To succeed at uni you need resilience – here’s how to get it
If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.
– Dr Suess
Succeeding at university has always required ‘resilience’ – which has a few definitions but basically means the ability to bounce back from difficulties, or to adapt well and persevere in challenging circumstances.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has tested our inner strength in many ways. Dealing with the challenges of lockdowns, isolation, online study, and financial and emotional worries has required bucketloads of resilience – and we’ve all coped differently. Unfortunately, it seems as though these kinds of stresses will be with us for a while to come, even as we look to enjoy more on-campus learning and social activities in Trimester 2.
If you’ve been struggling with any aspects of your study or personal life, or you’re worried about how you’ll manage blended study this trimester, the good news is that you can learn resilience. You just need to develop and build habits that increase your mental flexibility and strength.
How to become more resilient
To develop your resilience, it’s important to take care of all aspects of your life – your study, mind, body and environment. Here’s some tips:
- Set yourself achievable study goals and break down tasks into manageable chunks. Our online Study workload planner will give you a sense of control, and help you keep your study time balanced and productive.
- Only focus on what you can control. Write a list of anything you’re currently worried about and divide it into two columns: ‘control’ or ‘no control’. See if you can find workable solutions for those things in your control. Hopefully this will help you to stop your panic and avoid catastrophising. You can also download some brain-friendly apps such as Smiling Mind or Headspace.
- Remember that perfect can be the enemy of the good – sometimes ‘good enough’ will do. Read more about the trap of perfectionism.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise, in whatever way works best for you! Deep breathing is another effective way to ease stress and re-oxygenate your cells during times of stress. And nothing is more important than a proper night’s rest – just remember that good sleep habits will help you visit the land of nod.
- Take the time to declutter your study space. If you’re going to be spending lots of time at your desk, it’s important that it’s a comfortable and a pleasant space to be in.
Help is here!
We’ve put together a few resources you can use to develop your resilience and succeed at your studies:
- Learn resilience in just 10 minutes a day with Cloudy – a resilience toolkit that measures your current levels of resilience, and then gives you tools and techniques to develop in targeted areas. It’s as simple as reading articles on six key areas for building resilience and then doing some specially designed habit-builders.
- Create your own resilience plan with our free FutureLearn course Professional Resilience: Building Skills to Thrive at Work. Over two weeks, you’ll build resilience capabilities, skills and self-care practices that will help you to meet the challenges of study, your professional career and everyday life.
- If you’d like to talk to someone, Deakin’s Counselling and Psychological Support (CAPS) team of highly skilled psychologists and social workers offers free and confidential support to students located in Australia. Book online to have a real-time telehealth appointment.
- You can also visit our Ask Counselling blog, which is for students experiencing a range of personal or study-related issues. It contains questions asked anonymously by students and answered by Deakin counsellors.