It feels good to be in control. That’s what many students look forward to in college: being in control of their time, their social calendar, their academic responsibilities, and their emotional balance. They want to celebrate their independence and entrance into adulthood. Things happen, however, that can derail that feeling of control, and success in college can hinge on expectations versus reality and how you bridge the gap.
Success and Wellness Coaches Help Keep Small Problems Manageable
Juggling competing priorities is challenging. Do I work on my paper, or do I go to my organization’s meeting? Do I go to exercise class, or do I visit a friend who needs someone to talk to? Do I sleep all day after a big night out, or do I spend the day exploring new sites? Do I watch Netflix in bed all day, or do I go for a walk?
These aren’t life-altering decisions, but the never-ending need to make seemingly insignificant choices that shape your life can be a challenge and can challenge your sense of control. Add major decisions to the mix and you have an opening for stress and anxiety that doesn’t rise to the level of formal counseling but should be addressed.
Universities across the country have recognized the problem and implemented coaching programs to help students address minor to moderate emotional and wellness concerns and stay healthy.
Health and Wellness is the USF department that offers free success and wellness coaching to all fee-paying students. Coaches are trained and certified through a nationally accredited program to help students set and achieve wellness goals. The message is that all students can take control of their physical and mental well-being and create the college experience they want.
Here’s What a Success and Wellness Coach Can Do:
1. Help Students Take Control
Wellness coaches work with students to begin taking steps to make the changes they want in their lives. Coaches allow students to control how that experience will look for them. The ultimate goal is to instill confidence.
Whether it’s a process to develop steps to manage stress, become stronger in time management, or establish a pattern for better sleep, a wellness coach is there to help students take that process from thought to action.
2. Help Students Visualize Success
Motivation for change often is linked to the ability to see and believe in one’s ability to change. Coaches ask students to spend time visualizing and exploring what it would be like to work toward and reach their goals. How would it look for you to be more physically active? What would having better time-management skills feel like?
This type of visualization is helpful because it clarifies goals that have not been fully formed. A common example is when people say they want to work out more. Working out can be anything from dancing to weightlifting to playing tennis. “Working out more” will look different to each person, so being able to visualize your process is helpful in beginning the change.
3. Help a Student Target Change and Prepare for It
Coaching addresses the needs of a student who wants to make life and behavioral changes, identifies those changes, and explores the student’s readiness to make them happen.
4. Teach Students About Campus Resources
Wellness coaching is designed to supplement students’ use of other fantastic resources on campus such as the Counseling Center, recreation facilities, and Student Health Services.
Coaching definitely is not intended to replace clinical services, but more exercise and proper nutrition are among potential goals that can go a long way toward reducing the need for clinical services.
What You Can Expect During a Coaching Visit
Turn to a success and wellness coach for help and you can expect nonjudgmental and unbiased support as you move through your change and growth process. You will learn more about yourself, your strengths, and how you can draw on them to help accomplish your goals.
Sessions typically last 30 minutes to one hour, and students can meet with their coach as often as they deem necessary.
Learn more online about what to expect during a visit and how to sign up. If you have questions about any of the health and wellness resources offered at USF, feel free to contact the office of Health and Wellness online or by phone at 813-947-3684.
About Shaun Richardson
Shaun Richardson is a Health and Wellness Coach at USF. He has been working at the university for 3 years and enjoying life as a Bull. He graduated from University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in Sociology and then obtained a Master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University. He is passionate about behavioral health and wellness strategies, particularly stress management techniques. Shaun enjoys working with students to help them find manageable and sustainable ways to address stress.