Cultivating Adaptive Mindsets

Our mindsets, our attitudes and beliefs, powerfully shape our learning. Intentionally cultivate your mental approach to the challenges ahead, including new ways of learning from instruction.

Growth Mindset: Remember that you are a capable learner and student. Strive for growth and improvement of your skills in order to achieve the results you want. Be strategic and purposeful, drawing on your own determination and campus resources. Ask yourself, “What can I learn, how can I grow from this challenge/opportunity?”

Engagement Mindset: Make productive engagement an objective. Ask yourself how you can create conditions for and stay mentally alert and active, and maximize attention and focus. Intentionally motivate yourself by reminding yourself of your concrete goals and objectives (for courses), and what the current assignment is intended to do and how you can maximize its usefulness to you. At the same time, tap into your other positive motivations, like your values, aspirations and impact you want to have on your community and the world. 

Flexibility Mindset: You’ve adapted to many new teaching-learning circumstances in the past. Experiment, adjust, repeat. Strive to be open to new possibilities and learn from others about how they have adapted.

Cooperative Mindset: Seek out collaboration with peers and communicate proactively with instructors. Actively combat feelings of isolation caused by proactively approaching classmates and instructors, signing up for and engaging with consultants and tutors. Ask: “How might working with others be helpful?”

Initiative Mindset: Anticipate your future needs. Adopt a problem-solving, solution-oriented attitude to the challenges you encounter—doing what YOU can (even if there are many things outside your control) provides a greater sense of efficacy and control that is an antidote to uncertainty and stress. Think of your ‘future self’: Ask, “What will my ‘future self’ be glad that I did today?”

Planning Mindset: In unfamiliar circumstances, planning is even more important—and contributes to overall efficiency. Allocate dedicated time in your calendar for planning. Use scheduling, time, and task management tools. Most people under-plan or are overly optimistic. Include buffer time in your scheduling and trouble-shoot by identifying in advance what might go wrong and allotting time accordingly. Ask, “How can I make this task smaller, more manageable?” When in doubt, break down your time and assignments.