The potential ice or snow event did not happen at Mother So Dear, but it is once again really cold. I was walking around campus this morning and saw a lot of big coats and scarves on students. The sun is out, which helps a little, but it is in the low- to mid-30s.
Stopped by Starbucks for a meeting and to take in the atmosphere. It was not as crowded as I expected it to be at 11:30. There were plenty of students sitting at the tables and seating groups with ‘midterm style’ fashions (running pants, sweats, ponytails for girls or 2 day stubble for guys), but there were still seats available. Most of the students looked focused but not fretting about exams or classes. I saw a student I knew and asked about her spring break plans. She said she is headed to a warm destination. My hunch is a lot of our students are heading farther south. You could tell who looked to be leaving campus by the students toting suitcases or waiting for car services in front of the Benson Center.
Turning to news of the day, Wake Forest joined “The Campaign to Change Direction,” a national initiative to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness and wellness. As part of the collective effort led by Give an Hour, Wake Forest University joined 50 other campaign partners in this effort with its pledge to support this initiative through campus programs and services focused on mental health.” You can read the full news story here.
Parents and families, you can encourage your students to “help change the direction” of mental health by taking a pledge on the Change Direction web site. The simplest pledge is one that anyone can do: Learn the five signs of emotional suffering so you can recognize them in yourself or help a loved one who may be in emotional pain. To learn more or to take a pledge, visit www.changedirection.org. And the University Counseling Center announced a second Mindfulness Awareness Group that will be starting after Spring Break. If your Deac is interested, feel free to share this Mindfulness Awareness Group spring flyer.
Finally, if your Deac is coming home to see you for Spring Break (as opposed to going on a trip with friends), think about having some good conversations about his/her time in college. Our students are no doubt learning a lot in the classroom and are mastering academics, but it is just as important that they have time and space to reflect on who they are as people. You can prompt your student with particular questions (see some suggestions below). It may be that your Deac doesn’t know the answer yet (or isn’t comfortable sharing his or her thoughts yet, particularly if your student thinks you wouldn’t like to hear them). But help plant the seed that introspection and reflection are going to be vital to your student knowing who he/she is (and isn’t). Asking the right questions of yourself can shed light on so many things, and can help shape future decisions so you are moving in directions that will bring you the most fulfillment (vs. pursuing careers/hobbies/people that aren’t really where your heart is).
Here are some examples but you can add your own (thanks to the Mentoring Resource Center for some of these prompts):
When and where are you the happiest?
Which things/experiences/people are most meaningful to you?
What is the last class/idea/possibility that has truly excited you?
What is your biggest “a-ha moment” or lesson that you’ve learned about yourself this semester?
How would you complete this statement: “One year from now, I want to look back on my Wake Forest college experience and say “I’m glad I did…” and/or “I learned…about myself.”
Are there new experiences you are afraid of trying? What is keeping you from doing those? What might you learn if you try it?
— by Betsy Chapman