in particular was Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning. There are six stages of Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning, and I found that I only achieved the first three stages on my own. “Thinking like a professor when studying for an exam” made me feel the way I used to study for the exams was not sufficient enough.

From my experience, I know that I spend a lot of time trying to memorize content when I study, but Bloom’s Taxonomy showed me that many tests focus on evaluating a student’s critical thinking ability. I think sometimes international students focus so much on the remembering stage and don't spend enough review time on comprehension. Workshops like these can help us understand a different perspective and learn tips and tricks to improve our efficiency.

The first workshop enhanced my study skills, and the second workshop I signed up for was as helpful as the first one - it gave me more confidence in my leadership skills.

The second workshop was a Student Leadership Program (SLP) workshop on conflict resolution. Being the kind of person that always avoids or compromises with conflicts, I never thought attending a two hour workshop on leadership skills could be useful to me. I was very mistaken though, and there were many more students at this workshop than I had expected.The workshop was composed of a self-assessment, group discussions, and exploring a real life conflict scenario.

I enjoyed the process of participating in the activities during the leadership workshop, and I also gained knowledge and strategies on conflict management. From the workshop, I learned that as a person who always compromises and accommodates with conflicts, I should try to collaborate with peers or coworkers to achieve our goals and strengthen relationships. I understand why the SLP is so popular among students and this experience inspired me to sign up for another SLP workshop in the future.

I would recommend this workshop to international students because it is a good starting place to learn about a necessary and relevant skill in every aspect of student life. I think too often we don’t know how to navigate a conflict situation, and tend to end up choosing the default option—students doing a workshopavoidance or compromise. The conflict resolution workshop can help students understand the nature of a conflict and gain new tools to effectively deal with conflicts in a more mature and positive manner. A two hour workshop will not make us experts in peace and conflict, but it is nonetheless a smart investment of our time.

By attending these two different workshops, I think I found a new way to improve myself. I also learned that trying something new and fresh was not only harmless but also beneficial.

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