Why Your Mindset is Important

Most people only really consider a few concrete factors when approaching a task or problem. They might think about how hard or how time-consuming something is, but most miss out on one of the most important aspects; their mindset. Transitioning from high school to college, I realized that I couldn’t just cruise by as easily as I had before; the classes were more difficult and the workload was larger. Later on, when I started working in a lab, I realized that similarly the style of work had changed. Going into lab I knew very little, and I had to learn a lot before I could be productive. During Eureka, one of the workshops we attended, presented by Claire Zedelius, was on the growth mindset. The growth mindset is the idea that talent and ability are gained mostly through experience and training. This is contrasted with the idea of a fixed mindset, which suggests that talent and ability are more fixed and innate. After attending the presentation I realized that I could connect these different mindsets to transitions between high school and college, and to starting research. While it is easy to fall into a fixed mindset over time, it is important to understand that not doing well immediately is not a reflection of your overall ability; rather, it is a sign of the need for more practice and knowledge. Looking back, I’ve realized that whenever I’ve faced a challenge of new content to master, I’ve had to accept that not all concepts and ideas are easy to learn, and that some require lots of work to understand. Difficulty is a natural part of the learning process, and if you constantly find yourself not facing any difficulties, it is a sign that you should push yourself further. This is the attitude I use for my work, and it is with this attitude that I plan to continue my academic career.

David Suslik

David is a first year CCS Physics student. He enjoys learning about how the world works and plans to continue his studies in graduate school.