Author: Melissa Boles

There is a Glennon Doyle quote that I feel like someone has traced into my skin over the last few years. “These things will be hard to do,” she says. “But you can do hard things.”

I moved across the country in 2014 to attend graduate school. I knew no one in North Carolina, and flights from the area I was living near back to Washington state were over $500. The day my father boarded a plane back to Washington after moving me to school was one of the hardest days I’ve ever had. Three months later, I was considering giving up and moving back to Washington. A mentor told me, “You have to give it time. I’ve seen you go through tough things. This is just a moment.”

That person was right. I made it through my master’s degree and felt incredible. But those tough moments weren’t over. My first full-time student affairs job. My community work. Taking on a job in workforce development. Each change or tough moment that has come towards me, I’ve come through, though not always unscathed. And to be totally honest with you, I’m not necessarily sure how I did it.

I think that’s what resilience is - this ability to move forward when it’s hard and it feels like you can’t. And the ability to come out the other side, even if you’re not sure how you did it.

Having spent nearly ten years working in higher education in some variety, I know the heart and soul it takes to work with college students every day. I also know the toll it takes on you from putting your whole self into other people. I know it can be hard, but I also know it can be so fulfilling.

I worked in higher education because it was fulfilling. And while I chose to leave (though I hope only for a short time), what I learned there permeates each decision I make in my current career. The fulfillment I got from higher education isn’t always something I find in my current job. So for me, I focus on resilience. I focus on being able to do hard things.

Whatever you’re processing through today, remember why you’re in the space you’re in. That you’re doing something that impacts someone else or allows you to be an ally to many. Remember that you’re moving forward even when it doesn’t feel like it. And always remember - you can do hard things.

About the author: Melissa Boles serves as the Program Manager for Workforce Southwest Washington.