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April 29, 2020

AHA Blog: Making the Move to Growth Mindset

Posted by Natasha Dhanrajani


Growth mindset, which is described by Dr. Carol S. Dweck in “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” allows individuals to view stumbling blocks, including failure, as paths toward growth. Those who embrace growth mindset welcome challenges, learn from their mistakes, and believe people can learn anything. When someone with a fixed mindset encounters an obstacle, he or she may become discouraged by having to grapple with a new skill to achieve success, especially if that person is considered “gifted” or “a natural.” Here are some thoughts from a self-described “mixed mindset” high school student who is consciously moving toward growth mindset.


Before I entered the Academy of the Holy Angels, I never knew about fixed and growth mindsets. In middle school, I tended not to ask many questions in my classes because I would feel too embarrassed when I was unable to understand a concept that other classmates could. It can be hard to know what questions to ask.


In extreme scenarios, some students give up. They continue to study too hard and not sleep enough, and they still do not get the grades they want. They may say, “Why should I keep studying so hard, when I am clearly not succeeding? I will never succeed.” I have struggled with this roadblock.


Whenever I received what I considered a “bad grade,” I would go home extremely upset. Sometimes, the feeling would last a few days. Radiating negative energy toward my friends and family was unhealthy for my relationships, and for me.


Those with a growth mindset may “blow off some steam” when they receive a low grade, but they soon begin to focus on what they can do better. They seek help, ask questions, and talk about their mistakes with a classmate or teacher. Students with a growth mindset continue to study hard, but may use alternate methods and healthier study schedules.


I love trying to conquer obstacles, but I have always needed my strategy to be absolutely perfect in order to succeed. I may get discouraged if I fail. However, my journey toward growth mindset has helped me tremendously. My overall mood has improved, my relationships have become stronger, and my drive to improve my mistakes has increased.


Failing and attempting to recover is growth mindset in action. If you want to start this journey, here are some methods that are working for me:

Push the Bad Grade Aside: Don’t let those dreadful numerals linger in your mind. Ask yourself, “What can I do to understand the concepts I did not understand? How should I approach my next test?” Develop ways to improve your understanding as well as your overall grade.



Consult Your Classmates: I have asked my friends for assistance many times.You will NOT come off as “annoying, dumb, or stupid.” Trust me: We all want to succeed! It is okay to ask for help. Just be sure to return the favor.



Develop Better Study Habits: Your grades may suffer if your study habits are not up to par. Avoid distractions, losing sleep, and cramming the night before. I like to study for tests a few days beforehand, and study the material in increments leading up to test day. Get some sleep! I force myself to go to sleep by 11 p.m. at the latest, and wake up early to finish studying. If you continue to study when you’re tired, you will not retain any material. Sleep refreshes your brain and recharges your body.


Go to Extra Help and Office Hours: I cannot stress enough how lucky we are to have office hours this year, and how LIFESAVING it has been for me. This time has helped me connect with teachers, receive proper assistance, and practice mastering key concepts. If you are not sure why you are struggling in class, ask your teachers for practice questions about certain concepts. You will see exactly where you stand.


Note: During “distance learning,” Holy Angels’ faculty members are offering virtual office hours & extra help via email and Google Meet.