Successful athletic coaches often insist that as much or more learning and growth comes through challenges and losses than comes through wins and championships. While we endure and recover from the COVID-19 circumstance, may each of us reflect, learn, and grow through the challenges brought on by these unusual events.

One area of growth each of us is challenged by is our patience. Leo Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace, reminds us:

 “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”

How are you doing with these? Let’s pause to consider how the patience groomed through our shared pandemic experience can be a necessary tool for the adult learner.

The challenge of returning to school to begin or complete a degree amidst the busyness of life can be daunting and will require patience in three specific ways.

Patience with the process

Modern-day convenience has challenged our notion of patience with so much readily available to us whenever we desire. But can you do that with a degree? Can you simply order one up and have it delivered by Amazon? The notion that a degree can be quick, painless, and immediate without a broad range of liberal-arts requirements shortchanges the learning processlearning that remains in demand. As CUW’s Vice Provost of Student Enrollment and Engagement, Dr. Michael Uden, Ph.D., suggests:

“It is most unusual in this twenty-first century for someone to hold a single job or work within a single field for a decade, much less an entire work career. Having a broad skill set and understanding of ideas as well as a diverse range of experiences better equips an individual for whatever may come, professionally and personally. Individuals educated in the liberal arts have stronger communication skills, excel at critical thinking, gain interpersonal skills, and have problem-solving acumen to apply in a wide range of real-world settings. Many jobs of the future do not even yet exist. Employers recognize that a liberal-arts education creates a workforce which is able to achieve today as well as to navigate the future of tomorrow.”

Patience with circumstances

Many who return to school must blend class schedules and studies with job and home requirements. The circumstances of life, changing programs, work pressures and opportunities, and financial stress present opportunities to display patience. CUW Student Success Advisor for the Mequon Center, Mary Phillips, shared her comments on assisting students:

“We have all been challenged mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Students have faced a series of disruptions to their learning and ‘normalcy.’ I ask the students to be patient with the changes being made to our CUW programs. I encourage the students to reach out to their support systems which include faculty and staff with concerns. We are here to support each student and help alleviate stress to ensure the student’s success. Change is always scary. It is even harder at a distance. However, through patience and communication, we can get through this together.”

That patience developed through adversity often points us to other people. As adults navigating the degree process, circumstances often require patience with those around us. Learn to work with a sense of the demands and needs of others. As one shows patience with others, that patience will often bring a valuable return.

Patience with Ourselves

And finally, as a viral pandemic created uncertainty, fear, and disruption in our lives, it has also provided the opportunity for each of us to look inwardly where many of us most lack patiencewith ourselves. As we learn and grow through adversity, adult students should show patience through assignment deadlines, compromised timelines, and ability to grasp complex concepts. After all, if the God who created us and created us with individual and specific design can show patience, understanding, and forgiveness, shouldn’t we exhibit the same? Show patience and confidence as God tells us:

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

As you consider your path as an adult learner, visit Adult Accelerated Admissions for assistance and guidance complemented with great patience to achieve your individual goals as an adult learner.

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