Administrators stress life growth, resilience

By Jason Patrick

Joe Rode, left, and Archie Wilmer talk about challenges all people face and the importance of having GRIT: growth, resilience, instinct and tenacity to overcome them.
Sondra Falcon/The Collegian

Joe Rode, NW student development services vice president, and Archie Wilmer, NW interim business, technology and transportation divisional dean, taught students about what it means to have GRIT: growth, resilience, instinct and tenacity Feb. 22.

“A solid definition of GRIT is doing the right thing for the right reason and not giving up over a long time, overcoming your obstacles and learning that failure is not a permanent condition,” Rode said. “Everybody is faced with challenges in their life, but how you handle those obstacles that get in the way of your long-term goals decides if you have GRIT.”

The presentation included a video clip from, where University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth discussed her research on GRIT.

“GRIT is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” she says.

Duckworth says talent, or IQ, and GRIT are not related, and no clear evidence exists that shows how people develop GRIT.

Wilmer said he faced many challenges while in school at West Point from his first real experiences with snow to wanting to quit to almost being kicked out.

“It wasn’t until I actually grew in my GRIT to say, ‘Now that I’m here, I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity, and I’m not going to let go of it until I’ve exhausted myself and I’ve poured out everything I can to demonstrate that I can finish this,’” he said.

Wilmer was the first black graduate of West Point with a doctorate in applied mathematics.

Cat Stevens, NW student and administrative assistant, gave ideas on how to maintain GRIT through challenges.

“Find a reason outside yourself,” she said. “Find people that you want to do it for besides yourself.”

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