Reflective Essay from Critical Thinking Class

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In one of our classes, we talked about critical thinking. How might you apply this mode of thinking to your learning and assessment in the future?

Critical thinking is a common skill and is a rational way of interpreting situations. However, we are often affected by emotion, general knowledge, and surrounding factors. These factors make up different views of people, but the difference shouldn’t be classified as a wrong point of view. Hence, critical thinking creates a standard as the clear and fair method to aid a conclusion with the given evidence. A good example would be a court case where the jury is required to use critical thinking to decide their views based on the given evidence. We tend to forget the importance of using critical thinking to analyze. Therefore, I find it very useful when this judgment method has been brought up. Every decision made in our daily life consists of judgments and reflects our personality. Some can be a risk-taker while others can be conservative or self-centered, this is where critical thinking can be adopted to reduce the variance of the conclusion made.

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Related to my course, the inclusion of financial or non-financial transactions in the financial statement often requires judgment from accountants and/or auditors. These judgments are made based on available evidence and are made with the professionalism of these judges, usually using critical thinking skills. I find it important to use critical thinking as no exogenous evidence should be placed into the decision-making process. This is because exogenous evidence is not presented and may consist certain level of uncertainty. There are usually some conflicts between previous knowledge and new knowledge which can be very frustrating. However, by using critical thinking and looking for more significant data, similarities are often realized, and the trend can be accurately visualized. This method is very effective during the learning process or in working conditions as judgment is always required when it comes to decision-making or self-reflections.

However, I disagree that the critical thinking method is the most accurate way at all times. The world consists of risks and rewards where evidence may be insufficient for a logical conclusion but the risk-to-reward ratio can provide a better answer. In an academic explanation, decision-making may be presented by the game theory (also known as the prisoner's dilemma), there is risk associated with the data available as there is uncertainty about the strategy of the opponent. With critical thinking, the solution to such game theory will be the Nash equilibrium but the maximum joint profit might not be achieved and note that not all moves are rational. In conclusion, the use of critical thinking to improve the quality of a conclusion is always relevant. In terms of learnings and assessments, it is always useful to use critical thinking to aid in analyzing situations and finding directions, hence this will be a major skill to develop throughout my university life and in the future. Although not always the best method, this method will still be my main consideration ahead of other choices.

What have you learned about the process of doing research? Be as general or specific as you want in your response.

The term research isn’t fresh, but the process of researching was brand new. Although there were expectations toward researching before my university life, it was different to start and get hands-on. First, there were no relevant research skills taught before. It is easy to think to “Google” the research title and continue with the research. However, the fact is that many data found through Google Search are usually not as convincing. Fortunately, the first official research required assignment comes after the research session of the study skills course. Thereafter, I learned the existence of Google Scholar, the UoM library search engine, and the UoM Database to research information. Nevertheless, I also learned to use relevant search criteria to refine data due to the large database.

Due to inexperience, the first research was indeed frustrating without accurate planning. There are many data and the process to filter the relevant data is very strenuous. This is because the data tend to consist of a wide range of information and the data required often comes from some part of the data only. In addition, the expectations and reality of the results found are in many cases different. Unsurprisingly, it is often that several attempts are required to reach a satisfying result. Making notes during the research process is very helpful as it is easy to forget the scope and outline of the research when data flows inward. The process requires frequent changes to the plan set due to new knowledge and good analytical skills to accurately realize key research directions. Plans with a mind map tree appear to work out best because changes can be easily made to the branches.

However, I found researching very interesting as new knowledge is adopted throughout the process of researching. This applies especially to research topics that suit my personal interest. Although some data does not directly relate to the research topic, it is also engaging to gain general knowledge that may be useful in the future. Sometimes it is very convincing that, even though unrelated, there is a need to continue searching for more information on that issue. Exposing to large data also means realizing different points of view that we may or may not have considered before. This enhances our degree of openness that will be useful in the future and we could utilise critical thinking to a better extent. In addition, there is always greed to include most of the information hence it is also challenging to critically think of the most relevant and most appropriate data to include with regard to the limiting factors. To conclude, researching is fun but strenuous. I am looking forward to finding a research flow that suits me best and could make researching more effective and useful.

What do you think you need to improve from here? Why, and how?

Improvement is to jump out of your comfort zone and achieve life accomplishments. After self-evaluating, there are a few objectives that I would like to achieve in the near future. One of these is better time management during term-time and holidays. Realizing that many extra times are available throughout the year, there is plenty of room for alternative improvements. Alternative improvements are defined as achievements outside the undergraduate course. Apart from education, work experience such as part-time jobs or internships are important in building the fundamentals for the future. However, I have not been actively looking for part-time jobs due to being unsure of the time available. Suppose that I have applied to a few spring internship opportunities in the UK, but unfortunately, all of them have been rejected leaving more free time during the Easter break. Sadly, it was too late to find open opportunities before the Easter break started.

Another objective is regarding transferable skills – having no extra skills adopted throughout the academic year except academic achievement. Skills are also an important factor when looking for jobs in the future. According to one of the internship assessment feedback, my potential areas of development are to be driven and inclusive. In short, be active with people who may have different areas of profession and actively explore out of your comfort zone. Other than that, another lowest performing skill is agility where preparation for potential new problems could be made to better complete tasks in any situation. Besides that, as the world transitions towards technology intensity, technical skills will be highly valued. Technical skills that I am particularly interested in are such as accounting tools, data management, and digital editing. Although there are other skills, I would like to set my focus on the skills listed above.

In conclusion, I will be actively looking for part-time jobs and internship opportunities while balancing education and leisure time. To be specific, my main goal is to obtain a course-related part-time job while also considering other areas. For this coming summer, I am actively looking for summer placements in my home country to obtain relevant work experience while at home. Also, for the next summer, I will prepare myself to be qualified for a summer internship in the UK as there are many opportunities for second-year students. In the future, I am looking forward to escape from my comfort zone and begin to explore new areas. To start with, by working experience, I am targeting to adopt as many basic skills such as teamwork, task management, and communication skills. Furthermore, during my free time, I am looking to apply to accounting tool online courses that are provided by FreshBooks, QuickBooks, and the long-established Sage. I believe the more types of tools I am exposed to; it will be advantageous in the road ahead. These online courses are very suitable given the flexible time for completion, providing no extra pressure towards current education.

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Reflective Essay from Critical Thinking Class. (2024, January 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
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