Rowan University junior Abby Broschard sitting outside.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Wellness Center. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanUWellness on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Abby Broschard sits under the Magnolia Gazebo.Meet Abby Broschard, junior Nutrition & Dietetics major from Ocean City, NJ (Cape May County). Abby hopes after reading the article,”The reader feels a bit of hope that the struggles they face and handle are not in vain. Instead, I hope it can feel reassuring to know our struggles are rather a fundamental process for character growth and development.”

No matter what circumstances, when faced with disappointment, pain or hardship, our response ultimately comes down to one of two choices: to open, or close. The things we experience are often out of our control, but we regain our autonomy in whether we allow ourselves to be pried open to the world around us, or if we, in quite understandable fear, close. I made a promise to myself that afternoon that no matter the unknowns that headed my way, I would be someone who opened.”

This quote is from a letter written as a parting gift from a high school English teacher. She was one of the first who helped me understand how to perceive my circumstances and take on challenges within my life. Referring to our natural responses to circumstances as ‘to open or close’ resembles closely to research conducted by Carol Dweck, who has introduced the concept of identifying the traits of a “fixed or growth” mindset. In “Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives,” Maria Popova explains Dweck’s research:

“A ‘fixed mindset’ assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled. A ‘growth mindset,’ on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities,” (Dweck, Popova, 2014).

We are all amid one of the greatest unknowns in our lives thus far, and navigating our lives everyday is an incredible feat within itself. We must take ownership in our direction, even if it means dancing along in the shadows of our uncertainties. Further, in order to heal, grow and thrive under any circumstances, we must acknowledge our hardships, learn from these experiences and go on to try again.  By trusting the process and honoring the progression of our lives, it is certain that we will be able to foresee light. ♡

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Story by:
Abby Broschard, junior nutrition & dietetics major, Wellness Center intern

Photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major


Dweck, C., Popova, M. Fixed vs. growth: the two basic mindsets that shape our lives. January 2014. Retrieved from