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Learning to be more resilient at university

By Kelli Cole, 3rd-year Life Sciences student

Resilience. Many of us have heard this term before, yet if asked to define “resilience”, we may struggle to put our finger on exactly what it really is! What is it? How do we know when we have it? Why do some people have more of it than others? In an attempt to encompass multiple definitions, for this blog I’ll define resilience as “the capacity to maintain or regain psychological well being in the face of challenges.”

We’ve all been there. Reflect on a rough week. You know, one of those times where nothing seemed to be going right. Either you received bad news, didn’t do as well on a test as you expected, maybe you were frustrated with housemates and couldn’t seem to resolve your issues. How did you manage to pick yourself up again and get through those bumps in the road? Resilience. Resilience is not a rare ability! It is found in the average person and can also be learned and developed by virtually anyone. In university, there is no doubt that challenges are being thrown our way constantly… in every possible direction. As a student, being resilient is what will ultimately allow us to walk across that stage when we graduate!

Here are my top three tips that I believe are key in order to improve your resiliency:

 1. A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities – You are here for a reason. Something has gotten you this far already! Reflect back on those successful moments in your life and remind yourself how awesome you are! Everyone has their strengths and weakness, and we must use our strengths as our secret weapons in order to conquer difficult situations in our lives!

2. Seeking help and resources – never be ashamed of reaching out for help! Queen’s University has a vast number of resources, with wonderful volunteers that are just looking to provide support to all those in need of assistance. Whether you just need to talk or have questions in order to improve a specific aspect of your academics, there is a resource at Queen’s! We have all been there, and I believe that it takes true character to recognize that something isn’t working for you, and have the courage to do something about it! Take the initiative!

3. Take care of yourself – Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. For more information regarding this important topic, be sure to check out our resources for coping with academic stress. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.

So my take home message is: resilience is what allows us to come back stronger than ever after being knocked down by life. Rather than letting failure overcome us and drain us of all motivation, we must hold our heads high with confidence, seek help and resources when needed, and take care of ourselves. Those rough times are teaching us to be more resilient.

Photo courtesy of US Army Africa under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.