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Becoming resilient

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Published: 9 August 2021

Students smilling at computers

Resilience is our ability to adapt and overcome when things become difficult.

It’s a bit of a popular word these days, with companies going as far as to send their staff on training for it.

So how can you be more resilient and how will it help your studies?

Even if you’re not a naturally adaptable person, it’s possible to learn it.

Working on ways to overcome your challenges is one of the key skills you’ll need as a university student.

You might, for example, think a particular assignment is difficult. At that point you have two options: give up or find a way to succeed despite the hard times.

That latter option is the heart of resilience. So how do you learn and practice?


That might sound much simpler than it is, but the first thing you need to think about when you face a challenge is to not panic.

If you can’t remember the answer to a question right away it doesn’t mean you never will.

But if you start worrying, that negative feeling is what you’ll focus on.

To help you relax, make sure you have a good sleep routine, exercise a little each day and try out meditation or mindfulness techniques.

Think about your thoughts

A major way to fight against negative ideas is to be aware of them.

That’s the first stage in the process. Next comes positive thinking – the practice of purposefully bringing good ideas to your mind.

Pay attention to the way you think about yourself. If you find your thoughts wandering to a negative place, focus on a happy thing instead.

It could be a part of your University experience that you feel you’re doing well in at the moment, your family or even just a funny thing you saw on TV the other day.

It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s about controlling the emotion and not letting negative thoughts overwhelm you.


University is all for education, of course. But this tip is more about learning from your past than your studies.

Every ‘mistake’ is really an opportunity to change in the future.

The things we get wrong tell us how we should act when the same situation comes up again.

Resilient people pay attention to their mistakes, learn lessons from them and make a positive change.


Although a situation might seem overwhelming in the moment, it’s important to realise that nothing lasts forever.

For example, getting a lower mark on an assignment than you want might not feel great.

But it’s a single moment in time and one which, if you learn from it, need not happen again.

Understanding that a negative thing doesn’t have to overwhelm your whole day is the key to developing lasting resilience.

From the outside, it might seem that resilient people are born with the ability to stay positive no matter what.

In reality, everyone has to practice this skill to become good at it, just like anything else.

It’s worth taking the time to work on your resilience now. Not only will it be useful while you’re studying with us, but you’ll find it an invaluable skill once you enter the world of work.

What are your tips for building resilience while you study? Share them with your University of Sunderland in London community on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using #WeAreSunLon.