I always have been, and I always will be, bad at math. This is what I told myself so many times last year, even though my struggles in Honors Geometry were largely attributed to the fact that I was lazy and did not pay attention in math during 8th grade. It’s okay that I’m bad at math, I told myself, because I’m pretty good at English. This way of thinking actually did hurt me in the beginning of Innovation Lab, because when we started learning graphing and regressions, my immediate thought was that I was doomed, my previous mistakes had finally caught up with me, my math grade would be terrible and maybe Community College wouldn’t be so bad. This was an example of a fixed mindset. I assumed that I wasn’t prepared to do the math, and it wasn’t even worth trying, and I felt a lot like the man in the photo below. On the first quiz about regressions, I didn’t put in the work, and so I didn’t get the results, and the first quiz that I took in Innovation Lab yielded me a C-. My fixed mindset confirmed that I was a failure at math and a C- was the best I could do.
A few weeks passed with the weight of the C- on my shoulders. But the structure of Innovation Lab began to change the way I think about “math” and how bad I am at it. I began to realize that it was possible to change from a good English student but a bad math student to a good English student and a good math student. The flexible structure of Innovation Lab has started to change the way I approach school and my effort toward my work.
A few days ago, we took another math quiz. This quiz focused on functions, another topic that I failed to pin down on my first attempt. But this time, I utilized my growth mindset. I knew that if all these other kids could do it, I could do it too, so I focused on absorbing the information I needed to learn. I got an A- on the quiz, with a few mistakes that I plan to iron out on the retake (even more growth in my mindset). Even though it was a difficult topic for me, I began to realize that I have the power to turn it around, which is why having a growth mindset is so important. Advice that I would give to myself in the future is that instead of complaining about how confusing something is, spend that time focusing on learning it. Most importantly, never settle for anything less than best.