Building Resilient Students in the COVID Era

This summer I was hosting a virtual leadership summit for the Kentucky Student Council Association. During that meeting, a student leader named Kerri noted, “COVID has been the best thing to ever happen to me because it has forced me to focus on myself, as opposed to being so worried about others.”

She went on to say her anxiety had decreased and her energy had increased. All in the process of making her a better student leader for her campus. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized in that moment that the pressure some students are facing is so severe that any break from it – even through something as horrifying as a pandemic – might be a relief to them.

You and I know students pretty well, and the pressures differ from student to student, but the issue that Kerri highlighted teaches us a good lesson about resiliency: sometimes students need a chance to simply slow down.

I saw this with another student I worked with on our new TEEN TRUTH film, which focuses on academic pressures. Linda was so stressed about getting into college that she was missing out on enjoying life. You can visit teentruth.net/linda if you want to watch her new film. We also offer it in our custom school assembly program, as it speaks very well to the pressures students face.

As conversations with Linda and Kerri developed, it became clear that refocusing on taking care of themselves made them more resilient, and ultimately more successful.

This is something that we can teach to all students. 

Additionally, if you want even more ideas on how to develop resilient students visit teentruth.net/resilientstudents and download the first two chapters of my book, Building Resilient Students From the Inside Out, for free!

Building resilient students in the COVID era will be a huge undertaking, so in the meantime, let’s take our lead from Kerri and Linda, and remind our students (and staff) that it’s okay to slow down.

JC Pohl, LMFT
President & CEO, TEEN TRUTH

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