What I Wore | Growth Mindset

cream and black outfit

I learned some stuff about triangles tonight, so I decided that now I can do a little blogging, as a treat. Just a chatty post for those of you who read the blog – I’m not going to promote this one on IG or anything.

First of all, I wanted to post because I really liked my outfit today and I feel like it’s one that perfectly embodies my winter style. Cream and black is definitely my go-to during any season, but I especially like how chic and hygge it feels during the winter. One of the biggest surprises of my wardrobe this year is how clutch this cream corduroy skirt has become. It’s much needed in the winter to balance out my (frankly, enormous) collection of black pants, and it’s even great in the warmer months thanks to the light hue (see here how I styled it for a summer outing). Before getting this skirt, I’d been really wanting a denim one, but actually the corduroy is better because it’s an office dress-code approved fabric, so I can wear it to work as well as casually.

Anyway, one thing I wanted to talk about tonight is how I’m trying so, so hard to approach my upcoming GRE test with a growth mindset, but I’m still struggling. I should contextualize by saying that over the course of my life, I have internalized the idea that I am bad at math. I always assumed that this was a fact about me that was objectively true. I went into every math class with the assumption that I was going to be bad at it, because that was just the fixed composition of my brain. Good at English. Bad at Math. I’m sure I’m not the only woman who has gone through life with this horrible misconception of herself.

While it’s true that I have historically struggled with math, I have to constantly remind myself that it’s not true to say that I am bad at it. This is where having a growth mindset comes in. A fixed mindset says, I am bad at math, but a growth mindset says, I am not currently comfortable with this task, but I can learn and develop the skills I need to get better at it. I had a terrible moment on Monday evening when I fully bombed a GRE practice session (literally got all the math questions wrong except for one, which was just a lucky guess) and I cried and panicked and kind of broke down. Those are the moments when it’s so easy to just give up and say, this is a thing I am bad at, so why am I even bothering?

So even though I had an emotional breakdown over a math test, I still felt proud of myself, because I moved on after feeling my feelings and got back to work on another prep module. And you know what? I learned some useful strategies, and I went back to my practice test the next evening and got a few of those incorrect math problems correct (not all of them, but hey – still progress!).

I know it seems silly to be so worked up over the GRE when most graduate schools these days don’t even require it or place a ton of importance on it in their admissions decisions, but this is the first major academic hurdle for me since graduating from undergrad, which, if you’ve read any of my recent posts about deciding to apply to grad school, was a pretty traumatic experience. It’s hard for me to believe that I am capable and deserving of the things I want. I am constantly filled with fear that someone will “find me out,” when in fact, there isn’t anything to find out. I went through a tough personal time during my senior year of college and it effected my GPA. That’s the truth, and it’s not exactly incriminating. It is certainly not a fact that should grip me with fear every step of this application process. Trying to maintain a growth mindset has helped me deal with these emotional obstacles just as much as it’s helped me with algebra.

That’s all for tonight. If you read this post, thanks a bunch. Even just knowing that folks are out there reading what I throw into the void of the internet makes me feel supported. ❤

Outfit Details:

Cardigan: Everlane Texture Crop Cardigan (finally restocked in most colors/sizes!)
Top: Elizabeth Suzann X Alabama Chanin Marlena Tank (no longer available)
Skirt: Everlane Corduroy Stamp Skirt
Boots: Everlane Day Boot

This post contains affiliate links and gifted items. All opinions expressed are my own.


5 thoughts on “What I Wore | Growth Mindset

  1. Renée, You’ve got this. Seriously! Just keep doing as many practice tests as you can between now and your GRE test date. And don’t feel like you have to do a whole practice round each time. It is very productive and useful to do partial practice tests if that is all you have time for any given day. A little bit of effort (practice) each day goes a long way when trying to learn something new and prepare for an exam. It’s just like anything else in life – practice makes perfect! Case in point – just look back at your style evolution. You’ve said it yourself in some of your more recent blog posts about how much your style has been elevated over the past few years. And this is not solely because you can spend more money on wardrobe items, but because YOU NOW KNOW which items will serve your style aesthetic and life the best. And you now know these things because you have been focusing on your wardrobe goals and practicing how to best achieve those goals. I know your blog posts are style-centric and here we are talking about math… but it’s all about how much time and effort we invest into “something”, whatever that may be at any given time in our lives. You always looked lovely and now your lovely look is more elevated because… practice makes perfect! 😊❤️ And practicing for your GRE exam will also make perfect. If you really think about it, math is either right or wrong so if you know the rules and formulas it’s not all that complicated. Wardrobe science, on the other hand, seems much more complicated because it is so subjective yet you’ve mastered that in a big way. You’ve got this!!! 👍🏻❤️😃


  2. You’re a rockstar! I completely understand the GRE math struggles. Been there. I think what’s frustrating about it is that the math skills you’re tested on in the GRE have no bearing on how well you’ll do in graduate school – especially with the field you’re pursuing! I have not used algebra a single time since taking the GRE eight years ago. You’re almost to the finish line! Good luck!


  3. I have lived with the same Bad at Math complex. Went through the GRE prep and test too, which was really painful for someone with that particular hang up. It took a lot of unlearning to get to a place where I didn’t shut myself down before even trying. Kudos to you on the perspective shift!


  4. The wonderful thing about grad school is that they’re looking for the people who have promise for their particular program, which generally includes PASSION about the field, not just the ones who test out best on paper. Grad school ends up being an odd group of bright misfits. Undergrad skills alone do not really prepare one for grad school, and they LOVE a student who took some time off and had a real job between. Grad programs largely require much more self-direction than undergrad ones and an ability to fail with grace and try again. And again. And again. Many folks who go directly from undergrad to grad haven’t learned these skills.

    You’ll get in. You’ll do great. And the GRE? It kicked about half of our butts so bad we didn’t want to reveal our scores. 🙂 But, did not prevent us from getting in! So…deep breaths, do your best, and maintain the growth mindset (because THAT is the thing you’ll need in place for grad school). And once you do get in? It’ll be hard work, and you’ll still likely have moments where you feel like an imposter (because EVERYONE goes through that during grad school, it’s basically required), but it’ll be fun! And you’ll be around other misfit imposters to support you. 🙂


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