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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Students inspired to find resilience

Published: October 25, 2013
Section: News, Top Stories

During the stressful time of midterms, students often need a reminder that others have successfully overcome the same struggles they face and that there are many established support systems available. Brandeis Academic Services and the Hiatt Career Center worked to provide a community forum for support Tuesday night at their panel, Bouncing Back: Stories of Resilience in College, Work and Life.

The panelists, who represented a variety of ages and experiences, each candidly shared an obstacle that they have overcome in their personal, academic or professional lives. The presenters ranged from Brandeis professors such as Susan Parker (MATH) and Andrew Koh (CLAS), to students and recent alumni, including Jermaine Hamilton ’14 and Keith Sherman ’13, to Lisa Schreider ’96, an alumna and founder of a personal concierge business.

Hamilton talked about his journey of dropping out of Boston public schools, earning his GED and becoming the first member of his family to attend college. He is currently planning to pursue a master’s degree in education so as to empower others in similar circumstances.

When asked what advice he would like to impart to his peers, Hamilton said, “Don’t be afraid to put your pride aside and ask for help.” He continued, saying, “Have a strong ‘why’ for anything you do.”

The concept of resilience was discussed by all panelists. Sherman defined resilience as “the ability to remain strong and optimistic” in the face of setbacks and challenges.

Others described what helped them build resilience and overcome their setbacks. Parker and Koh relied on the support of their family and friends to get through difficult graduate programs. Schreider worked several odd jobs before settling on a career.

“The things we face, we’re definitely not alone in facing them,” academic advisor Julia Moffitt said, explaining her rationale for planning the panel.