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  • danikahannon

The Growth Mindset

A Couple Weeks Ago, I Started a Pre-Calculus Class on Khan Academy; Then Things Went South

Less than two minutes into the lesson, something terrible happened: I panicked.

I didn't know how to use the formulas the lesson was covering and the teacher had (fairly) assumed that the students would be familiar with them.

I thought I was too dumb to be taking that lesson and that my goals of becoming a mathematician and quantum physicist were very, very far out of reach.

Internally, I felt like how Beaker from Sesame Street looks.

This is Beaker.

In Trying to Stop My "Beaker Moment"

I left my computer, breathed deeply, then came back. I thought about it and came to understood that I wasn't ready for pre-calc. Yet.

Leading up to the pre-calc class, I'd been taking easier math lessons, so I went back to where I'd left off and picked up my learning from there.

And I Realized Something Important

Learning math again is going to take grit and a growth mindset. I haven't taken a math lesson since my Freshman or Sophomore year of college, which was several years ago.

It wasn't realistic to think that I could jump into higher levels of math and immediately remember everything that I once knew.

Although, it's entirely fair for me to assume that if I practice consistently and study smart, I'll re-gain the skills that I've lost.

In fact, I'm willing to bet that if I stick with this, I'll re-learn what I once knew, and I'll gain new math skills as I go.

While "Beaker Moments" Will Still Happen

I'm hopeful that when I practice math, I'll start feeling less like Beaker and more like Wonder Woman. And that I'll have the bravery to keep moving forward and face what's in front of me.

This is a still from my favorite scene in Wonder Woman. If you haven't seen it, it's worth watching. Here's a link to the clip:


If you want to learn more about the power of grit and growth mindsets, here are a few resources for you:

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