What is the Importance Behind Resilience?

A Response from Dr. Janice Lawrence

UNB Biology Professor and Assistant Dean of Science

I've faced challenges before that have required me to go away and lick my wounds for a bit and eventually I've come back, otherwise, I wouldn't be here! But I just want people to know that it's ok to step back and gather your strength and go at it again. I genuinely hope people don't ever quit but it's ok. I remember during some of the really challenging times of my Ph.D. in oceanography, my mom called me and said that "Janice, you know that you don't have to finish this, right?".

At the time, I was just gutted. Like I really needed somebody to help push me forward. But I think at the end, she really just gave me the biggest gift which was saying "you don't really have to do this, we're not going to be disappointed or ashamed”. You are not letting anyone down. This is really really difficult." And I think that her giving me permission to leave and give me a perspective that this journey was my decision to make actually made me feel more powerful.

All women in STEM have a few things in common: they require resiliency and grit. On the journey there, we're all going to have different reasons, backgrounds, and pathways. But if you're going to be a woman going into a STEM field, you need resiliency and it's ok to back down too sometimes.

You don't have to be resilient 24/7. You also have to take care of yourself. The only way you're going to make it through the long haul is to take really good care of yourself because there's no end of challenges.

You could call anyone who treats you horribly because you’re a woman a million things like “narrow-minded” or  “misogynistic”. But that doesn’t get us anywhere. Getting mad at individuals just perpetuates and contributes to ongoing negativity. It’s important to be resilient and take the time to stop, befriend, and educate someone to open their minds up.