CU 1010 Portfolio Parker Henderson

-Exhibit 1-- Mindset: Recognizing and Revising Self-Talk Patterns-

The first step in self-improvement is having the mindset and attitude to do it. After all, motivation comes before action. As stated in our Cu-1010 class, there are three main inner voices that motivate our actions:

  • Inner Critic- This voice constantly judges the self as inadequate. "You messed up and you will not do better next time." Though it can be useful for finding faults within the self, it can become harmful as it is often attached to a defeatist attitude.
  • Inner Defender- This voice constantly judges others as inadequate. "If that teacher was any good, I wouldn't have failed the test." Though it can be useful for preventing the self from taking all the blame, it can become harmful as it often points the self out as having no fault and putting the responsibility on others.
  • Inner Guide- This voice is a balance of the previous two. "I did badly but I know why. Lets fix it for next time." It finds the appropriate amount of fault in both the self and others. More importantly, it seeks to improve the situation, instead of giving up like the other two.

The goal of this first exhibit is to find a way to make sure the Inner Guide is the deciding influence in one's academic decisions. Sure enough, I have been experimenting with this even before I learned about the inner voices.

My experiment consists of taking a self-improving approach to school. Last semester, I let the defeatist attitude of the Inner Critic shape my decisions. Self improvement came too little too late. This was a shock to me, as I used to have problems with the Inner Defender, not the Inner Critic. I was unprepared for the self-blame that came with it. Though not entirely undeserved, there was no motivation following my own inner criticisms.

The experiment itself consists of taking an active approach. Instead of letting last semester's failures get to me, I have been active, putting more effort into my studies. Last semester, my first engineering test was a C, my first chemistry test was a C, and my math test was a failure. This semester, my first tests were all A's and B's.

My first Math 1060 test grade. My first test last semester was below a sixty.

In conclusion, my experiment was very successful. I was actually surprised that things turned out as well as they did. I will continue using the Guide attitude throughout the semester.

-Exhibit 2-- Self-Management: Time Management Self-Study-

The next step is proper time management. It is fruitless to try to improve if you procrastinate. Procrastination, as we learned in Cu-1010, is a major inhibitor of progress. It can only be stopped via self-control and hard work.

As in Exhibit 1, my experiments of curbing procrastination began as school started. Previously, I had not set limits on how long I played games, browsed the internet, and watched YouTube. Some limits were made near the end of last semester, but yet again, it could not help.

Reddit Logo [The logo of Reddit]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2017, from
From Creative Commons
NL97. (2015, March 31). "Heavy Steel" [War Thunder screenshot]. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from

This semester I set hard limits on my time. Only one hour of time is allowed on the weekdays, with three on Friday and the weekend. Work must be done before the one hour times, and no more than one and half hours may be used before work on Friday and the weekend.

As for weekly affairs, homework is almost always done well ahead of schedule. Studying is done weekly, with an intensification near test time.

An average day goes like this: Wake up at 6:50am, go eat breakfast, get ready for the day, go to the first class of the day (Math) at 8:00am, do homework after class, go to lunch at 11:00, go to my second class (Chemistry) at 12:30, do its homework after class, go to my third class (Engineering) at 3:30, do its homework after class, do any leftover work, then I usually have the rest of the day to myself. If I have to study for a test, I do so in the evening.

Above is how Monday, Wendsday, and Friday go. Tuesday goes like this: Wake up at 8:20am, go eat breakfast and get ready, go to class (Cu-1010) at 9:30am, go to lunch at 11:00, go to my second class (CAD) at 12:30, do any homework afterwards, then go to lab (Chemistry) from 3:30-6:20. After that I am usually free, minus any studying.

Thursday goes like this: Get up at 6:50am, go eat breakfast and get ready, go to class (Math) at 8:00am, immediately go to Cu-1010 afterwards, go eat lunch at 11:00, go to the last class of the day at 12:30 (CAD), then go do homework until it is done to a satisfactory level.

The long-term goal is to make sure that I have started all large projects before the week they are due. Studying is done at least a week in advance as well.

Overall, the results have been promising. I immediately noticed that I no longer had the "guilt feeling" that came with procrastination, and my homework got done faster. My first test grades came back as A's and B's, as opposed to C's and failures. My only problem so far has been that I occasionally do not get immediately started on homework when I get back from class. However, it almost always gets done anyways. I will continue to do this, as it has been proven successful.

-Exhibit 3-- Learning: Retrieval Practice Self-Study-

Next on the road to success comes proper learning techniques. Last semester, my study habits were those that I used in high school. Which is to say, not that good. In Cu-1010, I learned that information is not retained much at all if one does not study constantly.

Learning Retention Graph [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2017, from

This new information has motivated me to adopt a plan of studying every day. Any time new information is taught to me, I will study it again. The idea of this is to constantly be aware of new information and ensure important things like definitions are memorized.

Another technique I used was taking practice tests. This is useful as it gives me practical information on how long, difficult, and encompassing the test is going to be. I can get practical practice, so to speak. It can also show me what I may be doing wrong.

So far, this has shown its success in the forms of A-B test grades and overall good grades. One thing that I noticed in particular was a much more prepared feeling when I took the tests. Beforehand, all of my test grades were very low, especially math (which never got above a 70). I will continue to study every day as a result and do practice tests beforehand.

-Custom Exhibit One-- Calm Mindset-

One problem I experienced last year was test anxiety. While it got better over the course of time, it was still a nuisance that had a negative effect on my work. Though it did not interfere with my ability to remember information, it did interfere with my ability to think critically. Building off of the first exhibit, I decided to change my mindset.

From Creative Commons

This semester, however, I decided to try a calm approach to testing. Besides actually being calm when starting a test, I learned in CU-1010 that it is counterproductive to study within three hours of a test. No new information is learned this way, and it only serves to increase one's anxiety.

Another method of calming I use involves breathing. I will take deep breaths before the test. While not the most effective tool, it is helpful enough and easy as to not require any extra effort.

My final method relates back to the first exhibit. Calming thoughts are used to keep my stress level down. This is useful in conjunction with deep breaths. Thoughts include things like "You can do it" and "It is just a test."

The results of attempting this have been stated many times earlier. In particular, I think it has helped my critical thinking, as I don't get as "locked-up" with stress. This strategy has been a success so far, and I will continue to use it.

-Exhibit 4-- Post-Test Analysis With Office Hour Visits

Hindsight is 20/20. After doing below what one expected on a test, it is a good idea to look back upon it and see what went wrong.

Recently, I took a Chemistry test that went far below what I was expecting. The grade I recieved was a 63, while my expected grade was at least an 80

I mainly believe the fault lies in not studying enough. This test, unlike the previous one, had several categories and lists of things to memorize before the test. Since I did not get these things memorized, I could not apply the knowledge. It did not mater how much critical thinking I put into the test, as I did not have the basic knowledge.

To make sure things go better next time, I will make sure that I study more in the days leading up to the test. I will also continue to use my methods of going to PAL sessions and doing practice tests.

-Exhibit 5-- Professor Interview-

The following are the questions I asked my Chemistry professor, Dr. Cox.

1. Why did you become a teacher? A: I originally wanted to go into chemistry research. However, I took interest in the teaching side of chemistry while in college, and it kind of spiraled from there.

2. Why did you go into chemistry in particular? A: I was originally a heptologist, but I switched to chemistry because I found myself enjoying them more than my main classes.

3. What do you enjoy about teaching? A: I enjoy watching students make the connection, that "click" where they finally get it.

4. What do you enjoy about your research? A: I enjoy the study of nano materials and meta materials.

5. Do you prefer research or teaching? A: I like them both equally

6. What else to do you teach? A: I teach the physical science labs.

7. What is your advice to students? A: Go with a willingness to learn and to have your beliefs challenged.

8. Do you have any specific advice for chemistry majors? A: Keep your textbooks. Get to know your professors. Do not avoid extracurricular activities and clubs relating to chemistry, they are extremely helpful.

9. Do you have any hobbies? A: Writing pedagogues for learning, spending time with my family, amusement parks, and reading to name a few.

10. Do you have a favorite color? A: No, actually. It depends on my mood.

I chose to interview Dr. Cox as she seemed friendly. While I expected some of her answers, I was surprised to learn she enjoyed both research and teaching equally. I had previously thought that college professors enjoyed one or the other. It was interesting to learn that she liked both. Her saying that watching students make the connection is her favorite thing about teaching convinced me that she did care about teaching.

-Exhibit 6-- Value Based Goal Setting-

When setting goals, it is important to make sure that you believe in what you are doing. A goal set for something you neither want nor need will not be accomplished. Goals based on one's personal values and beliefs are something to strive for.

In class, we preformed an activity that involved our values. We listed values from various categories, such as important people and future goals. We were then forced to eliminate all except for one. The last one for me involved graduating college.

This actually surprised me. I had expected a person or a longer-term goal to come out on top. Instead, one of my shorter-term college goals came out on top. However, the process we used to eliminate goals involved forced removal. The activity was also done with the most important goal/person/thing at the time being the priority.

This actually did not change my goals much. My goals were already pretty clear: get through this semester with a 3.0 or greater and go through college to get a degree in mechanical engineering. It did, however, make me realize how important these goals are to me.

My main short-term goal is to get at least a 3.0 this semester. I plan on doing that by scoring a B or higher in all of my classes. This connects to my values of prioritizing education and getting a career.

My long term goals include getting a degree in mechanical engineering and a career in the automotive industry. I value cars, so a career in the automotive industry will do just that for me. The degree in mechanical engineering will facilitate that.

I, overall, would change the forced removals of the assignment. Otherwise, I believe it was an eye-opening experience. It has re-focused me on getting this semester done with a good grade. That was when I realized that my goals line up with my values. I value my education. I see it as a critical piece in my future. I will use this knowledge to motivate me in my future efforts towards success.

-Custom Exhibit Two-- Using School Resources

One important resource I use that has yet to come up involves those provided by the school. Throughout this semester I have used resources provided by Clemson to help me with my work and tests. All of these resources have been useful to me and helpful on tests.

These are the Primary resources I have used:

-Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL)- This service is provided for a multitude of classes and is useful for review and extra practice. It involves meeting at a set time on set days with a T.A. to go over what was recently learned in class.

-Calculus Fight Club- This is hosted before every calculus test. It is a general review of all the material that will be covered in the upcoming test.

-Review Sessions- Given out by individual professors, these review sessions take place before a test. Like the previous resource, they cover what will be on the test.

Overall, all of them are helpful, especially the PAL sessions. The review sessions were only done before tests, and the Calculus Fight Club took place too late a night to stay the whole time. The effect these sessions have had is fantastic. For example, here is some work from Calculus Fight Club.

Some work I did.

I don't feel as confused about material on tests anymore, and any questions I have can be easily answered by a PAL session. I attribute my success in my math classes to these resources. I would recommend all of these to other students.

-Works Cited-

Reddit Logo [The logo of Reddit]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2017, from

NL97. (2015, March 31). "Heavy Steel" [War Thunder screenshot]. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from

Learning Retention Graph [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 19, 2017, from


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