Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nina Greenwald


I came to the Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) program to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. I had been in the military for eight years and felt unhappy and unfulfilled. In the CCT program I found a safe place to speak from my heart. I found support to share my questions, inspiration to try new ideas, and the guidance and knowledge to formulate a product. Thinking critically has disciplined my creative process, and taught me how to make use of my creative thinking. Through the application of reflective tools to think about my own thinking, I realized that the choice I made to enter the military was not as much mine as it was living up to the expectations of others. Tools such as drawing the problem, thinking in opposition and an awareness of cognitive psychology helped me to become conscious of more than what I want to do when I grow up, but who I want to be now. Such tools helped me to understand that I was not stuck in my job because of my commitment to the military, financial constraints, or any other external factor. Rather, I was trapped by perceived social expectations that I placed on myself. In this personal narrative I describe the journey of getting out of my own way to first discover and then live according to my values, with creative integrity, as a person who aspires to effectively put her talents and passions to use in the service of community. I share the lessons of my explorations in the hope that others will be inspired to think deeply about their own purpose in life and translate this into practice. I believe that we each have unique dreams, desires, goals, and values; some not realized, some not yet verbalized. Through strategic critical and creative thinking about who we are now, and wish to become, it is possible to transform one's self-understanding and life as I have experienced and wish to convey to others. I have come to understand that to create lasting change one must first change the way one thinks. This synthesis is my story of changing the way I think in order to create lasting change in my career, and in my life.


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