Tips with Trish: Superhero

Tricia Borelli (TheLorian)

Dear Trish,

In high school, I didn’t doubt myself.  I excelled in sports and got really good grades without even trying. Life was easy.  I admit, when I came to college I was kind of cocky.  I’m pretty sure my confidence even annoyed people.  That all changed after Organic Chem.  Since then my confidence has really taken a hit.  I’ve started doubting myself even beyond academics.

I know it’s normal for things to get harder in college but I’m worried about getting too “in my head”.  I need some tips on changing my thinking and building my confidence, especially as it relates to my end of the semester exams.


Becoming a Doubter

Trish says:

It’s impressive that your confidence didn’t take the hit during Moser’s Gen Chem class freshman year. That is usually when I hear about this problem. J  And since you shouldn’t need me to give you the speech about college being harder than high school, let’s just get right to the confidence building.

First thing to do if you are already going to all of your classes, doing all of your homework, making good use of your professor’s office hours and going to SI sessions, is to acknowledge that school is challenging.  You worked hard in those pre-requisite classes to get into Organic Chemistry so you are clearly capable.  It’s supposed to be hard.  Try not to compare your high school self or your Gen Chem self to the person who is taking the current class.  And keep in mind that harder classes mean more effort and practice.  When we spend more time learning we get to know something better which helps us gain more confidence.  Get on it.  You clearly have big plans for your future so power on. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that even though confidence is not a physical thing, we do know it when we see it.  Think positive and practice a narrative that corresponds with that.  Channel your inner self to be confident. Fake it ‘til you make it, so to speak.  Visualize someone you know that exudes confidence.  Think about how they look, how they speak, walk or move?  Be that person. 

If you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you may recall the scene (or scenes) where Dr. Amelia Shepherd, neurosurgeon, stands like a Superhero before going into the operating room to perform a major surgery on her mentor. The Super Hero pose is a high powered pose in which you stand tall, chin up, feet apart and hands on your hips.  Power posing was first introduced by Amy Cuddy of Harvard University in 2010 when she declared that standing in a “high power” pose increases testosterone and decreases cortisol levels as well as giving the feeling of having more power and more confidence.  (Fusion Rehab and Wellness, 2016) So according to some science, our posture influences our brains and our feelings. 

So my best advice for you is to get out of your head, practice hard and stand tall.  Oh and good luck with that chemistry exam.



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