The Academic Mindset: How You Think is How You Feel

Yesterday, someone told me he could see me going to grad school because I’m smart and motivated. His compliment flattered me, but it reminded me of how I don’t always perceive myself that way. I started thinking about the importance of a healthy mindset and the ways it influences how we feel, our relationships, and our capacity to achieve our goals.

It’s September, lots of twenty-somethings are back in school hunkering down into another year of late nights, caffeine, and trying to remember what their friends look like. I would be lying if I said I’ve never put my heart and soul into an assignment only to be disappointed by a mediocre grade. Where did I go wrong? Am I really just that dumb? It’s easy to take things personally. School is important, but so is everything outside of it. The balancing act can be a real challenge.

Here are a few ways to cultivate a positive mindset to foster positivity, contentment, and the belief you’re capable of achieving your goals — influenced by a jam-packed school schedule.

Remember: You’re your own worst critic.

No one is harder on you than yourself. If you mess up at work or feel you’ve invested too much time into an assignment that you want to get just right, remind yourself perfection doesn’t exist. You know what your personal best is, so recognize that and have faith that your hard work will pay off. It usually does.

Meaningful Chunks: Take everything one day at a time. 

Easier said than done, but there is no point in getting worked up over everything you have to accomplish in the next month. Getting anxious only distracts you from the tasks you need to accomplish today. I like to use the metaphor of a ladder to keep a little perspective. If you get into the habit of breaking down responsibilities into meaningful chunks, it’s like building one step to get to the next. It’s the only the way to climb to the top.









 Recognize when to take a break.

Personally, taking “me time” is a weak spot for me. I learned the hard way how important it is. I’ve been so entrenched in work before that I’ve thought I won’t be able to enjoy a break since my work isn’t done. This is retroactive. Take a walk, go for coffee with a close friend, or listen to your favourite music. Shifting your mind to something else refreshes the mind. It’s like fuel for creativity and is a big part of a balanced lifestyle.

There is a difference between cocky and confidence. 

We live in a world where we often shame confidence, especially if you’re a girl. There is definitely a difference between being cocky and being confident, but just be mindful and humble of that difference. Feeling good about you is integral to believing in your ability to achieve your goals and building healthy relationships.


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