Our second cohort of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars program is taking part in a conservation summer immersion program on the Colorado Plateau, and they are guest blogging here at L-C-Ideas to keep us up to speed on what they’re doing. Please check back for more!
Day 24: Growth Mindset
By Phyllicia and Katherine
In this last week before our internships, energy was focused on wrapping up final projects. Groups met in the morning hours to formulate ideas and execute plans on how certain conservation science topics tied into the variety of subjects covered over the immersion program. These ideas are like loose threads that the final project has us weave into a beautiful tapestry. Amidst the scramble to get a final project together, it is a good reminder that we are creating something, and that there is inspiration in the process and product.
After some hours of working on the project, a nice lunch break was enjoyed by some of the habitat fragmentation and corridors group at 1899 Bar and Grill to treat ourselves. Soon after we headed to Cody Canning’s second workshop on stress, anxiety, and status. He started out by reviewing with us how mindset, fixed and growth, are defined; why is it important for conservation scholars to know this? Challenges are an innate part of life, but especially within the conservation realm. All the people and current projects going on within the conservation realm that we have been exposed to in the past weeks really highlighted the obstacles that they have to overcome from various factors. With a growth mindset, we would be equipped to see the issues as challenges to learn and overcome, not an indicator of our failure. So what are some factors that may prevent a growth mindset from taking root? Stress, anxiety, and status. While stress can be a positive force, more often than not it can have a negative impact on our physical, mental, and emotional state. What makes it different from anxiety, which will be discussed next, is that it is temporary or episodic. Anxiety on the other hand is a long-term and chronic fear about anticipated ill; it is a feeling that is almost always negative. Both stress and anxiety can play up in our concern about status. Looking back into American history, when the United States declared independence from England, there was a major shift in social dynamics. We went from an aristocracy, where one was born into privilege, to a meritocracy, based on one’s merit and achievements. One’s status is not just determined by merit though; socio-economics factors, gender, race, and luck are all players in that. Still, average Americans still concern themselves with status, fueling it with stress and anxiety. For the college student, this manifests in worries over grades, friends, appearance, future prospects, and financial troubles among others. How can one be in a growth mindset, seeing challenges as a learning experience when there are so many present worries? These are points to reflect on and hopefully bring about change to live a more meaningful life. Presently, a more positive energy can be brought to our internships by way of changing our mindset to grow.