Problems arise to everyone on a daily basis. How each individual overcomes that particular obstacle can tell a lot about them. Specifically, problems that have more extreme consequences require more in-depth thought and reasoned thinking. These two aspects are essential in the process of critical thinking. A concise definition of critical thinking is “disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence” according to dictionary.com. Using these guidelines not only allows the person making a decision to be better informed about the topic at hand, but also make the best choice available to them.
A perfect example of where I have had to use critical thinking in the past was when I was deciding on which college I was going to attend after high school, or even if I was going to pursue a secondary education degree at all. Graduating from a small school and growing up in a rural area, I was surrounded by people who worked hard throughout the week, budgeted their money well, and in return lived satisfying life styles. My friends and I saw this and immediately desired successful life styles similar to those and were willing to do whatever it took to get there, even if it meant hard manual labor on a daily basis. Growing up, I’ve worked for my family’s logging business and have come to enjoy the hard work in the woods and getting a paycheck always made every other Friday that much better.
However, many of my family members pushed me to pursue a college degree, saying I was too smart to not go and shouldn’t let my abilities go to waste. So I began searching colleges within Wisconsin ( I didn’t want to travel too far away ) and started researching things like tuition rates, campus atmospheres, and reviews written by alumni of each school. After a few days, I was able to grasp a clear image of what the college life would be like at various locations. I remained rational and wasn’t letting myself rule out or favor specific colleges over others by biased factors like tuition rates and location seeing as how obtaining my degree was of utmost importance. And I finally was able to limit myself down to five schools, all located within the states borders.
My next step was to begin filling out applications to various universities and complete the whole scholarship dilemma every high school student dreads initially until they find out how important each one is. The schools I was choosing between were UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point, UW-La Crosse, UW- Milwaukee, and Milwaukee School of Engineering. After sending applications I continued to research various topics and read reviews of each school and thought about what I wanted to do in life and was able to drop the engineering school from my list before even receiving a letter back. Eventually I had my choices limited down between UW-Oshkosh and UW-Stevens Point mostly based on the degrees they offer, their location and affordable tuition rates. Ultimately, after utilizing the information I researched and talking first hand with friends that attended Stevens Point, I came to my final choice of becoming a Pointer.
While weighing the pros and cons of each college throughout my research process, I was able to use clear and rational thinking, free of any bias, and continued to keep an open mind about where I could end up after high school. Also, obtaining information from reviews and friends, the evidence was clear that Stevens Point would be an ideal fit for myself. The next decision I faced was what degree would be most fitting for myself as well. While I do enjoy the business world and the challenges it entails, my story has yet to be written on how my critical thinking has played out. I do, however, look forward to living up to the expectations my family has for me and overcoming any obstacles and nay-sayers in the future.
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