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What is Resilience?

Resilience, according to RISE,  “is the capacity to make it through expected and unexpected adversities. In the process of navigating such adversities, we may be stretched, changed, and develop new skills.” In the materials industry, rubber is rated on how quickly it can bounce back from being stretched and changed. Did you know that we as humans have the same capacity to bounce back from challenges? The ability to bounce back is a critical life skill for students during the college years and beyond.

RISE seeks to build the physical, social, cognitive, spiritual, service, and life skills resilience of our students by providing them with building blocks that can be used to navigate life's difficulties.

Life will predictably have its challenges, some great, some small. We want to help students be prepared to not only "bounce back" and find equilibrium when stretched and out of balance, but also to grow stronger having successfully navigated those experiences, gaining wisdom along the way.


The Six Dimensions of RISE Resilience

RISE seeks to equip students with resilience skills across six different dimensions (each dimension has three core building blocks).

  • Engage in movement
  • Practice healthy eating
  • Prioritize sleep
  • Make time for relationships
  • Build social skills, listen well, and start the conversation
  • Develop empathy
  • Expect challenges
  • Adopt a growth mindset
  • Change irrational/unhelpful thoughts
  • Adopt a faith perspective
  • Engage in spiritual practices
  • Join a faith community
  • Consider your values
  • Serve in large ways
  • Serve in small ways
Life Skills
  • Take charge of your finances
  • Manage your time
  • Be discerning about your technology usage


The Resilience Landscape at Pepperdine

Life can be hard. Increasing numbers of students at Pepperdine, as across the nation, are struggling with mental health concerns.

In response to the Spring 2019 Student Health Survey, the general student body reported that:

  • 65 percent had felt overwhelming anxiety
  • 55 percent had felt things were hopeless
  • 44 percent had felt "so depressed it was difficult to function"

Those numbers are concerning, and we are glad that many students are accessing the available support. Through the Pepperdine RISE Program, we want to add additional resources that provide students with opportunities to develop coping strategies when confronted with typical stressors and during particularly challenging circumstances; the space to share and learn from a network of peers and mentors; and the support of a diverse community that nurtures and strengthens emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental health.