How To Overcome Setbacks

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By Caroline LeKachman (NYU ’22), Wasserman Career Ambassador

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a whirlwind of a year. In times like these, I’ve found that having the Violet Ready Skill resilience has been more important now than ever. Resilience is all about leveraging your strengths, experiences, and relationships to stay motivated and persist through setbacks, and these past few months have definitely been a testament to the importance of that for me. Between programs getting cancelled and adjusting to this new remote world, I’ve worked on my resilience a lot. 

So, read on for 3 lessons I’ve learned about resilience so far:

  1. Take this opportunity to explore something new

Do you ever wonder how your life might be different if you had chosen a different major or career path? In early May 2020, both of my plans for the summer were cancelled. Disappointed, I felt all my hard work spent during the spring semester to secure plans had been for nothing, and I didn’t want to get back into the process of searching for something else.

However, I realized that that moment could be the perfect opportunity to try something new.

While my previous plans working in education were out of the question, I’d always wondered how I might enjoy working at a non-profit or in human resources. So, I reflected on how my current strengths and experiences might apply to those fields, went on Handshake, and sent in a lot of applications! I ended up finding something to do, even though it was not initially my first choice. If I had not started to search for opportunities that were outside my comfort zone, I might have never found out about the educational nonprofit I am currently working for that turned out to be the perfect combination of my interests in education and counseling. 

By using my current strengths and experiences to explore opportunities outside my comfort zone, I was able to remain resilient in an uncertain internship market and discover a new interest in educational non-profits!

  1. Lean on your network

Besides thinking outside the box during my search for new opportunities, I have also been leaning on my network during this time. Sometimes looking on the bright side and seeking to try something new isn’t always easy. Having someone to talk through your frustrations with can be comforting.

So, I have been taking advantage of the career coaches at Wasserman. It has been nice to have my feelings validated, and the coaches have been able to give me some helpful suggestions about ways to grow in the career development process. 

And, just to plug: Violet Network, NYU’s platform for alumni connections, is another great resource for connecting with others during these times. You can find current NYU students and alumni who are on the platform specifically to help others. Under each member’s profile is a section with help topics and industry advice so that you can connect with those relevant to your interests and needs. 

Although you might think you are being more resilient by going at it alone, talking to other people can build your motivation and give you helpful insights. And, if you’re lucky, someone in your network might just know of an opportunity for you.

  1. Realize this is new for everyone. 

Finally, remember that these times are new for everyone. Everyone is adjusting, so be sure to be patient with yourself. Reflect on what is and isn’t working for you. Take breaks and manage your work-life balance so you don’t burn out. And establish short- and long-term goals to keep you on track. If anything, I hope that this blog post has been an indication that we are all in this together, so take it easy on yourself and stay strong! You’ve got this!