Talking to yourself isn't a sign that you are losing your grip. We all talk to ourselves, even if we don't say things aloud. We constantly evaluate ourselves and send messages about our success and failure. Being human, we often focus on our failures.
To be successful in higher education, you may need to change the messages you send yourself. These three changes can improve your chances of doing well as you continue your education. Think of them as college mindsets.
Perhaps you've selected a course of study because a friend recommended it, a counselor suggested it, or a parent thinks it's a good idea. None of that matters. You're the one who needs to be excited about your chosen course of action. Sometimes that means discovering your "why."
To be successful, you need to be clear about what you hope to accomplish. What's your goal? How does it align with your values? If you have your goal clearly in mind, your learning activities will blossom. Your goal will give meaning to your work. To make this happen, change the messages you're sending yourself. Choose messages with purpose.
Messages Without Purpose:
I just need a passing grade.
I don't see how this material will help me.
I'm not interested in this information.
Messages With Purpose:
I can see how this connects to the big picture.
This course will help me get where I want to go.
I trust my instructors to give me what I need.
Many people believe that they have unchangeable strengths and weaknesses. When they fail a class or subject, they think they are doomed to be weak in that area. But if you have a growth mindset, you believe you can get better with hard work and practice.
Changing your inner messaging to a growth mindset means looking for the positive rather than the negative. But you must back up the change in perspective with action. The first step is to change your messaging. The second step is to look for ways to ramp up your learning.
Messages That Stunt Growth
I can't do it.
I'm just a failure.
I tried my hardest.
Messages That Foster Growth
I can learn how to do this.
This isn't a failure. It's a growth opportunity.
I tried hard, but I can try harder.
Often when you begin a new course of study, part of your discomfort comes from not knowing anyone. You may look at other students as competitors. You may believe other students are doing better than you are. But many of your fellow students may be secretly struggling.
A college mindset means looking at others as collaborators, not competitors. You can organize a study group or ask a classmate to lunch. You'll feel better when you realize that others have doubts and insecurities too. If you choose to study together, you can build on each other's strengths. It may take a few attempts before you find the right collaborators, but don't give up.
Messages That Create Barriers
I'm the only one who is having trouble.
No one wants to hear what I have to say.
I'm not here to socialize.
Messages That Create Connections
I bet others are facing challenges, too.
I could say something that could help someone else.
We can get to know each other and learn the material too.
If you crave success in college, use your brain! Create mindsets that promote college success. Focus on your "why," go for growth, and find your group. Support these mindsets with constructive messages. Talking to yourself can really pay off!
MedCert can offer you more advice and support in pursuing your educational goals. If you want help, we're here for you.
Julie Campos is the Senior Director of Operations and Student Success at MedCerts. She brings over 14 years of experience in Online Higher Education in both Student Support and Enrollment and started her career at the University of Phoenix, serving most of her tenure as a student-facing leader.
Julie has her Bachelors of Liberal Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso, and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Her areas of expertise are student support in online higher education environments and working with nontraditional students. At MedCerts, she is focused on creating a pro-active student central support model for MedCerts students to reach their goals and has developed the MedCerts Student Support and Outreach Model, created MedCerts Student Success Advisor reports and Dashboards, as well as the Student Success Advisor Playbook. Her proactive approach to student support has been crucial in meeting MedCerts’ student’s needs, as well as completion and certification goals.
Julie has three children – a 10-year-old son and 12- and 4-year-old daughters, who keep her and her husband busy with sports. She is also an avid crafter with an entire room of her home dedicated to the hobby. In her free time, she enjoys teaching wreath making and even has a few “how-to” YouTube videos on the subject!