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Critical Thinking

By darlene9764 Feb 25, 2014 1207 Words
Critical Thinking Essay

In this student success class I have learned four very important skills that will help me not only in my years of college, but also throughout the rest of my life. One of the most important things I learned was time management. Another important skill that I learned was better reading skills. Right next to organization skills and more importantly for me is critical thinking. All of these skills have taught me to study better and in turn get better grades. These are important for a college student to know, and by using them I will be a better student.

For me, one of the most important things I learned in Student Success class was how to manage my time effectively. I am a procrastinator. Then at the last minute, I rush around and try to get everything done. My mother was always nagging me when I was in high school. She would say that I should be doing my homework, but I would ignore her and then not do as good a job as I should have done on my assignments. When I learned in Student Success that by scheduling everything on a calendar or in a planner there is a way to fit all of the many activities I am involved in into my life, I was thrilled. Of course, I have to take the initiative to follow my schedule. Now I spend about 15 minutes every Sunday evening going over my schedule to see what is coming up in the week ahead. This way I remember when my assignments are due, and when I will have time to study. I also immediately write all of my plans down on my calendar so I do not forget anything. Another step I took was to say to my friends’ things like, "Okay. We can go for coffee for an hour, but then I have to go home and study." Luckily, I have supportive friends who, so far, have helped me to stick to my schedule. Now I feel a lot less stress and more organized. I can already see an improvement in my schoolwork too. I will have to be diligent though so that my life does not fall back into the chaos that comes with not having a plan.
Before I took this class I thought studying meant that you re-read the assignment and looked over your notes. Now I know that those may be helpful at least to some extent, but there are many other ways to study too. Hopefully, some of the new skills I have learned will help me to get a better grade. Some of the study skills I have learned include finding a study partner, which I have done. She is also part of a larger study group, which she invited me to attend once. I thought it was somewhat helpful, but they were studying for different classes than I had. They were really nice and tried to help me though. Having all the different perspectives helped me to understand the essay I was writing in one of my classes better. I also learned to organize my notes better and to take care of all of my obligations before I start studying so I can focus on the schoolwork instead of the laundry. Finally, I have tried some of the clever ways to improve my memory like mnemonics and rapping. I am not sure that they worked, but I will give them another try anyway.

The next skill that I learned in Student Success is how to read more efficiently. I thought I had to read every word of every assignment that I was ever given, but since I took this class I understand the beauty of being able to skim. Now I read the chapter and section headings and the first two or three sentences of every paragraph. If it grabs my interest, then I keep reading but if it does not, or if it does not seem important to what I am working on, I skip it. At first it made me feel a little guilty, but after a while I realized I understood the material just as well as when I read the entire assignment word for word, and that I was spending a lot less time getting the reading done. That means a lot less stress and more time in my day for other things.

Finally, Student Success also taught me how to use better critical thinking skills. Many times in the past I have lost money or been disappointed because I did not think through my options and weigh them carefully enough. Once I remember I bought a kitchen appliance for my mother. I do not remember the name of it, but it was supposed to chop and slice and dice. It looked pretty cool and the Infomercial that I saw advertising it convinced me. I called up the company and sent them a money order because this was when I was in high school. It took a long time for it to come, and when it finally arrived I was so disappointed. It was a lot smaller than it had looked on television and it seemed pretty cheap even though I had paid $30 of my hard earned allowances for it. Knowing how to analyze the argument someone is making will help me to never make that kind of stupid mistake again. It has already helped me to be a better judge of the reliability of others' claims. It was not easy to understand exactly how to apply the things I learned about critical thinking to situations outside of class. I was not sure if I would ever see how critical thinking applied to real life, but a few days ago I was at the supermarket trying to decide which yogurt to buy and I realized I was thinking critically! I read each of the ingredients lists, compared the price and the flavors. I decided to buy the best one based on those characteristics. I was very proud of myself, even though I know that choosing yogurt is minor compared to the critical thinking I should do about important subjects that affect my life and the lives of many others. Still, I decided if I could do it automatically while choosing yogurt without consciously initiating it, then I could apply it to the more important issues too.

All of these skills are important. Being able to manage my time will provide me with the organization that helps me to have more time to study. Knowing good study skills will help me to be more efficient when I study, and not feeling the compulsion to read every word of every assignment, again, gives me more time to study. These skills seem to enhance each other and be enhanced by each other. Being able to think critically helps me to recognize the importance of being able to perform those skills (and many others) well instead of being some fly-by-night person who just flits around trying to keep up with all of her obligations. Above all, acquiring these skills has made me envision myself as a successful college student and that has given me great confidence.

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