Darden’s 2nd Annual Resilience Week took place 22-25 October, offering students, faculty and staff a chance to reset, regroup and reenergize.

The week kicked off with a First Coffee where cold-pressed juice and a healthy breakfast from The Juice Place were served. Other events throughout the week focused on resilience through faith, meditation, dance and yoga. Counselors shared tips for managing anxiety and stress and second year students offered their personal advice for coping with the demands of recruiting and summer internships. Members of Darden’s military community shared their stories of coming home after deployment and LGBTQ students shared their experiences of coming out to family and loved ones.

In the evenings, faculty hosted “fireside chats” where they discussed managing others, balancing business and family, practicing self-care and leading with empathy. The week’s programming concluded with Yappy Hour where dog owners were encouraged to bring their pets to Darden’s Flagler Courtyard for an animal therapy session.

We caught up with the Resilience Week Student Ambassadors to find out more about what Resilience Week means to them, which of the week’s events were their favorite and how the week’s lessons will likely impact their professional and personal lives moving forward.

What was your favorite event and why?

Ryan Smith ’19: My favorite event was Coming Out and Coming Home. We had four awesome students panelists, two who spoke about their experience coming out to their families and two who discussed their experience coming home from deployment. I enjoyed listening to everyone’s unique experience and the additional presentations from UVA’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) added a lot of value to the session.

Beatriz Santa Maria ’19: Keep Calm with Psychologist, Debbie Wilson, was amazing. Not only did she touch on points about anxiety and stress, she also provided us with skills in order to manage scenarios and situations that produce those feelings.

Allison Shimamoto ’19: I really enjoyed all of our events, but one even that blew me away was Yappy Hour. For Yappy Hour, the brainchild of our OSA advisor Ed Warwick, Darden dog owners, family and friends brought their pooches to serve as therapy animals for an afternoon. Darden students could pet the dogs, play and enjoy hot cocoa. I got so much joy from watching how carefree the dogs were. Be on the lookout for more Yappy Hour events this Spring!

What does Resilience Week mean to you?

Kyle Richards ’19: Resilience Week means two major things to me. First, it means understanding and becoming aware of our peer’s challenges and ways they may be struggling. Second, it is about realizing the value of self-care in professional settings, where it may appear to be undervalued or even ignored. For me, this week is about solidarity and support and knowing that we are all going through different things at different times.

Beatriz Santa Maria ’19: Resilience Week is a reminder of how important mental health is, because we often forget. For me, the week’s programming makes wellness a priority every day, and it helps me decompress and recharge mentally.

Allison Shimamoto ’19: It was Resilience Week that taught me about wellness and self-care and how important these tools are to be an effective leader. Resilience Week is also about remembering that mental health is something that affects all of us. Each of us comes to Darden carrying artifacts of the lives we’ve lived, and there are Darden students who are struggling with mental health. We owe it to the Darden community to learn how to better support one another.

What was your biggest takeaway from Resilience Week?

Kyle Richards ’19: In many of our events, we heard incredible personal stories from our peers. My biggest takeaway was how brave our classmates can be to share their challenges, their deepest feelings, their uncertainties. It is very inspiring to see their strength in being so vulnerable.

David Yoken ’19: Professional success requires clarity of mind and resilience of spirit. The tools and skills taught throughout the week will help me continue to bring a positive attitude to the workplace, which will directly improve my ability to drive results.

Allison Shimamoto ’19: Resilience Week has taught me the truth of that old adage, “Put your oxygen mask on before helping others.” To lead and be successful at the pace of rapid innovation in business today requires stamina, empathy and flexibility. I know that I need to take time out for self-care and to prioritize my physical health, but this week reminded me to think about the welfare of my neighbor – you never know what the person next to you is struggling with, so check-in. And, last but not least, that resilience is not about never falling down – it’s about how to get back up.

Interested in last year’s event? Be sure to check out the Discover Darden blog and the Darden Report for full coverage. We also recommend this Poets & Quants feature on Resilience Week founder, Catherine Aranda!