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Graduate Study Challenges, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1150

Essay

Abstract

The paper discusses three basic challenges I face in my graduate study. The three critical challenges include goal-setting, the development of critical thinking skills, and the use of skills and knowledge to promote lifelong learning. The paper discusses strategies that can help face these challenges.

Graduate Study Challenges and Strategies for Success

Learning for growth is not an easy task. Every day we face numerous challenges, to become educated and to prepare ourselves to the complexities of the professional life. Actually, graduate study is a challenge in itself: many of those who choose a graduate study path will have to fight against circumstances and work hard to finally achieve their educational goals. While completing my graduate study, I face three essential challenges: I must learn how to set long-term goals, how to improve my critical thinking skills, and how to apply my skills and knowledge in the course of the subsequent lifelong learning.

Many graduate students find it difficult to set long-term goals and link them to their values and personal objectives. Long-term goal setting was always among the major obstacles in my way to becoming more organized. I had to fight with numerous tasks and prioritize my strivings and desires. I had to decide what I must do to become well-educated and to successfully graduate. I must note, that goal-setting is not only my problem: statistically, of students who enroll in universities and choose to continue their education, 25% never finish (Morisano et al, 2010). The basic reasons of failure include the lack of motivation and clear goals (Morisano et al, 2010). The results of the recent research confirm that effective goal-setting is the key to improved learning and educational achievements. Students who possess good goal-setting skills display better academic performance results (Morisano et al, 2010). Goal-setting techniques can support struggling students while they are completing their graduate studies. I have learned that to set long-term goals effectively, I must avoid setting specific time frames and must try to link them to my abilities, desires, and interests. Carter, Bishop and Kravits (2007) suggest that I think about what I want to accomplish after I graduate. I will also have to take into account my values and to decide what I want out of school (Carter, Bishop & Kravits, 2007). Choosing the major career direction will help me to link my personal values to professional goals and expectations (Carter, Bishop & Kravits, 2007). I realize that the more defined my goals are the better my chances will be to realize myself in the desired professional domain. I feel that these principles will help me to better organize myself around the core long-term goals and set the strategies necessary to reach them.

Goal-setting, however, is not the only problem I must solve while I am completing my graduate study. In the process of learning, I realized how important critical skills are and what influence they produce on my educational achievements. I was never afraid of challenging tasks. Moreover, I believe that the more challenging the task is the better my chances are to improve my professional, learning, and individual skills. I have realized that critical thinking is about asking questions and analyzing the answers. I fully agree with Rugutt and Chemosit (2009) in that the relationship between the student and the faculty are the basic determinants of critical thinking skills and abilities in students. Teachers must not simply interact with students, but must also encourage them, reveal their enthusiasm about student achievements, and offer students a chance to resolve challenging tasks (Rugutt & Chemosit, 2009). Based on the information which Carter, Bishop and Kravits (2007) provide in their textbook, I have developed my own critical thinking strategy. The latter involves several stages: gathering information, clarifying information, distinguishing facts from opinions, reconsidering information from several different perspectives, and evaluating the relevance and importance of this information. Each stage requires that I ask numerous questions. I feel that these questions redirect me toward my professional and learning goals and improve my critical thinking skills.

Unfortunately, goal-setting and excellent critical thinking skills cannot suffice to lead me to the desired professional goals. I must decide how to apply my skills and knowledge in real-life contexts. From time to time, I ask myself: how will what I have learned support me in my professional performance? I monitor my progress and try to predict how each cluster of knowledge I learn can be useful for my career progress. Researchers support the belief that self-monitoring is essential to help students apply their knowledge and skills in practical environments. For example, Schloemer and Brenan (2006) write that self-monitoring is necessary for students to assess their own progress. Those who are dissatisfied with their results may choose to spend more hours learning and improving their skills. However, students cannot always know what knowledge and information they will need the most; as a result, they may erroneously concentrate on the least important aspects of their studies, instead of paying attention to what will be necessary for their career. To solve these problems, students can find a mentor, learn from their failures and mistakes, and promote personal change (Carter, Bishop & Kravits, 2007). I have already realized that personal flexibility and the ability to learn from mistakes are the two basic principles of lifelong learning. I must be able to apply my experience in practice. I must be flexible enough to adjust my knowledge and skills to the changeable conditions of my professional performance. All three challenges I discussed in this paper require high degree of concentration and patience, to be able to improve my learning and practical performance results. I am confident that my awareness of these challenges will give me better chances to achieve my long-term goals in life.

Conclusion

Learning for growth is not an easy task. Those who choose to continue their education must numerous obstacles and overcome a multitude of barriers in their way to becoming professionals. While completing my graduate study, I must face three important challenges: to learn the principles of goal-setting, to improve my critical thinking skills, and to apply my skills and knowledge in practice. The current state of research provides numerous strategies and solutions to those, who face similar challenges. I am confident that my awareness of these problems and their understanding will give me better chances to achieve my long-term goals in life.

References

Carter, C., Bishop, J. & Kravits, S.L. (2007). Keys to college studying: Becoming an active thinker. 2nd edition. Pearson Prentice Hall.

Morisano, D., Hirsh, J.B., Peterson, J.B., Pihl, R.O. & Shore, B.M. (2010). Setting, elaborating, and reflecting on personal goals improves academic performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95, 2, 255-264.

Rugutt, J. & Chemosit, C.C. (2009). What motivates students to learn? Contribution of student-to-student relations, student-faculty interaction and critical thinking skills. Educational Research Quarterly, 32, 3, 16-28.

Schloemer, P. & Brenan, K. (2006). From students to learners: Developing self-regulated learning. Journal of Education of Business, November/ December, 81-87.

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