Adopt the growth mindset

By Sriram Karumbunathan

College really is a fresh start for most people. For me, I moved away from my small hometown in Maryland. No one from my high school came to the University; in fact, I didn’t know a single person here. It was a completely new experience.

When the time came to show up for my first computer science class, it was overwhelming. I realized most people already knew the material CS 125 covers, even though it was new material to me. While at first, I regretted this and still do to an extent I realize taking this course from a fresh slate allowed me to learn not only what I had missed, but also the mindset needed to get through computer science courses.

Starting with this disadvantage meant I had to study more than my classmates. While I didn’t like this at first, it allowed me to reach a certain mindset that helps me both in class and in everything I do now. Looking further into it, I learned it has a name: the “growth mindset.”

Because it was new to me, the way I often wrote code was either not functional or in an unacceptable format. This forced me to continually scrap entire tries and restart from scratch. I learned to accept my code was completely wrong.

Well, it turns out that this is essential. The key to getting better at anything is to simply accept that you will fail at it first. The ability to rebound from these failures is what makes you better. This applies to everything, from classes to sports. Even when you fail, learning is what’s key. If you are putting your full effort into something, you shouldn’t mind failing occasionally, as long as you can learn from it.

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This mindset, which I gained freshman year, helped me while some of my other classmates struggled. Since I already learned not to be prideful about my work, I was able to succeed in later classes, where those same people who came in with experience struggled.

It is important to be able to take that step back and objectively look at a situation. Usually, people will tie some emotion to their work since they want to be able to say they’re the best.

However, this doesn’t instill the right mindset for future improvement, as there is almost always room to improve — especially as a college student.

Sriram is a junior in Engineering. 

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