Recognizing and Revising Self-Talk Patterns Common exhibit for learning outcome #1

Inner Critic

(This example comes from last semester when I took Microeconomics) I just talked to my parents about how this semester is going, MicroEcon in particular, and explained to them that I literally can’t do anything to stay afloat. I explained to them that I go to all of our discussion group sections, I do my homework, I ask the TA questions about the homework and practice test questions if I don’t understand, and even go to tutoring sessions but nothing has worked. I have not made anything in the 70 range or higher on an exam in that class yet I sit next to people who make 80’s and 90’s with ease while I’m over here doing all this extra studying and am still struggling. I told my parents I’m probably going to fail the class because I simply cannot take the concepts we learn and put them into real situations on the exams. I don’t even know why I still go to class or tutoring.

(Revision) I suppose that I could have tried to take a more positive outlook on the class and the semester in general. I all but gave up, but I did will myself to go to keep going to class and to tutoring for the final exam. I told myself that if I was going down I wasn’t going down without a fight.

Inner Defender

(English Class this semester) So my professor, or rather the graduate assistant who is teaching my class, has the nerve to tell me that my writing is very good and in a way poetic then give me a 61 on my paper. Then she continued to deduct points from the 61! Don’t tell me how good my writing is then completely tear apart my work. Like what does she know anyway? She just got out of college herself and now she’s trying to tell me how to write. And I’m not even the only one, she has shredded everyone’s work and that probably why none of us like going to her class. She’s just going to request that we find 5,000 sources and write a million-page paper just to tell us they suck. Is there an actual professor or just somebody better I can talk to about this?

(Revision) Despite who is teaching the class I need to do better on my end, I should make sure that my work is on time and meets the word count before I start spazzing on the teacher. Whether she is terrible or not at her job, I still am responsible for the quality of my work.

Inner Guide

(Me after failing a Spanish Test) Okay so that went really bad, but I can’t be mad at anyone but myself, I forgot we had a test and I walked in totally unprepared. Even then I still generally knew the material so there’s a silver lining. Well this is a 4 credit class and a modern language requirement and after last semester I cannot afford to do bad in this class. So, I should find someone who knows Spanish and maybe they can tutor me. I should also do a much better job of studying and remembering test dates. I really need to get on my grind and make up for this test on the rest of them. I guess I should make Spanish tutoring a regular thing now.


I can honestly say that after being in school for nearly 13 years I’m fairly confident that my default inner voice is the inner critic. Up until about Freshman year of High School, school was very easy for me and I always made exceptional grades with very little effort. I was always top of my class without really trying because school came so easily. That is why now when I run into something really difficult that seems like I can’t do it I adopt that mindset. I’ve always known that math is my weakest subject, however I always managed, but when I got to high school I just accepted that I sucked at math. And that mindset has stuck with me, it was the same way with Physics and Anatomy in high school and especially MicroEcon last semester. I ended up passing these classes I just listed (somehow), yet I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as hopeless as I did with Econ. No matter what avenue I tried to take to get better in the class none of it ever seemed to work on the exams so I essentially just accepted that I was not good at the class and that I was probably going to fail. It is something that I would very much like to change but it will be very difficult. I want to be more positive and have an outlook that I can conquer any hurdle placed in front of me but it will take a lot work. I think how I have attacked my Spanish and Political Theory classes head on this semester will go a long way in helping me to become more of an inner guide than an inner critic.

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