Bounce Back, a year-long speaker series sponsored by Boston College’s Office of Health Promotion (OHP), aims to educate students on exercising resiliency when faced with adversity.
The first talk in a series of five was held on Monday. The event was titled “Need help bouncing back from adversity? We’ve got you covered” and primarily consisted of conversation that centered around the topic of resilience.
The series is a part of OHP’s Resiliency Project. The project began this fall with the goal of increasing resiliency in students before referring them to University Counseling Services (UCS), which has seen an increase in visits this year and recently added two staff members. Research findings suggest that a decrease in children’s resiliency has led to an increase in mental health issues.
Other elements of the project include a resilience video project, in which staff, faculty, and students will discuss their personal stories of resilience. The video will be posted on the UCS website. There will also be a student panel on Nov. 9 in which the panelists will share their stories of resilience.
Makayla Davis, the assistant director of OHP, led the conversation by explaining the national phenomenon of college students’ lack of resiliency. She talked about how students may build unhealthy support systems and instead of focusing on their problem, add to it by ignoring it.
“Everyone can find their own type of resilience, it’s just sort of a matter of knowing where to look.”
—Makayla Davis, the assistant director of OHP
The three pillars of the program as a whole are improving self-care, making social connections, and managing stress. The events aim to fulfill these by exploring, planning, and reflecting. The program supplies students with coping strategies for stress and issues that they may face and focuses on discussion-based learning that yields connections with other participants in the discussion group.
After discussing common issues like stress and anxiety, Davis steered the conversation toward personal struggles and victories. She allowed attendees to speak about their personal experiences. Many of the students’ trials with adversity were similar to those of other students in the room.
Using the space as an open forum, the students continued to share their personal experiences and gave advice to one another on how to deal with their respective problems. The group environment brought an alternate perspective, letting those with who had dealt or are dealing with similar problems bring their strategies.
While investigating what it means to be resilient, the group concluded that resilience could take many shapes and forms.
“Resilience is not something that there is a fixed amount of, there is no set amount,” Davis said.
Each student had the opportunity to define resilience on their own and was encouraged to shape the definition off of their own experiences. In defining resilience, the group agreed that they found themselves more comfortable with facing their problems head on.
“Everyone can find their own type of resilience, it’s just sort of a matter of knowing where to look,” Davis said.
Featured Image by Keith Carrol / Heights Staff