Part 1:Identifying Three Different Inner Voices
1. Inner Critic: I'm not smart enough...
• Identify - Calc homework. I got myself to a passing grade but could not find the power to finish.
First 30 minutes feeling: frustrated.
After multiple attempts of few problems, wrong answer after wrong answer, I would give up and skip to the next one. I assumed if I couldn’t get it then, I assumed I could not get it ever. I turned in the homework at 72%.
• Revise - This could be changed by following my INNER GUIDE. Rather than feel defeated after a few tries, recognize that clearly I am not understanding part of the material and should seek help. Not only would that raise my individual homework grade, but more broadly, it would allow me to bridge the gaps in the material.
2. Inner Defender: I would’ve but...
• Identify - I said I could have done better on my bioengineering exam, but it was at the end of a long week of exams and I didn’t have enough time to study. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel this way until the night before the exam, and that was too late. I had to cram for the test, and I think my grade suffered subsequently.
• Revise - Rather than push studying until the week before, I should have recognized my busy week in the being of the semester and planned accordingly. Four exams in one week seems intimidating, but when broken down into tolerable parts studying could be cut down to a little at a time and stress would be minimized.
3. Inner Guide: Let's put in the work and...
• Identify - I am currently retaking MATH 1080 because I didn’t earn a high enough grade in the course last semester. Obviously my approach to the class had some flaws, and this semester I am learning to correct them, in my study habits specifically.
• Reflect - I began studying well in advance for this exam, as I knew it would be a challenge for me. I really want to start this semester on the right foot, and focusing on keeping my grades up, rather than stress about pulling my grades up. I repeated example problems from notes until I felt I understood the processes, and did old exams and scored myself accordingly. The result; a higher level of confidence entering the exam.
Part 2: Reflect
I default normally on my inner critic voice. It is a nasty habit of mine, and one I hope to break. It is not necessarily that I do not feel smart enough to be where I am, it is more that I get frustrated with myself that I cannot adapt to the material as quickly as I hope. I like to think I am this way because when I was in elementary and high school, learning was fun and natural for me. I was not one of those kids that did not study at all, however, I could get away with simply looking material over and picking it up quickly. In college, instruction is formatted quite differently. The time frame is reduced and material covered is increased, and simply "looking things over" will not cut it. I had been so used to studying a little bit here and there and achieving A's, that when I did the same amount of work but was nearly failing in college I would feel immediately doubtful of my skills. To change all of this, I must practice revision of my self-talk. I must take college studying for what it is. College is hard. Extra effort is necessary. But more than anything else, the negative self-talk needs to be cut away. I need to see challenges more as tests that I know I can conquer, rather than obstacles that I cannot defeat. I need to believe that I am here for a reason, I made it to where I am for a reason. With a few key changes in strategies and effort I will be a lot more successful.
This learning objective is centralized around mindset, and I believe the perfect way to define the optimal mindset is to maintain REALISTIC CONFIDENCE. You must be realistic, and you must identify what your strengths and weaknesses are in each subject. When you find a weakness, do not avoid it, and do not push it off. I think I allowed myself to be overwhelmed by my downfalls last semester, but the number one thing I learned is that you need to face them head on. Get the help you need, and do not blame others. We are all responsible for our own faults, but at the same time we are all responsible for our own successes. It is natural to feel behind when you are given new information, that is why we take the classes we take; to learn! Rather than let that worry discourage you, though, I learned you need to let it be your motivator. See setbacks as obstacles to overcome, not obstacles that block you. Going in with confidence makes all the difference, but to be confident you must strengthen your forces... through studying, tutoring, and setting realistic goals. We must not allow themselves to be defined by our past mistakes, but rather to learn from them and grow. Johnny Cash poses it well. “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”