Social Comparison Theory and Mindsets in Everyday Life

On my first biology test in college, I received a 76%. I wasn’t sure what I did wrong, but all I knew was that I did worse than everyone else. I utilized upward social comparison to compare myself with people that did better than me on the test. Although this made me feel inferior, it helped me to reach my goal of excellence because I challenged myself and spent more hours in the library studying for the next test. I was able to keep going and not bring myself down too much because I have a growth mindset, instead of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset is when you believe that you can achieve success through the advice of others, hard work, and trying new strategies when something doesn’t work. As a result of my first test grade, I went to more biology office hours, I studied more in the library, and I sought study advice from friends who had done well on the first biology test. If I had a fixed mindset, I would be more likely to give up when obstacles come my way and less likely to work harder after failing once. If I believe and tell myself I have what it takes, I know I can do better on succeeding tests. Learning about mindsets and motivation in my social psychology class is incredibly useful for my success in other classes because I perceive better my own abilities. I realize that after setbacks, the right approach is to improve my strategies for studying and not just believe that I”m not smart enough. After I received my first grade on my biology test I was upset, but after reading about mindsets in social psychology, it made me more aware of my own growth mindset and it was easier for me to bounce back from that disappointment.

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