Courage to Persist workshop provides keys to success

Friday, April 7, 2017
Courage to Persist workshop provides keys to success

Mitchell Strong, Jr. speaks at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

On Thursday, April 6, Student Support Services (SSS) and the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services (OASIS) hosted The Courage to Persist, a workshop focused on how to overcome adversity to be successful.

Dr. Deena Curtis started the workshop with her activity and presentation titled “How to Tape an Elbow: Building Your Motivational Toolbox.” For the activity, Curtis asked each table of participants to work together to wrap a participant’s elbow in five minutes. Instructions were available, but all of the supplies were not. As a result, the elbows were not correctly wrapped. After the activity, Curtis revealed that she had the missing supplies. She emphasized the importance of asking professionals for help when you need it.

“There are people all around campus that have the tools that you need,” said Curtis.

Curtis then gave advice for how people should fill their toolbox. First, they should take inventory of what they are good at. Next, they should ask for help in the areas where they need it. She also discussed the importance of taking a break from studying to be creative and have fun.

Curtis encouraged everyone to remember what motivates them and let that inspire them to persevere.

“Success is simply based on getting up one more time than you fall,” said Dr. Curtis.

Next, Mitchell Strong, Jr., an accomplished professional athlete and coach, shared his personal story of overcoming difficulties.

Born in the Bronx, New York, Strong came to Nebraska to run track. Among other challenges, one of Strong's most defining memories related to the disappearance of a young woman named Candice Harms during his freshman year. 

Strong was suspected of involvement because Harms was seen talking to a black man before her disappearance. After the Daily Nebraskan published a story about detectives questioning Strong, people believed his questioning was a lead in the case and the campus became divided on whether or not Strong was responsible. 

As he continued to receive threats, Strong learned that investigators had found the killers. However, this did not make things easier for Strong as he chose to leave the country to run track in Australia.

Despite leaving Nebraska, Strong continued to face personal difficulties. Through his many hardships, Strong says he found five keys to success:

  1. Set achievable goals.
  2. Accept help.
  3. Practice, practice, practice.
  4. Setbacks will make you stronger if you rise to overcome them. 
  5. Do something you love because everything will seem easier.

“You have to take advantage of what the [university] offers,” Strong said. “You have to be open to all types of help.”

Strong recognized that persisting can be difficult, but reiterated to attendees that adversity offers an opportunity to grow as a person.

The next non-cognitive workshop entitled "Why You Should Have Your Own Personal Board of Directors" will take place on Tuesday, April 18 at 11:30 a.m. in the JGMC Unity Room.

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