Critical Thinking – I am getting a fuller understanding of critical thinking as time passes and becoming a critical thinker myself. Throughout this semester I have been given assignments from the GPS program that force me to think about information learned, analyze it, and think critically to create my own viewpoint. In my first-year seminar we just finished writing a paper,
however, it was a bit different than papers I have written in the past. It had the usual exposition, with the goal being to explain the topic learned in a coherent manner in order to prove that I learned the information properly, yet there was another requirement. I had to critically analyze the topic to form my own viewpoint on all the information, and then I had to include my critique
within the paper. This was a very interesting assignment for me because it was much more than the typical regurgitation of a book, rather it was a display of my ability to form my own viewpoint by thinking critically. My other GPS class, Is Morality for Sale? , has also challenged me to think critically, as it is my first philosophy class and we had to make our own arguments on philosophies of our choice for two different papers throughout the course of the semester. Throughout the course of this service project our group has been thinking critically about the best options for our class when it comes to fundraising. We knew how important it was to find the most efficient and effective means of fundraising for our project to be the best it can be, so we took our job seriously. We researched different businesses, organizations, and companies we could partner with to earn or obtain money for project. We were forced to think critically about the pros and cons of partnering with each business in order to ensure the best decision.
Teamwork/Collaboration – I have made a huge leap in this skill throughout the course of the semester thanks to the GPS program. Like most, when I first came to this campus, I knew no one, and I did not have the desire to make new friends and acquaintances, so I chose to keep to myself. Fortunately, the GPS program class: COMM SCI 145, forced me to get out of my comfort zone a bit and start working with others. When put in groups for our service project
assignment, I really had no choice but to introduce myself and discuss ideas. We have formed groups multiple times now and will continue to next semester so I can make sure my teamwork skills continue to improve. I have even been applying this skill to the rest of my classes as well. I have introduced myself to at least a few people in each class, and now if we are ever struggling with any of the lecture material we can get together and work out the information or problems as a team. I have noticed that sometimes working as a team is much more effective than working alone, so I plan to continue utilizing teamwork throughout my life. To complete our task in the service project this semester our group utilized teamwork skills. When researching and creating our presentation we split the work and helped each other with ideas, writings, and searches.
Oral/Written Communications – My writing skills have improved greatly this semester due to four of my classes. All three of my GPS classes have required me to do multiple writings that either wants me to reflect on my own life or think critically about a topic. The efficiency of my
writing has improved significantly, thanks to my final paper for my Philosophy class. We had to explain a philosophy and then make a complex argument for or against that philosophy without writing more than 250 words. It was very difficult, and I had to revise often to shorten my paper and optimize my word choice to keep my argument solid in so few words. It took a very long
time, however, the exercise taught me a lot about writing effectively and efficiently. I have also learned how to write complex technical reports thanks to my chemistry lab. Every week we had to create a lab report and analyze our results at the end. At the beginning of the semester, I was not very good at it, but there is visible improvement throughout the course of the semester. My service project this spring semester helped me in oral and written skills. We provided a presentation about our progress in class and every member of my group, myself included, spoke throughout the presentation. Additionally, we all developed our written skills when putting together the information on the presentation and giving each other ideas via messages.
Professionalism/Work Ethic – My work ethic has greatly improved. Last semester I lost motivation in Calculus, as I could not understand anything. Asking the professor for help often made me feel like a burden so I gave up. This semester I began struggling with Chemistry 2 but I was desperate to save my grade. I struggled a lot getting every problem wrong but I pushed through it and slowly figured out how to do problems. Through continuous hard work I was able to succeed. My motivation to work hard has greatly increased after realizing I can succeed by pushing through the struggle.
Leadership – Researching in a group for our service project helped with my leadership skills. We each lead the group to succeed I were researching independently, yet we were all constantly keeping in tabs with each other, trading ideas, and keeping each other high on morale. We were all acting as leaders making our group very strong.