By: Elizabeth DiEmanuele
“We often don’t realize how resilient we can be,” says Kerri Latham, career counsellor at the Student Success Centre. “The truth is, the more times you fail, the easier it is to try.”
For the Student Success Centre, providing students with the resources and supports needed to develop their resiliency in university is important. One piece of this work is normalizing failure, uncertainty and other factors that contribute to wanting to give up on a goal, project, idea, or dream.
As Jenna Storey, academic skills program coordinator at the Student Success Centre, says, “Students often encounter challenges in achieving their academic goals. Resiliency in academics is about bouncing back after these challenges, and also recognizing and working through them by incorporating better academic and personal management skills.”
Most recently, the Centre led a digital campaign called #StickWithIt, a resiliency campaign that responded to student experiences the Centre addresses in its regular roster of programs, services and workshops. Staff have also participated in the CFMU’s MorningFile show, covering topics from Thriving in Academic Uncertainty to Developing Career Resilience.
In Kerri’s role, resiliency is an ongoing conversation and practice. Whether it’s through her one-on-one appointments, a career and employment session, or a Career Planning Group, one thing is clear: there is a shared uncertainty for many students around what they are going to do and where they are going to go next.
Kerri shares, “Though there are expectations, reflecting on your own priorities can help you stay grounded to pursue a direction that is best for you. Try not to get swayed too much by what others are doing. Know yourself and honour your own path.”
Knowing yourself does not necessarily mean “know your passion.” As Kerri suggests, “This puts a lot of false expectations on students, but the main thing is to pay attention to those seeds of interests and allow them to grow. Though it might feel like everyone has it figured out, there is always change, uncertainty and new directions. It’s okay to not know right now – uncertainty is to be expected.”
For students focused on what’s next, Kerri recommends breaking big decisions into smaller chunks; and when job searching, focusing more on the opportunities and skills students want to develop. She also encourages students to use their strengths and supports, like family, friends or mentors.
The good news is: students don’t have to go through it alone. The Student Success Centre is a place for students to explore, from the moment they accept their offer of admission and up to ten years after graduation. Upcoming sessions include:
Register for workshops or a career counselling appointment on OSCARplus.
Visit studentsuccess.mcmaster.ca to learn more.