Get Healthy, Stay Healthy and Be Involved with WesWell!

WesWell is the Office of Health Education located in the Davison Health Center. WesWell aims to be visible, engaging and support students in living their best, healthy lives. There are many ways for new students to get involved! WesWell’s Peer Health Advocates (PHAs) organize outreach events and interactive workshops throughout the year on topics like: self-care, safer sex, alcohol and other drugs, bystander intervention and even some really unique events like massage for stress relief during finals. In addition, students can meet with professional staff in WesWell for an individual session on a wide variety of topics–all the topics already mentioned and others like, learning how to get better sleep and transitioning to a new environment.

WesWell wants to meet the needs of every Wes student. For this reason, we work hard to support our substance-free students and our students in recovery. If you are a student in recovery wanting to make connections with other students in recovery and/or find resources please email: recovery@wesleyan.edu to get connected.

For more information on WesWell please visit our website: www.wesleyan.edu/weswell

To stay updated on WesWell events and PHA activities please connect with us via Facebook: www.facebook.com/weswell

 

Thoughts from a Peer Advisor: “Being a Self-Advocate: Communication is the Key to Success”

Being A Self-Advocate: Communication is the Key to Success

According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the verb advocate means to “publicly recommend or support.” Advocacy, the noun conjugation of advocate, is defined as “public support for or recommendation for a particular cause or policy.” However, self-advocate and self-advocacy are not officially defined in any dictionary that I could find, and yet they are incredibly important – shall I say, essential – to everyday life. But what do they mean?

Self-advocacy is defined by wrightslaw.com as the following:

“Self-advocacy is learning how to speak up for yourself, making your own decisions about your own life, learning how to get information so that you can understand things that are of interest to you, finding out who will support you in your journey, knowing your right and responsibilities, problem solving, listening and learning, reaching out to others when you need help and friendship, and learning about self-determination.”

Now, that is a lot of information, and a lot of words, for what can be described in a much more concise, basic way: take the regular old word advocacy, and reflect it back onto yourself. So, essentially, self-advocacy could simply be defined as “public support for or recommendation for…” yep, you guessed it, “…yourself.”

To be a self-advocate, it is important to be able to represent yourself and speak up for yourself in the most effective way not only to your network of peers and professors, but also to your wider-ranging and more general community. Sometimes it can be incredibly difficult to speak up for yourself or ask strangers, or even peers and professors, for help, but that can be imperative in an educational setting. Too often, bright and engaged students (read: all Wesleyan students) fall through the cracks because they simply are uncomfortable asking for guidance and support.

Now, it is easy to say “just ask,” but it is much harder to actually do it. If and when you face discomfort, or hesitate when preparing to ask for something, whether it be an explanation for a grade, an extension on an assignment, or simply a time to meet, just remember this: all of the people you meet at Wesleyan truly want you to succeed. They are your support network, your safety net. They want you to be a self-advocate, simply so that they can accommodate and adjust to your wants and needs to further increase your likelihood of success. My advice? If you feel anticipation before saying something, sending an email, or even knocking on a door at office hours, take a deep breath, count to three, and try it. All you need is a split second of courage and the worst part, the anticipation part, will be over. Try it over and over again until it becomes more comfortable. And believe me, it will.

Another key part of being a self-advocate is communication. It can be incredibly difficult to articulate what you want to say in an in-person conversation, simply because you must listen, absorb, and process what the other person is saying in a very short amount of time. So, do not be afraid to take your time! Tell the other person you need a moment to think, or simply reflect back to them what they said to you to make sure you have heard it correctly. In-person conversation is an art, and the only way to develop your skills is to use them. Online conversation, however, is a totally different ballgame.

When corresponding online, or over the phone, remember that you are not there to represent yourself. Your facial expression and body language cannot help you (or hurt you!), so you must put it all into the email, text, or phone call. The other person cannot see you, but this can be a good thing. You can have notes written down, or typed up, so that you make sure you get to every point you want to make, or question you want to ask. Just remember that when sending an email, especially to a professor, always be as formal and respectful as possible; professors get hundreds of emails every day and will not be eager to respond to a “yo, sup?” Address the recipient by the most formal title they have, whether it be professor, Dr., Mr., Mrs., or Ms., and sign it with a thank you and your full name and class year. And, when in doubt, use your self-advocacy and communication skills: ask someone more experienced than you for help! Teamwork makes the dream work, and crafting the perfect email can definitely be a team activity.

Self-advocacy is all-encompassing; it is fluid, and changes depending on who is exhibiting it. One person’s strengths may be another person’s weaknesses; remember that you can take advantage the resources and people around you simply by asking. Try not to get discouraged; your first year at a new place can be incredibly difficult, but, like I said before, remember that everyone at Wesleyan wants you to succeed. As long as you are your best self, you will thrive. Go Wes!
Thanks for reading!

Haley Brumberger, 2020, Academic Peer Advisor

Transitioning to College

June 2017

College life can be exciting, but it will differ significantly from your past experience. New environments, new friends, new classes, new ideas, new experiences are yours for the taking.  And while there is familiarity with being a student, since that’s what you’ve been doing for most of your life, you may need to adapt your study habits to fit into a less structured and more demanding academic environment. And you may be living on your own for the first time, responsible for everything from getting up on time for class to doing your own laundry to budgeting your money.  While it may seem a little early to be thinking about this, keep in mind these few suggestions for managing the transition:

  • Talk with friends and family members who have recently attended college about their experiences transitioning to campus life — the challenges, the joys, the things they wish they knew starting out. You may be able to glean some words of wisdom!
  • Make a plan with your parents/guardians for how frequently you will talk and email. Strive for regular, but not daily, contact. It will help you concentrate on adjusting to Wesleyan while still reducing the likelihood of feeling homesick.
  • Once on campus, seek out opportunities to get involved in one or two activities outside the classroom. Focus on quality, not quantity. You have plenty of time over the next four years to try out everything!
  • Being a college student does not have to equal being unhealthy. Strive for balanced eating habits, a regular sleep pattern and a manageable workload.
  • Keep up your exercise routine at Wesleyan’s great athletic facilities. Physical activity greatly helps with reducing stress levels and with mental acuity.
  • Ask for help if you need it academically or personally. We want to help you succeed!