Helping Students Find Their Wellness Balance

Parent Blog:

For this posting, Exploratory Studies academic advisors Meggie Metcalf and Victoria Silvestri share some ways to help students focus on wellness. In addition to their advising and teaching duties, as chairs of our departmental Wellness Committee, Ms. Metcalf and Ms. Silvestri also look for ways to support our staff in meeting personal wellness goals.

In Exploratory Studies, we encourage students to focus on their overall wellness during their transition to NC State. When we hear “wellness” we typically think about eating healthy and exercising regularly. While these things are definitely important, viewing wellness more holistically means also considering your mental, physical, emotional, and social health. Beginning college can be a very stressful time for students and parents. A 2013 survey reported that over 50% of college students have experienced “overwhelming anxiety”* and the Counseling Center at NC State has reported similar numbers. Often that stress and anxiety can permeate into all areas of personal wellness; learning how to recognize and manage your stress is an important step in improving your overall wellness. Common stressors for college students might be:

  • relationships (family, friends, roommates, romantic partners)
  • course requirements
  • managing time
  • adjusting to being away from home
  • finances
  • pressure to work toward a “good” job
  • fear of missing out

Every student responds to stress differently, but creating healthy, balanced routines can help eliminate some of the stress your student is experiencing. First year college students often realize they now have much more “free time” than they had in high school and they do not have anyone except themselves telling them how they should use their time. Good time management is key to feeling healthy and happy, and managing the stressors that inevitably will arise. Exploratory Studies academic advisors discuss time management in the USC 101 class and/or in individual advising appointments.

NC State provides LOTS of great support and resources for our students to make healthy choices and manage stress.

Tips and Resources for Students to Reduce and Manage Stress:

  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep: plan your schedule to complete coursework and studying during earlier hours to ensure you can go to bed at a reasonable hour
  • Build healthy relationships and get involved on campus: research shows students who are involved on campus have higher GPAs and are more satisfied with their campus experience than students who are not involved
  • Counseling Center drop-in groups: stress management & meditation
  • Counseling Center appointments: personal, group, substance abuse, academic, career, and veteran counseling
  • University Recreation: gym facilities, group fitness classes, intramural sports, outdoor recreation, wellness workshops and goal-setting programs
  • Student Health Services: full spectrum of medical care including dentistry and nutritional counseling
  • Campus Dining: resources for choosing healthy options for on-campus dining, dietitian available for questions and suggestions
  • Exploratory Studies Resident Mentors: a great peer resource on time management strategies and campus support programs

Suggestions for Parents:

    • Check in with your student about their overall wellness; ask them if they are working in exercise, down time, and socializing in their daily and weekly schedules
    • Encourage your student to explore new opportunities on campus so they receive a well-rounded college experience and create a balanced lifestyle
    • Remember that “success” looks different to every student; it’s not always about what is on the transcript but experiences that help them develop confidence and self-awareness
    • Encourage your student to talk with their advisor and to utilize campus resources for support when they are feeling stressed
    • Offer support during stressful times, but try not to add extra pressure to the situation
    • Some students feel pressured by unrealistic expectations or pushed to pursue a major that may not be their primary interest
  • Trust the Process: let them discover for themselves
  • Celebrate your student’s accomplishments no matter how big or small!

* 2013 American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment

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