Careers Service



Resilience is about your ability to deal with and bounce back from problems and setbacks. It’s learning through failure, as well as success.

Being able to face your challenges and not give up easily, and to persevere when things don't go as well as you'd planned, are all examples of resilience. It's also about accepting responsibility for your mistakes and being able to move on and adapt.

It's important to know the limits of your resilience and ask for support if you need to.

You need resilience most when:

  • something is making you unhappy or stressed
  • you need to adapt to a new situation or challenge
  • you feel that the only way to solve your problems is to drop out 

As a resilient person, you can focus your thinking and take control of each situation. You become more able to work out what needs to be done and make best use of those around you to get there.

How can you become more resilient?

These are some examples of what you can do to build resilience, both in your academic life and outside university. 

  • Reflect on your successes and times when you’ve shown resilience in the past. For example, when you studied harder after disappointing grades, or when you worked to improve your application and interview technique after you didn’t get the position you’d applied for.
  • Develop strategies to help you when you’re feeling upset or stressed. For example, using a planner to keep track of assignment deadlines, keeping a journal, taking time out to relax, practising mindfulness, exercising or talking to friends.
  • Try to stay flexible and positive. Even the best-made plans can be disrupted by unexpected events or realising more time is needed on a topic than you originally thought.
  • Ask for feedback and constructive criticism from lecturers, friends or family. Reflect and take on board any valuable suggestions. It often helps to listen to alternative perspectives.
  • Build a support network and talk to people when you need to, for example, your personal tutor, or counsellors within Student Wellbeing. Asking for help or support is a positive step - it’s not an admission of failure but a recognition that you don’t have to deal with things alone.
  • Have a look at the resources at Be Well@NCL, a collection of books to help you understand and manage your mental health and wellbeing.
  • Challenge yourself and try out new things, such as work experience, joining a society or starting a new hobby, eg through Give it a Go in the Students' Union, to help you build confidence.
  • Try not to compare yourself with others - what works for one person might not work for you. 

More help: TARGETjobs - Resilience:the ability to cope with setbacks

Related skills: confidentfuture-focused

photo of plant growing in desert
Watch the SRS webinar on building resilience