In this three-part paper I will reflect on my personal and professional growth during my program of study at the University of Phoenix. In part one, I will reflect upon where I was in my personal and professional life when I started the University of Phoenix program. Part two I will evaluate the growth I experienced during my University of Phoenix program of study. Finally in part three, I will analyze impact of completing the University of Phoenix Bachelor’s program on my current and future professional goals. Part I Reflection
While I was growing up I always wanted to be a police detective, so I just knew I was going to go to school for Criminal Justice. As time went on, and I finished high school, I discovered I was pregnant, which that stopped me from leaving off for college that I applied and was accepted too. I signed up for a local community college to pursue my education while pregnant. I also was working full-time at the women and children hospital here in Orlando. Since I was pregnant, working full-time, and going to school full-time was exhausting. Once I begin working at the hospital I had a career change, and decided that I wanted to become a nurse so I switched majors and begin taking nursing courses. Once I gave birth to my son, I continued school and working, but it was becoming extremely hard for me to do both and give my child his full attention. I got majority of my prerequisite courses done for the nursing program, and while hours at my job was being cut, I was forced into job hunting where I applied at courthouse and was hired there. Working at the courthouse made me realized that criminal justice is really where my heart is. So I switched majors again and picked up where I left off.
The struggled continued with me working full-time and school, and I became comfortable at the job I was working and eventually I stopped going to school. A few years passed, and once the raises and promotions stopped at my job, and rumors were spreading of layoffs. I knew I had to get back in school and finish getting my degree, to climb up in the company or find a job in my field of study. The community college I was attending, it always seem like there was a problem when it came to me trying to register for classes, either the classes were all full, or they did not offer it that semester, which puts me back behind schedule. After all those issues I once again took a break from school. A year or so had passed and I determined to finish school that is when I enrolled in University of Phoenix. I’m very passionate about learning, and it is very important to my personal growth and development.
I was always taught that nothing will just fall into your hands you have to work for it, and that followed me as an adult and I instill that in my son’s head as well. You want to be successful in life, nobody will give it to you, and you have to go to school and educate yourself, set goals that you want to achieve in life and work toward them, and that is exactly what I’m doing in my life right now. My career goals were to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, become a police detective, as time as went by I would rather be a probation officer, and someday own my bondsman company. My level of professional competence in problem solving, written and oral communication skills, information retrieval and utilization, and collaboration, were okay, but I needed to be stronger in some areas such as communication, problem solving. Part II Evaluate
During my program of study at University of Phoenix, I have grown a lot in problem solving, written and oral communication skills, information retrieval and utilization, and collaboration. When it came to problem solving, I solved the problems the best way I knew how to, either just by following my instincts or asking someone else. Now I know that I can use all the resources I have available to me to solve the problem, for example using the Internet to search, asking someone who is experienced, etc. My written and oral communication has grown exceptionally; I have written so many papers and have presented presentations in front of class that has taught me how to speak clearly and have eye contact, and how to write a paper in APA format with references. Also by taking online course, e-mail is constant, so I know how to word my responses properly without making it the receiver confused. I never worked in teams prior to University of Phoenix, so my collaboration skills have excelled by working with people daily to get assignments and project complete.
The four courses that had the greatest impact on my potential employment were GEN 200 Foundations for General Education and Professional Success, GEN 480 Interdisciplinary Capstone Course, CJA 313 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice, and CJA 323 Criminology. When it came to the general education courses these were the beginning and the end of my studies here at University of Phoenix, these courses taught me how to be successful, how to utilize resources, how to conduct proper researches. I was also taught proper ethical behavior, how to solve problems, completing a self-assessment and finding out my ethical awareness, and assessing my skills. I chose these two particular core courses because they were the most informative concerning my career field of choice.
Contemporary issues discussed children and young people who commit crimes and are punished, being a probation officer you may have to deal with children and teenagers who have gotten in trouble and placed on probation as a sentence, and in the Criminal course, and it was based on the psychology, sociology or criminal justice individuals gain skills to succeed in a career as a criminologist. This is very important to know, working in the criminal justice field you have to deal with all types of criminals who have different personalities, in mind frames, which sometimes you have to dig deep into their head to understand why they committed such a crime.
Recommendations that I would offer to the University of Phoenix, I would focus more on individual assignments over team assignment, I believe that a person is in school to further their own education, and that is not a team effort, a lot of students does not have the same work ethics, mindset as you do, so your grade is sometimes left in a team members hand, if they do not complete their assignments correctly or turn it in timely which affects you. Making semesters longer than five weeks, this way students are allowed more time for the material to be covered and explained in depth. Sometimes it gets overwhelming trying to crunch and everything you need to know in five weeks. The professor should assign teams equally, I’m sure all professors have some sort of background information about each student, so there should be some sort of balance among the teams. I was in a class where there were all law enforcement officers on one team, so of course all their presentations and papers where 100% because they were already familiar with the courses. PART III Analyze
Completing my bachelor’s degree at University of Phoenix has had a huge impact on my current and future goals. I believe that I am closer to my goal of becoming a probation officer, and someday owning my own bail bondsman company. Also possessing a bachelor’s degree will provide new opportunities at my current employer the Orange County Courthouse. Having a bachelor’s degree you can apply for any management position.
I feel that the role of lifelong learning is very important to my personal growth and development. Through putting my studies in practice, I can teach others the knowledge that I have obtained, able to work and learn in groups, follow my intuition on decision making. I have set goals that I will be trying to attain within the next five years. My personal goals will be to become debt free, purchase a home, and travel the world. My professional goal is to become a probation officer for the Federal Government. As far as my educational goal, I planned on continuing my education to receive a master’s degree in criminology to further my position in the federal government. The programs recommended for probation officers to attend are substance abuse treatment programs, and working with the youth, such as boys & girls clubs. The skills or competencies I will develop will be moral reasoning skills, this will be help offenders understand how their thinking, values, and choices affect their behavior, Pro-social skills, this will help the offenders obtain goals, better social interactions, and impulse control, Workforce skills, helping offenders become economically self-sufficient.
Professional Organizations I plan to join will be the Federal and Pretrial Officers Associations, this organization is all about helping probation officers with retirement plans, make sure the officers are up-to-date with training and communication skills, this program is also a nonprofit organization that will expand membership to other probation officers, pretrial services officers for those who may need assistants. Conferences or workshops I plan to attend will be to sit in a probation office to see if I can shadow a probation office for the day to see how the job functions. Getting a license to become a bail bondsman will be a degree I pursue, so I will be able to open and operate a bail bonding company.
In conclusion, this three-part paper was an insight to my past, present, and future to reflect my personal and professional growth during my Criminal Justice study at University of Phoenix. I reflected on where I was in my personal and professional life when prior to starting at University of Phoenix. Evaluated the growth I experienced during my criminal justice program here at University of Phoenix, and I analyzed the affect of completing the University of Phoenix Bachelor’s Degree program has had on my current and future goals.