Speaking about education, Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.''
Critical thinking is a central goal of Jesuit education, and at LMU you'll be asked to think critically and intensively in every class. Dr. King suggests that critical thinking results in our ability to inform intelligence with character, and strengthen character with intelligence. Please talk about a situation that demanded critical thinking from you, and how your choices or decisions integrated intelligence and character.
(The Common App answer space only permits up to 5,000 characters so that limit has already been reached)
Choice and Critical thinking
Choice; an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.
We are all given the power to select a desired path, be it clear or unknown. Sometimes the choices we make involve minor items, like deciding between coffee or tea. Other times, these choices can have major implications on our lives, such as opting to leave home for better opportunities elsewhere. For high school seniors, the single most important--and arguably toughest decision--is choosing a career path as they enter the world of adulthood: the exact same situation I was placed in over a year and a half ago.
Critical thinking; the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.
We constantly incorporate critical thinking into our daily choices. Failure to carefully weigh the potential outcomes and consequences of these choices may not lead us to the best results. This was my undeniably my greatest fear as I neared my high school graduation in the summer of 2017, but I knew I was not alone. Like many others lost in a labyrinth of options, I was stuck at a crossroads. I was faced with a colossal dilemma to either pursue an engineering degree that I had initially aimed for since entering high school, or leave everything I learnt behind, turn a complete 180° to take on a newly acquired interest; filmmaking.
While this scenario may not be a major issue in the Western world where people are encouraged to follow their dreams, it is a different story in most Asian cultures. Many students are still pressured to go into fields their parents want them to pursue, prioritising practicality and economic stability over passion. Coming from a Chinese Malaysian background, I can testify that the East's collectivist sentiment of compliance and reduced risk-taking certainly opposes the West's individualist mindset that strives for uniqueness and variety. Hence, it came as no surprise to me when my parents were taken aback at my sudden switch from science to arts. Overwhelmed with shock, they initially disregarded my new interest as "passion that would not feed me". In other words, they thought that film, or the arts in general, could not provide a stable income.
I was once again left with two difficult choices. I could follow my heart and pursue filmmaking, or go with the perception that the latter was a foolproof way of earning good income. To me, it was about finding a career I would thoroughly enjoy, but to my parents, it meant foregoing the chance of a stable job to chase an aspiration that yielded uncertain outcomes. If I wanted to fulfil my parents' wishes, I had to work on a science-based degree. If I chose filmmaking, I had to go against their ideals, possibly disappointing them in the future with a lack of job security. Day and night I weighed my options. On one hand, my logic told me that engineering was the way to go, as I could satisfy both of my parents and increase my chances of securing a skilled job. On the other hand, my conscience constantly reminded me about the growing curiosity I had for filmmaking. I was genuinely amazed at the way film can take the form of many different narratives and how much it can impact people's lives today; I wanted to be part of the creative process. With this in mind, I eventually chose career satisfaction over job security after realizing that I would rather do something I was passionate about than being stuck with a career I had little drive for, regardless of the risks involved.
Fusing my burning determination with well-researched facts, I finally mustered up the courage to convince my parents that I really wanted to pursue filmmaking. I showed them the various job prospects and possibilities a film degree could provide, proving to them that filmmakers and artists can be just as successful as scientists and engineers. I also put my heart and soul into learning as much as I could about the art of filmmaking and its techniques, making them realize that I was serious about furthering my passion. After months of persuasion, my parents finally allowed me to pursue a degree in film.
Many have asked me whether I regret choosing this path, and to them I say, "Absolutely not". Film is a medium that can resonate with and entertain a global audience through creative visuals and universal messages, and I would not have realized this sentiment had I not thought critically. If I never paused to thoroughly contemplate my choices along with the passions and dreams that made up my distinct personality, and if those aspirations had not been reinforced with my own knowledge and research, I likely would have received disapproval and become yet another voiceless soul in the crowd. However, just like how Theseus used a thread to navigate his way out of the labyrinth, we can utilise critical thinking to find our way out of our own maze of options by weighing the potential ramifications of our choices and making sound decisions best tailored to our individual selves.