One problem I have had in the recent past has been concerned with making the decision on where to pursue my higher education. Getting an understanding of the problem involved not just realizing that I wanted to attend college, but also understanding how my grades and experiences may aid me in (or barring me from) attending certain of the better colleges. On one level, the problem could be identified inside myself, as I was happy to have reached my senior year of high school and was not particularly eager to embark on another four years of studies.
However, as I did not want to enter the working world with only a high school diploma, the problem became an inner struggle whose outcome depended on an analysis of the pros and cons of going to college (Dombroski, 2000). The problem involved the realization that my future depended on the choice I would make concerning college. Information gathering became a significant part of what aided my understanding of the problem. On one level, information gathering was a simple as keeping my eyes and ears open, as teachers and parents were intent on letting me realize how crucial the decision to go to college was.
Other forms of information gathering involved viewing brochures, visiting campuses and browsing the websites of universities that offered studies in the disciplines I was interested in. It also involved the understanding of how my monetary status would also affect my ability to attend colleges, even if I could easily get into them. Another important aspect of the information gathering, therefore, involved research into scholarship opportunities, student loans, and a gauging of the types of jobs into which I could conceivably enter upon achieving a degree in my various preferred areas.
Upon reading and reviewing all the areas mentioned above, the solution became clear. College was a necessity, and with careful planning it was a viable choice (Dombroski, 2000). As the previous aspects of my critical thinking about college occurred in the summer before my senior year in high school, I found that there were still a few things I could do to alleviate some of the burdens of getting into college. I was able to implement a more structured study plan, as I realized that improved grades would not only help me get more acceptances into my preferred colleges, but they would also give me a better chance of getting scholarships.
Another aspect of the solution involved taking classes that would count as some of the prerequisites of the college classes I hoped to take. I was also able to enroll myself in a few more extra curricular activities, in order to appear more attractive to admissions committees at the universities that interested me. Being in college now has given me the opportunity to evaluate how effective my senior-year plan was. Upon considering it, I reflect that the plan was a rather effective one.
I was able to get into a good college that offers the area of study in which I am interested. Because I planned in advance to take classes that would count as prerequisites to my intended major courses, I was also able to enroll in classes that were sufficiently advanced in order to allow me to graduate on time. While I was not able to garner full scholarships from the college to support my studies, my grades did help me to get some financial assistance that has reduced the amount of money I have had to borrow for school.
Therefore, while that aspect of the plan did not work one hundred percent, the decision to improve my grades is no doubt still one that granted me monetary returns. Finally, my decision to enroll in a variety of extra-curricular activities also appears, in retrospect, to have been a good decision. As I was careful not to over-enroll in these activities, my involvement in them was sufficiently impressive without betraying any evidence of over-commitment. Therefore, I believe that decision was also one that has enabled me to be on this path to success.
Furthermore, my involvement in such activities, along with my determination to do well academically in my final year of high school, taught me some valuable time management skills that have been very useful during my time in college (Dodd & Sundheim, 2005). Creativity is most widely utilized in balancing my work, activities and social life with the large course-work load I have each semester. Even though I possess very good organizational skills, I do consider myself as having tolerance for messiness and disorder to some degree.
The type of messiness to which I refer is allowing some amount of non-uniformity in my time table. Therefore, while a great deal of my day is scheduled and planned out (such as classes, work time, and some study time) a lot of my day is still left uncommitted. Therefore, I make decisions on what to do at those times on the spur of the moment rather than ahead of time. On a few occasions this has left me with the dilemma of having to choose between sleep and studying for a test.
The fact that I have chosen to forego sleep demonstrates my willingness to take risks in the area of sleep deprivation and not with my grades (Dodd & Sundheim, 2005). Mental blocks are mainly an issue for me where it comes to difficult analytical (such as mathematical) task and classes. I have not had very much luck in performing well in such classes—however, taking some such classes has been necessary in the pursuit of my degree. In order to avoid these mental blocks I try to research methods of visualizing the abstract, analytical ideas that are put forth in such tasks.
I use the internet and other resources to find where people have succeeded in making such abstracts concrete. This allows me to relax a bit more when such topics are broached. My method of brainstorming happens to occur in close relation to my attempts to be receptive to my senses. When faced with the problem named above of balancing studying/homework with social life, not only to I pay attention to my desires to go out and socialize, but also to the nagging sense of having a pile of work that needs attention.
Therefore, I pay attention not only to my sense of adventure and desire for enjoyment, but also my common sense that tells me how much work I can conceivably handle in the amount of time I have allotted (Dodd & Sundheim, 2005). References Dodd, P. & D. Sundheim. The 25 best time management tools and techniques. Peak Performance Press. Dombroski, T. W. (2000). Creative problem solving: the door to individual success and change. Lincoln: iUniverse.
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