Another abandoned and revived post from 2011…
Our major is difficult and our new undergraduate students are often not used to thinking.
Graduate school was a similar painful change, though in a different way…
But there’s definitely this battle between a self-concept that has reasonable self-esteem battling with facing difficult challenges and, in many of our students’ cases, being forced to go from black and white thinking to something more nuanced with shades of grey. Learning that there’s not always a right answer but you have to make decisions anyway.
Ow ow ow ow… It can be painful while you’re getting used to it.
Then everything is ok. Maybe some scar tissue.
One of the things we’ve done to help our students is to have sections in the syllabi of all our initial core courses explaining how they’re learning to think– learning how to ask questions, not just answer them, and how they may think they’re dumb, but that’s actually just their brains growing. It seems to have helped.
Have you ever had problems with your self concept vs. new challenges? How did you get through it?