“Akala ko po kasi kaya ko pa but I realized na hindi po pala talaga para sakin ung course na to.. pasensya na po ma’am…,” was Des’ message left in my inbox last month.

Des, a third year student,  said she was dropping out due to stress, pressure, and mental health.

Last week, two more students cited the same reasons for calling it quits,  adding to the growing number of students dropping out of our university.

One student even mentioned that their parents supported their decision to drop out. I couldn’t  more agree with a colleague who noted that resilience is what young people today are missing, and that it’s too easy for the millennials to give up.

A study on resilience published in July 2021 by the National University of Singapore and its collaborators reported that their participants, who are university students,  viewed resilience as an “enduring and withstanding trait” that is essential for university students to survive. The researchers further cited that resilience is built from  from intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors that enhanced resilience included desire to succeed and motivation. Extrinsic factors were relational in nature, and friends, family, teachers, and religion were found to boost resilience.

So who or what should we blame for this lack of resilience among students?

Should it be the students themselves for not being able to develop the trait because they want instant gratification, and hence, they always choose easy tasks and apply their “life hacks”?

Or should it be the teachers for not modeling resilience themselves and not giving challenging tasks to develop independence, self-reliance, and critical thinking among their students?

Should it be the parents who have no time to build their children’s confidence at home because of their busy lives?

Or should it be the schools and universities for failing to incorporate resilience in their curriculum and develop resilience programs and training despite the many drop outs who cited mental health issues as the culprits of why they’re putting their dreams on hold?

Instead of blaming anyone, let’s work together to address this issue and equip our students with the necessary skills and mindset to face challenges and overcome adversity. Building resilience is crucial for students to succeed in their studies and future careers.

As teachers and professors, we should model resilience ourselves and inspire the younger generation around us, instead of judging them as “weak.” We can also give them challenging tasks to develop the so-called higher order thinking skills.

Parents can also take time to build their children’s confidence at home and teach them how to handle stress and adversity. Everything begins at home as the old cliche said.  Schools and universities can incorporate resilience in their curriculum and develop programs and training to help students build resilience.

Most importantly, let us SHOW, not, TELL, what resilience is. After all, it’s us who labeled  them as “mahihinang nilalang!”

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