Strengthened by adversity.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” C. S. Lewis


When was the last time you had to start over?

This was a big week back at St. College College — and all colleges across Ontario. Students were returning to school after a 5 week province-wide strike.

An arduous situation that was well beyond student control.

So it was essential that I foster a safe space for students to transition back onto campus and into my psychology classroom. To help them begin again.


My intention was to bridge the gap from stress to strength.

To remind them of times in their lives where they had experienced the stress of starting over. Including the strike. And triumphed despite all the suffering.

For it is in our dark times that we discover our light. And it is in our pain that we find our power. Difficult times force us to dig deep for courage and reach out for support.


And ultimately discover a strength far greater than any adversity.

This week I have never been more proud to be a college professor.

This week students taught me.

What strengths have helped you through challenge & adversity?

50 thoughts on “Strengthened by adversity.

Add yours

  1. Oh Andrea, this is an amazing post. What a beautiful and wise way to bridge their return to class. I’m looking a lot inside at what I choose to focus on inside – and thank you for the reminder here. One thing that helps me is gratitude when I’m starting over – being thankful for every last, little bit opens my heart to what’s next. Perfect timing bc I just spit up with a partner yesterday. 🤗 Love to you Andrea and to all students you touch. Debbie

    1. Sending you love & comfort as you start over Debbie. Gratitude for what is rather than what could have been is both a strength and a vehicle for moving forward. Thank you for sharing! I always love hearing from you. ♥️

  2. Your students are fortunate to have you as a professor! What a beautiful, teachable moment – for all!

    What has helped me is the courage to be flexible, to not have to be “right” and to see the beauty in the learning…no matter the rocky road!


    1. Thanks Sandy! I love how varied your strengths are. Which is so essential given the diversity of the challenges we face. Flexibility is key!

      And thanks also for your kind words. If you could only see how much I smile just arriving on campus. I have worked in so many places — but nothing has ever felt like home the way my college classroom does.

      Enjoy your Sunday!
      Andrea 😊

  3. Oh, wow! You learned from your students. That’s a really great thing, ma’am. Once I advised my professor to wear the helmet. Still, he doesn’t wear. But you wanted to learn. Beautiful.
    Keep going, ma’am. Live well. 🙂

    1. Or as Carl Jung would say “The Shadow.” Something that rings true for many of my strengths too. Especially with optimism. But oh well. I’d rather be disappointed than have no hope at all. Enjoy your Sunday! Dark night & all. 😉

  4. Greetings College Professor. Your “bridging the gap from stress to strength ” lecture and the ability to “discover a strength far greater than adversity” was an incredibly enlightening blog. While you say your students taught you this past week, your teachings and insights always provide me with “food for thought”. Thanks, dear daughter.

  5. Our professor Dr. Andrea ,
    You are my strength ..
    You inspire us ..
    Motivate us ..
    Encourage us so much …
    Life is becoming more positive and joyful.
    Thanks for teaching us Dr. Andrea.

    1. Amen! Hardships erase the memories of our strength — for just a moment in time. It’s the enCOURAGEment of others that remind us of our (long forgotten) courage. That has been hidden deep within us, all along. Waiting, ever so quietly, to rise up and roar again. 💃🎉

  6. Thank you for an amazing post! I too have been trying to map out things that will help lead me from stress to strength.
    Random question – I really like the layout of your blog – what wordpress theme are you using? Thanks! 🙂

  7. …. many actually… troubled childhood (well, I guess nobody is ever perfectly happy with it…), feeling weird through the world… but ultimately this led me to more self consciousness and confidence. Paradoxically I am grateful for the hard times that prepared my inner self for life.

  8. When I reflect on my life, as I often do now in my advancing years, I recognize that every spurt of personal growth occurred after plodding through a dark time of adversity. Adversity spawned my growth, every time. It’s no fun at the time, but looking back it’s a beautiful thing to behold.

    Good for you, taking a major educational adversity and turning it into an opportunity for you and your students.

    1. Thanks Jerry! For your support & for your message. Your strength shines through in your coaching philosophy. All the fruits of your overcoming adversity. Wishing you a week filled with joy & opportunity. 💫

    1. Thanks for sharing Brigid! I always love hearing from you. The serenity prayer has helped me through (and up and over) too. Every word reminds us to let go & let God. For who are we to know our ultimate destiny. ♨️♥️

  9. Wonderful post. Your students are lucky to have such a compassionate professor! I believe what helps me most is a sense of gratitude and making an effort to recognize those perfect moments in every day.

    1. Gratitude is everything. I so agree! Especially for the small joys & the little moments. Like this one. Right here. Right now. Your comment about my compassion in the classroom brought joy to my heart. Thank you Alexis. So much. 🌹

  10. Everything you wrote about rings true and completely describes the changes in the past year. We can either choose to make no change or choose to change. We can either resist change or decide to go along. Everything around us changes. The seasons, the rivers, the mountains. And so why do we think we don’t need to change as humans?

    Sometimes change comes about from drastic events, like the loss of a loved one, equivalent to the impact of an earthquake. And sometimes change comes about from smaller events, like a friendship that has faded away. But each of these events prepares us for the next. When we let go of our version of the way things must be, it allows us to see the way things can be.

    Thank you. The world needs more college professors like you.

  11. I just the other day said to two different people that adversity is a great way to gain strength and growth. That comes from observing my own life. (smile) Awesome post! Thank you!

    1. Now it’s my turn to smile! Thank you for sharing your own experiences & reflections on this topic. Together we remind others of where we’ve been. And help build a bridge of love to the other side. 🌹

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: