As a student, I remember enjoying college and academic life but there was equally always a feeling of stress surrounding the entire experience. There were multiple assignments due at the same time along with classes, research, studying, sports, and maintaining grade point averages to keep scholarships. In this constant barrage of “to do”, every moment of every day was accounted for. What kept me strong was my belief in my academic abilities and hanging out with friends and family. Today, we know that these social connections are important; however, we need additional tools to help us manage the ongoing and often intense nature of stress. In handling stress, individual and overall organizational resilience is imperative.
Resiliency skills in academic settings include:
- Academic confidence
- Sense of well-being
- Motivation to succeed
- Ability to set goals
- Strong connections with adults and peers
- Ability to handle stress
Academic self-efficacy is a critical aspect of building resiliency that doesn’t get much attention. How do we gain academic confidence, a sense of well-being or motivation to succeed? Seemingly simple, it starts with a belief that we can attain it. Anything in life, our thoughts and feelings about our ability to accomplish or not accomplish something drives our success. For example, in school, you may believe you are good at math so this belief gives you academic confidence, trust you will do well. At the same time, it drives the actualization of success because it sets behaviors in motion, like studying for the math exam, that contribute to success through focus and intention on behaviors that will lead to success. If you additionally have English Literature and you don’t enjoy this topic, in fact, you think you aren’t much of a writer and don’t like reading the course content, you likely will avoid time for reading the novels, be distracted while attempting to read them; finding extra time to meet friends instead of reading. The belief that you are not good at English Literature impacts your behavior and outcome. Here, the intention or rather the focused energy is on the opposite spectrum of a successful outcome of behaviors and circumstances. Your English goal, informed by your belief that you are not good at English, maybe just to pass versus getting an A, which aligns your success from the beginning with the attitude and belief of your skill level with this topic. Your positive or negative self-efficacy will strongly guide your actions throughout your academic career.
To shift self-efficacy and submit a positive perspective along the way, starts with self-awareness. As we begin to pay attention to what we are thinking and question where this comes from, if this serves us, and determine if we want to continue on that path or shift; this focus on self-awareness will impact our success with becoming more resilient. In the academic setting, this is important as stress is often daily. To handle this stress, we need to believe we can. This leads to academic self-efficacy. Once you decide to focus more on self-awareness, exploring emotional intelligence also becomes possible and is, along with self-efficacy, a crucial part of developing overall resiliency. It is difficult to have emotional intelligence until you can accurately understand what you are feeling and why. In the midst of stressful times, accurately identifying emotions becomes more difficult, which is why working on this skill becomes important when you are less pressured. Focusing on this skill constructs more defined and/or new neural pathways which makes emotional intelligence and resiliency stronger; thus, able to be relied on during stressful times.
As self-awareness, self-efficacy, emotional intelligence and resiliency can all be learned, academic institutions have the unique opportunity to not only equip students with the knowledge needed to be successful in their field of study but to be equipped to handle the stressful demands upon them along the way. Schools want to see students be successful. Resiliency not only impacts academic success but also student retention. With depression and anxiety prevalent and growing within college campuses, building resiliency is a known strategy for reducing mental health symptoms and increasing academic success as students are able to bounce back from poor test results, social pressures, and stay in school despite challenges.
As a student or parent helping a young person deciding which college to go to, there is an added benefit to choosing a college that focuses not only on providing a quality education but giving students tools that increase the likelihood of academic success, which can improve performance. The academic institution becomes a part of the student’s support network, becoming a protective factor, as well as strengthens the student’s academic performance by providing tools to increase their ability to handle stress in overall life and events. Academic institutions can utilize the Ajivar app to give students Posimations and Ooz challenges that strengthen self-efficacy and AJ Guide that prompt students to increase self-awareness and emotional intelligence through identification of thoughts and feelings. Over time, this collective usage improves resiliency. The more resiliency skills we have, the higher our chances of achieving academic and life success.
If you want a resiliency building tool that can give you an academic edge and is brief and effective, start using Ajivar today. Learn more about Ajivar here