Here at Meredith, we’re experts at equipping women with resilience. It’s one of the factors that makes attending a women’s college so unique. And with the challenges women are currently up against amid the COVID-19 crisis, there’s never been a better time to consider applying to one.
The final jobs report of 2020 produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics uncovered a staggering find: women lost a net 156,000 jobs, while men gained a net 16,000. In other words, women accounted for 100% of the jobs lost in December.
The numbers were worse for women of color: the December report showed that 8.4% of Black women are unemployed, and the figure rises to 9.1% for Latinas – compared to 6.3% for women overall. Mothers were also found to be disproportionately affected, likely because of having to choose between work and caring for their children while schools were closed this past year.
The solution isn’t as simple as women learning to manage their time better or taking on less demanding roles. There is much to be done by employers themselves to improve these statistics: providing more flexibility, reimagining what productivity looks like during work-from-home, fostering more inclusion, the list goes on.
But resilience plays a key role here, too. As you consider different schools on your college search, it’s important to take note of how they will prepare you for difficult times like the one we’re living in.
Here are several ways we help build resilience in our students at Meredith.
Thanks to smaller class sizes at women’s colleges like Meredith, students have more opportunities to build relationships with faculty. These relationships not only benefit you while you’re on campus, but they also hold lifetime value in that you can always call or email your professors when you need a letter of recommendation or word of advice from someone in your field.
We are well versed in the difficulties women can sometimes be up against in their careers when it comes to negotiating salaries, landing leadership roles, confidently sharing ideas, and more. At Meredith, you get lifetime access to the assistance provided by our Office of Career Planning. These services include mock interviews, resume and cover letter help, job boards, and more. The career center is an excellent resource to get plugged into internships and job opportunities as a student so that you can enter the workforce with a strong resume after graduation.
A sign of resilience is being able to admit that you can’t do everything alone. Many successful people will tell you that one of the best things they did in college or early in their career was find a mentor. By providing guidance, encouragement, and advice, a mentor is someone who you can look up to and lean on through college and beyond. Since finding one doesn’t always come naturally, mentorship programs are a great resource for building resilience on college campuses. For example, Meredith offers Meredith Mentors to help connect you with an experienced student or alumna with similar interests and goals. You can also seek a discipline-specific mentor, like an older student, alumna, or professor from your program. These are especially helpful in fields such as STEM, where women commonly experience gender disparities.
Being a part of a community is important on a college campus and in life. Not just to give you a sense of belonging but also to help you establish connections and build allyships for personal and professional support. In other words, you need people in your corner who will be there for you when things get tough. At Meredith, there are clubs, religious and spiritual organizations, athletic teams, undergraduate research programs, campus events, and more to help you get involved, explore your passions, meet new people, and build your network of support.
If you are a student with a disability, having support in the form of a dedicated disability services counselor is essential to your success. At Meredith, our supportive disability services staff values diversity and self-advocacy, and works hard to create accessible, inclusive, and sustainable living and working environments on campus for all.
A student counseling center provides a safe place for students to talk throughout the academic year with professionals about various personal issues: stress and time management, relationship issues, anxiety and depression, and more. At Meredith, our counselors cultivate resilience in students through one-on-one mental health counseling and other helpful resources.
Even if you consider yourself to be a strong student in high school, you may find that some subjects just don’t come quite as naturally in college. And getting good grades is a bit harder when you throw in getting a part-time job, leaving home, making new friends, and many more challenges that come with the new transition. This is why a strong learning center or peer-tutoring program is important to your success. At Meredith, tutors are currently-enrolled students who have excelled in their coursework and have a record of outstanding performance. Sessions are free and can be easily scheduled online.
You’ll inevitably face challenges throughout your college experience and beyond. Both successes and failures are a part of the journey, but having resilience means being able to fall down and get back up again. Sometimes on your own, but more times than not, with the help of others. After all, one of the best ways to become strong is to surround yourself with strength. And at Meredith, there’s no shortage of strong women.
Learn more about how Meredith helps students go strong.