The Wellness Center is a new program for students of the University of San Francisco. It is akin to a “a life coach for students” according to Andrea Mozqueda, one of the three wellness coaches who are part of the confidential program run by Health Promotion Services. The three wellness coaches, Mozqueda, Kristen Minami, and Jason Gant, and are all graduate students at the University.
Each coach has their own background with wellness and education, but they share one ideal: students aiding other students to success. This aspect is one of the founding ideas, and since the graduate students have recent experience as undergraduate students, they are able to connect to them and aid them on a deeper level. The Wellness Center is not only for undergraduates however: all students of the University, regardless of their status, are able to make an appointment at the center.
The Wellness Center emphasizes various different ideas to help students achieve their personal goals in a variety of areas. It focuses on seven concepts: physiological, physical, intellectual, environmental, social, financial, and spiritual wellness. The center provides links to resources on all seven of these elements on its website, as well as a survey to assess your own health in each category.
Mozqueda says their goal is to “make the program very resourceful. We show them the resources that are on campus that they don’t have access to or they don’t know about.” The entire program serves as a free tool for students to utilize in order to help prepare themselves for both their life in college and their life after college. It is also somewhat of a stepping stone for students who are intimidated by the idea of going to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), as the program provides more of a big-brother/big-sister relationship. Gant emphasizes, “We’re not here to change you, we’re just here to help and support in whatever you may be feeling uncomfortable with in your life.”
Getting involved with the Wellness Center is simple. Students first take a survey on the seven different aspects so that the coaches, as well as the student, can get an idea of where the student needs focus. The student will then schedule an appointment with their choice of the three coaches. During the session, a student can expect to talk about their own strengths, make an active plan of things they want to work on, and then work on each challenge one step at a time together with their coach. The coaches are “very much focused on aid and support,” said Gant.
Mozqueda believes this program is essential for students. “You need to know yourself and take care of yourself first in order to go forward. College is the foundation of student development and growth and you need to know your strengths and your purpose in life before you can move forward and start helping others and start changing the world,” she said. This connects to one of the main mottos USF displays around campus: “Change the World from Here.” The Wellness Center is embodying this ideal by empowering students to find themselves and what they are passionate about as individuals.
The coaches’ parting words were insightful pieces of advice to the student body, highlighting some of the ideals of the center. Gant said, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, take advantage of every opportunity whether you think you’d like it or not because you never know what you’d respond to or what may peak your interest. There are many organizations on campus, so get involved.”
“It’s okay to feel however you’re feeling at this point in your life, whether it’s really happy, or you’re feeling lonely, or you’re having a hard time in college, it’s okay. My advice is just embracing those feelings, and just reaching out when you need support,” said Minami.
For those who are ready to reach out for support, or are just looking to find a new friend and connection, the coaches are excited, motivated, and ready for students to book appointments with the Wellness Center.
For more information about the Wellness Center, the survey, and making an appointment, please visit their page at https://myusf.usfca.edu/hps/wellness-check.
Photo courtesy of Ada Jones/Foghorn