We’re in the home stretch of the Fall semester and winter break is tantalizing close, but there’s still a lot of work to be done before the last exam is submitted. On Wednesday, November 9, The Graduate College hosted the first Graduate Student Wellness Fair to help graduate students take control of their health and wellness for the rest of the semester and beyond. The Wellness Fair featured dedicated staff and students from across the university representing the many resources that our campus has to offer for practicing self-care, work-life balance, campus safety, and stress management, to name a few.
As a graduate student, it is important to remember that if we do not practice adequate self-care, we are at higher risk of burning out (which isn’t good for anyone, including the precious research we work so hard on). For those students who did not attend the Wellness Fair, here are some highlights of campus resources that will put you in tip top shape faster than you can say winter break.
Facing an Overwhelming Obstacle? You Are Not Alone.
The Graduate College Office of the Ombudsperson is here to help. Staff members are available to assist students with effective problem solving and to help students identify steps that may be taken to resolve problems without jeopardizing academic progress. To consult with Anne Kopera, the Graduate College Ombudsperson, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 333-6715. A list of resources is also available online.
The Graduate College Ombudsperson works closely with offices across to provide a complete look at the resources and options available to graduate students in need. In addition, the Office of the Dean of Students Student Assistance Center houses the Emergency Dean who is available 24-7, 365 days a year. The Emergency Dean supports students who are experiencing an emergency situation after 5 pm, in which an immediate University response is needed and which cannot wait until the next business day. The Emergency Dean is not a substitute for trained emergency personnel such as 911, Police or Fire. If you are experiencing a life threatening emergency, call 911.
Bottom line: If you are having problems at home or on campus and are in need of help, you have options. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
McKinley Center: Not Just for Flu Shots
McKinley is not just for flu shots (which you hopefully already got!) or to get that weird rash checked out. They offer a comprehensive suite of resources designed just for you, a beyond overscheduled graduate student. In addition to helping you when you are sick, they offer nutrition, fitness, and stress-management programs. You can make individual appointments with a stress management coordinator or attend one of their wellness workshops held throughout the year. As a bonus, they offer online relaxation exercises, which you can download to your phone, and practice deep breathing as you envision your blissful post-graduation life.
The Counseling Center Can Help You Become an Ally
Kognito, the new online tool from the Counseling Center allows you to simulate difficult discussions and roleplay a range of situations such as helping to create a safe environment for our LGBTQ peers. This tool makes it easier to break the ice, enabling us to share our views, and connect with one another in a more meaningful way, which ultimately builds and strengthens our graduate student community.
Burn Out Benefits No One
Finally, the Graduate Student Wellness Fair reminded me that there is life outside of campus and my research. We are so fortunate to have the world-renowned Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, where tickets are still only 10 bucks for students. There are five forest preserves within a 30-minute drive from campus, and over 20 art galleries in Champaign County. Even if you spent most of your waking hours doing research or working on your dissertation, over the course of a graduate career, there are plenty of opportunities to explore Champaign-Urbana, spend time doing meaningful activities, and improve your wellbeing. Graduate school is a marathon, not a sprint, and burn out benefits absolutely no one.
Monica Chinea Diliz is a third year PhD student in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology studying molecular neuroscience. Her professional goals are to become a principal investigator in the field of molecular biology, and start a mentoring/outreach program for minority students interested in pursuing graduate education in STEM. Monica enjoys reading and writing about productivity and time management, taking road trips, and spending time with her three rescue dogs. She is a member of the 2016-2017 SAGE board.