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This paper includes my self-reflection with five of the concepts that were covered in class. It also answers the following questions for each of the concepts I’ve covered: Were there personal or professional challenges that contributed to my academic challenges? How could the concepts that I learned in this course benefited me in overcoming a past challenge? How will the concepts that I learned in this course help me overcome any current or future academic challenges? This paper goes into detail about my academic career along with some research articles.

General Studies Self-Reflection Assessment

Throughout this fall semester at Indiana University Northwest, I can honestly say that I’ve progressed the most. This semester felt different to me than any of my previous semesters. I transferred last minute from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis last minute before the fall semester began. The sole purpose behind this last-minute decision was my overall lack of success at the school. I wanted to get myself back on track to succeeding positively like I was used to, especially in high school. I decided that coming back home and getting my head right was the best option. Professor Ballard helped me enroll in courses that would help me get started, one of those courses being GNST-G203. I never really had a specific expectation when I enrolled into this course, and I never really knew what an impact it would actually have on me. Throughout the time span of this course, our small but ambitious class, overcame many barriers that we all possessed with the topics we covered. These topics all covered important ways to progress throughout life personally, academically, and socially. I’m thankful that I ended up taking this course because I ended up incorporating many of these things into my own life. When off the discussion of the specific topic, Professor Ballard was always there to provide real-life examples and awesome advice about stuff that we are going to encounter within our lives: personally, academically, and again, socially. These examples and advice really meant a lot to me when I put them inside of my own life. A majority of the concepts that I know now would have helped me immensely during my courses down in Indianapolis.

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When away at school, I never felt as if I belonged. This wasn’t something specifically about my academics, mostly social and eventually lead me to diminish within my academics. I consider this a personal challenge that eventually led to my academic challenge. The topic of belongingness was something we focused on in the beginning of the semester. Belongingness is something that is critical for anyone. There are times when I would just completely struggle with creating the sense of belonging and never knew where to start. I was always shy and outspoken, so this held me back from trying to belong. In an article I found online on the topic of belonging, it states, “College students’ sense of belonging matters because it is related to their academic success and emotional wellbeing” (“Sense of Belonging,” n.d.). I was able to relate to this because I lacked the belongingness, which is something that is important to an individual’s success and wellbeing, as stated. Socially, I didn’t know where I belonged. I would typically just attend class and do some exploring alone around campus. Academically, I rarely participated or spoke up in class. This often made me upset, and it really began to affect me mentally and academically. There are many people in the world that often endure this same feeling and situation, as provided in Appendix A. Taking this course and learning about the ways to belong has now helped me in the present. I’ve began to participate more and even interact with others around campus. I believe that my outcome from IUPUI would be completely different if I had this concept from this course.

Another concept that we discussed was fixed mindset. An academic situation that relates to this concept was my overall view on assignments. This was mostly a personal challenge that contributed to my academic challenge. I dealt a lot with both of these mindsets when it came to my situation. When I began away at school, I constantly kept the same fixed mindset about almost everything that I encountered. I’m not sure why I felt the need to limit myself with this specific mindset. This fixed mindset made me think that I had a max capacity to what I could learn. Having a fixed mindset just comes with negative effects, as shown in the chart under Appendix B. An article I found called Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset: Your Success Hinges on It, included a lot that relatable information. To begin, the article starts off by asking you, what exactly is a mindset? I really feel that was important for anyone that is really trying to understand what their mindset is. As discussed in class, a mindset is basically a simple idea that has a very great effect on a person’s life. It’s the attitude that you adopt towards any of your abilities, intelligence, and your potential. I lacked a strong mindset that was mostly fixed, and rarely included any growth. When you have a fixed mindset, you essentially believe your attributes are fixed and unchanging (“Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset,” n.d.). This mindset came across me once my grades began to fall. I had this thought that I already tried all I could do, even though I didn’t. I lived with this fixed mindset for the longest time and never knew I even had it until this course. Having the discussion about this in class is what made me realize that my mind was stuck during that period of college.

Growth mindset was something that I really didn’t begin to have until the end of Spring 2018 semester to the Fall 2018 semester. This course most definitely progressed me from moving out of a fixed and into a growth mindset. When you have a growth mindset, you tend to see your levels of intelligence, skill, talent, and success with more capacity to grow (“Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset,” n.d.). I realized that I don’t have a limit on how much I can learn and possess. In an article about growth mindset it states, “Students with a growth mindset understand they can get smarter through hard work, the use of effective strategies, and help from others when needed” (“Growth Mindset,” n.d.). I’ve really improved my growth mindset, especially at IUN, because I no longer have those negative fixed thoughts. This has helped me work hard and get the help and resources I need to fix any complications I come across. I believe that if I knew this concept and more of the information we discussed now, I would have been able to easily maintain my grades and overall be happier when I was away. This statement applies for the concept of fixed mindset as well.

Another important concept we discussed was goal setting. This really wasn’t a challenge for me, I just never really practiced it. I never created goals because my mindset was stuck in failure. Within our discussion of goal setting, we went deeper into S.M.A.R.T. goals. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. helps develop a plan to make your declared goal attainable. The best thing about this is that you can use it for anything in your life. In an article discussion S.M.A.R.T. goals, they state, “The S.M.A.R.T. system can work for the following: a new job, losing weight, personal growth, and even starting a business” (“What are SMART Goals?” n.d.). I’ve incorporated goal setting into almost everything in my academics now. When I have assignments due, I create goals to make sure I complete everything on time. I’ve grown within in this concept a lot since my first year of college. As the article I found stated, it works for pretty much anything and I was able to even incorporate it into my workplace. I constantly create attainable goals for myself and make a plan to make sure these goals are always met. It’s helped me advance a lot mentally and physically.

The final concept we covered that I would like to talk about and relate to is attitude. This topic really stuck with me because attitude is the reasoning for 75% of the decisions I make in my life. I base certain decisions off of the way my attitude is. For example, once I established an unlikely attitude, I stopped going to class and doing homework. My attitude was a big contributor to my academic crash during my first semester of college. When I think about anything involved with college, I always keep my attitude as positive as I can. When I do this, I usually receive a positive result out of it anyways. Overall, I’ve been really trying hard to work on keeping a positive attitude for any situation, not just academics. I’ve come to find out that keeping a strong positive attitude helps you achieve so much more. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel. Awarding and celebrating achievements are something we often talked about in class. In an article about attitude it states, “You can help create good self-esteem for yourself and those around you by celebrating life’s accomplishments” (“Creating a Positive Attitude.” 2016). This is just one step to keeping and maintaining a positive attitude.

Appendix A

Chart Describing the Sense of Belonging Within Students

Appendix B

Chart Describing the Negative Effects of Fixed Mindset Along with Positives of Growth


  1. Creating a Positive Attitude Towards School. (2016, June 01). Retrieved December 9, 2018, from
  2. Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset: Your Success Hinges on It. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2018, from
  3. Growth Mindset. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2018, from
  4. Sense of Belonging in the College Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2018, from
  5. What Are SMART Goals? (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2018, from

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