President’s Corner

We’re all in this together!

Engr. Maricris C. Vines, ASEAN Eng

National President, 2019-2021

The 15th Chemical Engineering Week theme “Chemical Engineers at the forefront of Disaster Resilience and Economic Recovery” is fitting to what we are currently encountering. This unprecedented downturn disrupted not just the health sector but the economy, the environment, the industry, moreso, the future. It has also impacted us in a way, mentally and emotionally.

How do we stay resilient in these trying times? Let us try to be PICHE.

Place a purpose in your life

As we face any crisis or tragedy, finding a sense of purpose can play an important role in our recovery.

This might mean becoming involved in our community, cultivating our spirituality, or participating in activities that are meaningful to us. Purpose is personal. It sets aside outside expectations, it exists within us, and is called forth by the situation we’re in.

Instill optimism

During this pandemic, staying optimistic can be quite challenging, but an important part of resiliency is having a hopeful viewpoint. What we are dealing with, may be difficult, but it’s important to remain hopeful. Having a positive attitude does not mean ignoring the problem in order to focus on positive outcomes. We just need to have a perception that setbacks are temporary and that we have the skills and abilities to combat the challenges we face. And since I’ve mentioned skills and abilities, we should,

Continue Professional Development

It helps because when we’re stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect our own needs. Losing our appetite, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis situation. Instead, focus on building our skills and abilities, even when we’re stressed. Make time for activities such as attending free webinars and read about emerging technologies and specialized fields of chemical engineering, it will be beneficial for physical, mental and emotional health.

Have a strong social network

Developing a strong social network is important. Having caring, supportive, and trusted people act as a protective factor during these times. 

While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one won’t make our troubles go away, it allows us to share feelings, get support, receive positive feedback, and come up with possible solutions to problems.

Embrace Change

We all know that the only thing that is constant is change. We just have to accept it and be flexible. Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, we’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. If we’re being resilient, we’ll need to utilize these events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions. We should be able to adapt and thrive because some may be crushed by abrupt changes.

Like the healthcare professionals, military and government officials, we, Chemical Engineers also served as frontliners during the height of the pandemic. No profession is better than the other. All of us have our own purpose and tasks to fulfill. We may not be very visible as frontliners but we help sustain the needs of people. I am grateful to each of you who dedicated their time to ensure that the availability of food, commodities and other necessary services.

Resilience may take time to build, so don’t get discouraged if you still struggle to cope with problematic events. Everyone can learn to be resilient and it doesn’t involve any specific set of behaviors or actions. When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back, slow down. Assess what is before you. Resilience can vary dramatically from one person to another.

This pandemic crisis is very disheartening and may be overwhelming. Let us make an effort to view these situations in a realistic way and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem. You are not alone in this battle. Let us join hands and make the Chemical Engineering profession significant beyond 2020.

We’re all in this together.