Week 0 and its Wicked Questions

The importance of Self-And-Peer Assessment while planning your MA major project.

Assessing your strengths and weaknesses is never easy. However, it is incredibly useful, in particular when you are trying to figure out your next steps in a career or life in general, and therefore I am always so grateful when someone finally forces me to do it.

In October 2020, I became a student in the Service Design master program at the London Communication College and now that 7 months passed in what feels like the blink of an eye it is time to start developing my major project. This decision is a very important decision to make, as it will define what I will be immersing myself into during the next few months, what connection I will make, but most importantly this is one of the very few opportunities in which I will be able to personally pick something I am passionate about, research it and design it.

Last week, the whole class was asked to complete a self-and-peer assessment exercise: each student wrote down her own strengths, weaknesses, interests, as well as future plans and connections that could be relevant when choosing what topic to work on our major project. Once this first step was completed, we all had to look at each other’s lists and comment on them.

What did I learn from my self-assessment?

The very first question I had to answer was “What are you good at?”, what a wicked question.

However, when I looked at the boxes I had to fill in, I noticed that along with skills I could also list the things I enjoy doing, and along with the things I find difficult I could list the things I haven’t had the chance to experience yet, but that I am interested in. This really helped me to rephrase the question in my mind and I managed analyse more in detail what I am good at, what I like doing and what I want to improve about myself.

Listing out areas of interest and future plans was also a very insightful activity, as it really helps to be more reflective. I often struggle with having too many idea, which can cause me to miss out on the details and be too superficial. Initially, I approached this activity as sort of a brainstorming (quantity over quality), to then take a step back, review and select my answers.

To conclude, I am sure that going back to look at this board in a few months will give me a lot of insights. This is definitely an exercise I should hold onto.

What did I learn from my classmates’ self assessments?

The very first thing I noticed is: we are all so critical and hard on ourselves.

In fact, I was glad I could go through my classmates profiles, there were so many things that they marked themselves as “not good at” that I completely disagree with.

It was interesting to see what topic everyone is interested in and to notice that there is an evident enthusiasm for healthcare and mental health throughout the whole class — which in hindsight is easily understandable as we have been living through a pandemic for the past year.

I think this says a lot about the hopes and dreams of young people who enrol in a Service Design Master during a global pandemic: we all strive to be proactive problem solvers.

What did I learn from my classmates’ comments?

At this point, it is important to notice that we have had the chance to meet in person only a few times, therefore there is still quite a bit of mystery amongst us.

Nevertheless, loads and loads of willingness to support and learn from each other transpires from all the comments: this exercise was a great opportunity to find out about shared interests and possibilities to work together, as well as giving each other a little encouragement.

I can’t wait to see what we all come up with in the next few months.