Having a ‘Marathon Mind’

For the majority of gifted students, the transition from middle school to high school is a rough awakening, to say the least. “Gifted” referring to one’s ability to excel in the academic courses our school system requires. For gifted students, the majority of school concepts ‘click’, which allows for them to experience natural academic success without the need to study. That natural ability can only carry someone so far. There is a point in life when that natural talent simply isn’t enough. Students labeled as “gifted” may especially struggle when they encounter academic difficulties.

Most of the time, this is because there is a significant increase in workload and complexity of school concepts. When this moment of realization occurs, the student will notice that their methods in the past are no longer sufficient. They must adapt and adopt new methods of learning. In the long run, the academic journey of a student is dependent on his or her unique mindset when it comes to learning. 

A study among college students affirms that a student’s mindset is a “buffer against demotivation.” The growth mindset is the belief that a student can improve and grow, regardless of their current situation. It may sound like a pointless optimistic state of mind, but it is important to convince oneself that he or she is capable of success. 

The academic course of a student is like a marathon, where athleticism is the student’s natural ability to learn, and the motivational thinking of successful athletes is the same as the growth mindset of successful students. Natural athleticism can only get an athlete so far, just as a student’s natural ability to learn can only get a student so far. When determined athletes are stumped, they attempt to try new things: a new routine, a new coach, new drills, or new equipment. Students should have a ‘marathon mind’ and attempt to do the same. They should adopt new studying methods, a new routine, a new tutor, etc.

These strategies are difficult to execute in real life. A good starting point would be within the classroom. Asking for help will allow students to “discard preconceived ideas about their abilities” and “learn more about themselves and what they are capable of.” Because honors students are inexperienced in academic difficulties, needing to ask for help is not a normal occurrence. It may seem embarrassing, but it is a necessary change that will allow for a student to succeed..

Speaking of classroom setting, “Afternoon Class,” a short film by Seoro Oh, is a great visual representation of burnout. In this film, a boy struggles to stay awake in class, not unlike the rest of his classmates. His body is physically exhausted while his mind runs rampant with existential thoughts and concern for his classmates. Burnout from the burdens from school is very common, and it’s important that students learn how to counter, prevent, and recover from burnout.

“Afternoon Class” by Seoro Oh

The poem “A Work of Artifice,” by Marge Piercy, describes a bonsai tree that is cut down and is forced to exist within a margin of its full potential. This can be compared to a person whose mindset is a hindrance to their growth as a student.  Once again, the ‘growth mindset,’ or ‘marathon mind,’ is crucial to the success of a student. Adapting to this “new normal” is challenging, but needs to happen eventually. Students will just have to accept that they need to change to keep up.

One thought on “Having a ‘Marathon Mind’

  1. I really like this blog post because of the different images and videos that have been put in here. I makes me want to do my own research about the topic. It also really like this mindset and I think that it will really help me in life.


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