Personal Development

Why I am keeping track

Besides the fact that I am using this website as a portfolio, I also would like to share aspects of my personal development. Talking about the hard and soft skills I maintain and/or developed throughout my life (applicable on the UX/UI Design, but also me as a person). Using it as a self-evaluation/-reflection to improve the elements that I put into practise. But also to improve me as a person.

Most people think that it’s one of the most difficult things in the world: writing a self-evaluation or self-reflection. Well, I can’t argue with that. Already having a hard time to kick this off. On the other hand it will provide you with an overall insight of where your expertise and where your flaws are.



Evaluations will return a lot in the blogs I am writing – because evaluating is an essential part of the job. You can retrieve a lot of useful information which can increase the workflows and design processes. There is one scenario in particular that has a tremendous impact on my whole life, what I would like to evaluate: the path I took during my total education.

Now to clarify a few things before I start: I am from the Netherlands and we use kind of a weird school system. If you want to understand it without it being a vague evaluation, please visit the site Nuffic for more information and clarification.

“Time, Repetition & Quality. If you manage to combine these 3 on a daily base, you can conquer almost anything.”

-Dad (Mark)

Elementary School

In elementary school I was doing quite fine. Experienced the usual stuff that you are taught. Even though I had to deal with my ADHD, a slight variant of Dyslexia and lagged behind on the average reading level (“sigh, so negative Liam…” My apologises in advance!), I did manage to go along with all the other students. Nevertheless, the path that I was taking, was going to curve like hell…

Although that it was quite early on that I made my decision of what I was going to do in the future as a profession, I highly convinced myself that I would become teacher. In the 8th grade, everybody in elementary school is obligated to take a test called the ‘CITO’ test. The score of the CITO test decides what level of high school is achievable for a student. Before the CITO is tested, the teacher gives you and your parents an indication of what level of high school is achievable for you, from his perspective. In 99% of the cases, the teacher’s indication is equivalent to the results of the CITO. That other 1%, the results are just a slightly lower or higher score then the teacher predicts.

Eventually when had taken the CITO test, I had a confident feeling that I would score the result that was predicted by my teacher and –most important – necessary to become a teacher. And after a few weeks, the results were there.

And average elementary student score around 535 points on the CITO test. That being equal to MAVO/HAVO. Again, if it’s becoming vague, please see Nuffic for more information.

The prediction my teacher made was HAVO, so I needed to score a little above 535. I scored 520. That being the lowest score of all the classes that took the test that year. So high school for me meant Basis education (way, way lower than HAVO) and was certainly not enough at all to become a teacher.

My world collapsed… I left my teacher, my family and myself speechless. Light in the dark, the teacher did not agree with the results and had a long conversation with the high school, where I was going to study. Eventually they agreed on giving me access to a MAVO education. The tears went away and I was motivated to start the next chapter of my life.

And than came

High School

Summer break past by and high school started. I made friends, worked my ass of and got bullied along the way of the first year. It was hard and rough, but that first year, my grades were high enough to move on to the second grade of HAVO. I had shown that the result of the CITO test were nothing compared to the work I had done, and that the prediction of my teacher was right. Outcome, I was back on track on the path that I wanted to take.

Second and third grade of HAVO went just fine. I had some hard times on the subjects Dutch and geography, but I managed to pass them too. The fourth grade – where we needed to pick a study direction – is where things turned around a bit.

After I had chosen the study direction Culture and Society, I had some hard times again on the subjects geography, Dutch and the newcomer; social sciences. This year, is all blamed on myself. I lost my motivation and energy to study and I didn’t do anything about it to grab hold of it again. I failed that year. The consequence was study delay, because I had to start the year over again (luckily for me, almost 40% of the students and my friends didn’t make it as well).

Made with a lot of by Liam Tanis - © 2019