Resilience: Starting School With a Kick Butt Attitude!

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What I love most about working in a college is the September fresh start. The exciting beginning of something new, the wonderful feeling of “I’ve got this!”, “it’s gonna be different this year”, “I’m going to be way more organized this time”. You get the chance to try new strategies which will take a wee bit more effort than just positive thinking. You have to do things differently if you want a different outcome.

The biggest risk to your success is the mental baggage that you are carrying around, probably subconsciously, in that wonderful brain of yours.

Often the focus is on all of your…

…and virtually none of the positive things that you have done to get this far in life and all the way to college! Good work BTW 🙂


So, I wanted to start this academic year off by kicking the butt of self-doubt and procrastination hard with mind control….mahwahahaha >;)

No seriously, we can master our minds!

The first challenge I have for you is to begin the process of thinking about failure in a different way. To get you started on this epic mind shift, start by working on thinking about failure in a different way, like these successful folks do.


Don’t Give Up!

One of the most important skills to build on your road to achieving your goals is resilience. Before you apply your time management strategies, before you start attacking your textbook readings, even before you start your classes, start thinking about building a mindset that is ready for the resilience building journey.

PsycNerdy Time!

Brain Nerd

In modern research psychology it has become popular to use the word GRIT to describe a form of resilience. Dr. Angela Duckworth is a pretty incredible social psychology researcher on GRIT and she describes it as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” I think it takes resilience to bounce back from failure to persevere through adversity and maintain your focus and passion on the path toward your goals. If you want to learn more about GRIT, check out her TedTalk!


Courage, bravery, backbone, spirit, “strength of character”, willful, moral fiber, nerve, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, resolve, resolution, determination, tenacity, perseverance, endurance, guts & spunk!


“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving,

we get stronger and more resilient”

Let’s Get GRITTY and Resilient!

I want to use this awesome award winning video short created by Alan Barillaro, a Canadian and a Sheridan College graduate. The short involves a hungry baby sandpiper learning to overcome her fear of the water.

This video is such a brilliant way to show how people can learn their way through their fears and create the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.

RW_work_trysomethingnew.jpgBuild Resilience, Prepare Your Brain!

Think about a time in your life that was particularly challenging or demanding, especially one that was difficult emotionally. Think about how you handled that situation and eventually came through on the other side.

Answer these questions:

  • What was your goal?
  • What was the outcome?
  • What obstacles did you have to overcome?
  • What unpleasant feelings and thoughts do you remember having in the situation?
  • Who, if anyone, did you receive external help and support from?
  • What specific attitudes and skills helped you cope with the situation?
  • How would you rate your resilience in that situation?
  • Why wasn’t it 0%?
  • What strengths and personal qualities helped you?
  • If it wasn’t 100%, how could your resilience be improved during similar situations in the future?
  • Based on your experience how might you advise someone else to cope with a similar situation in the future?


You Are Powerful.png

Since life is not going to get any easier, we need to get stronger to deal with it. 

The big secret to success is sticking around long enough to see all your hard work turn into something great. Essentially, getting your butt handed to you and saying, “ok, that happened, sigh, now what do I need to do next?”

Please feel comfortable emailing me or commenting on this post. I love hearing your feedback and suggestions for topics!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

Goal Setting: Why am I Doing This Again?!?!

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BalanceLast week I wrote about the value of having a “fight song” and many of you emailed such great songs. Thanks so much! I will be compiling them in the near future and putting them up here. Please keep sending!

So, fighting for your goals? This really requires good time management skills, strong emotion management ability and a keen awareness of the importance of life BALANCE. At Mohawk’s Start Smart series I presented around the topic of Time Management (check out my presentation) and the strategies that can keep you on track. In a few weeks, I will be writing about Emotion Management Strategies, so please check back. Maintaining a life balance is the most critical part of process of achieving your goals, especially in the difficult times when you are wondering “why am I doing this?!?”

Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.  Robert Fulgham

Today, I want to emphasize how much maintaining a balance of work and play is to your success. Yes, you need to have fun even in the busiest and most stressful times in your semester (October and November). Before your semester gets too busy, make a list of all the fun things you enjoy doing, exercising, pub nights, video games, serial watching Netflix, reading, sleeping….everything you like to do. I know, it sounds strange to make this list, but in my experience, students tend to forget what they love doing and get stuck in “I should be studying”, avoiding anything fun, not giving their brain a break and not rewarding themselves for completing assignments. This just leads to being overwhelmed.

Work First; Play Later

So, before you really start fighting for your goals, start with planning for infusing fun into the fight. Really try to get your work done and reward yourself with doing things you love…completely guilt free. Who wants to keep working toward goals in a painful way?!? Ugh, I procrastinate wildly when I stop having fun.

If you find that the balance is tipping too far to spending all of your time having fun…ask yourself “why am I procrastinating”, “what am I afraid of?” and “why is school important to me?”. In a few weeks I will be sharing strategies for dealing with Procrastination…just in time for peek work avoidance season for students 🙂

Again, I always love to hear from readers!

If you have any topics you would like me to write about, please pass them along.

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

 eSuccess-Coach * Counsellor * Passionate Advocate for Student Success