Thriving Together Series: What You Can Do with Mason’s Resilience Badge

Resilience Badge Logo

By: Philip Wilkerson, Industry Advisor, University Career Services

“Mason’s Resilience Badge was an inspiring experience that pushed me to become more aware of growing and being a better person…” – A Mason student who earned the badge

So, you earned your Resilience Badge. Now what? Mason’s Resilience Badge can open many doors to new well-being opportunities for you. After you earn the badge, you can use the skills you’ve learned to strengthen your resilience for the rest of your life.

I completed my Resilience Badge in 2021, while I was searching for resources to help equip my well-being tool belt during the coronavirus pandemic. As I navigated the modules, I learned valuable new insights about resilience. The learning experience affirmed my belief that through all the adversities I have faced, resilience has become one of my core values. As the last stanza of the poem “Invictus” states: “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the captain of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” I have come to learn that this poem, written by William Ernest Henley, arose from his own life experience as someone who suffered from tuberculosis of the bone that resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee. He crafted such empowering words through his own suffering and pain as a true testament to his grit, tenacity, and mental toughness. Those are all important aspects of resilience.

After I completed the training, I wondered what was next. Often when we learn something new, and it is fresh in our minds, we tend to be all about the new material we learn. As time wears on, we can get into the same old habits and the impact of that learning is not as strong. During a pandemic in which the demands of life, work, and family blurred, my resilience muscle needed daily exercise. So, I adopted a new mantra for my life. When people ask me how I am doing, I answer “thriving and surviving” which gives me space to celebrate my wins but also acknowledge that my shortcomings are not permanent and are about my growth as a person.  Resilience does not diminish the pain and angst of failure, but allows you to view them as challenges and obstacles to push through, rather than as an obstacle that completely stops you.

I also try to share what I learn with those close to me. So, because I completed my Resilience Badge, I made sure to share it publicly on my LinkedIn profile, as well as individually with students I mentor. The Resilience Badge is a valuable credential to share with others. It can open doors for you, both professionally and personally.

I also reached out to Elijah Young, a Mason student majoring in Biology who I’m mentoring through the Elena’s Scholarships for Student Well-Being program, and asked him to share his own thoughts on resilience. Here is our conversation:

What does resilience mean to you?

“To me, resilience means having the ability to continue working and living through the various trials that life can bring.”

How has your resilience been tested this past semester?

“This past semester, my resilience has been tested by the responsibilities that I have added to my plate. For my entire second year of college, I was part-time and online. When I came back to campus for the Fall 2021 semester, I was a full-time student working two jobs. I had a lot of opportunities to develop my resilience skills, as well as my time management skills.”

Now that you have completed this badge, what will you do to increase your resiliency for the future?

“Now that I have completed the Resilience Badge, I know that resting and taking breaks is productive. By doing this, I am giving my mind a break from thinking about what it is that I am working on so that when I come back to it, I am refreshed and ready to put forth my best effort.”

The Resilience Badge training was tremendously valuable to both Elijah and I, and it can prove valuable for you, as well. I wholeheartedly encourage you to earn the badge. Please realize the power you have within you to both thrive and survive in this world!

Reflection Questions

Regularly reflecting on the resilience skills you learned while earning the badge can help you apply your knowledge day by day. You can use these reflection questions to incorporate your resilience skills into every aspect of your own life:

  1. How can you tap into your resilience to help you achieve your work goals?
  2. How can you be resilient in your relationships?
  3. What is a recent adversity that has challenged your resiliency? How did you face that challenge, and how can that experience help you face future challenges well?
  4. How can you use your knowledge of resilience to encourage others who are going through challenges, without dismissing their problems?
  5. When you need a reminder to be resilient, what can help you do so? Is there a resilient person you admire whose example can motivate you? Are there resources such as songs or poems you can turn to for fresh inspiration?

Additional Resources

After you’ve earned Mason’s Resilience Badge, try these resources to help you tap into your resilience skills on a regular basis:

Write one of these Thriving Together Series features! We’re looking for contributions on all topics related to well-being. Read other Thriving Together Series articles here and contact us at cwb@gmu.edu for guidelines. Thank you for helping our Mason community thrive together online!