Student well-being from a career coach perspective

Student well-being from a career coach perspective

by Aafke & Kim , Career Coaches at TU/e Career Academy & Skillslab

Well-being is a topic that cannot be ignored. Career coaches Aafke and Kim had a conversation about what TU/e Career Academy & Skillslab has been working on to support students in their well-being journeys, as well as tips they employ in their own lives in order to feel balanced.

A: Kim, we are asked to write about well-being. It is a topic I am passionate about, but it also made me think, how did we, as the TU/e Career and Skills team, get involved in well-being?

K: That’s a good question. I believe this is mostly because we have noticed that well-being is an upcoming topic among students. Next to that, knowing or not knowing what your study and career plans are is strongly intertwined with how well you feel about yourself. This is something we notice in many of the conversations we have with students, and during the Career Development course.

A: I agree, and COVID has made the importance of well-being even clearer. I think it helped to break the taboo. It became clear that most people feel sad or down sometimes, that you are not the only one. And you know, it is pretty hard to discover what it is you want for your career or in life, if you don’t feel happy.  

K: True. I still thought it was a challenge to incorporate well-being into our activities, because well-being is such a broad theme. It’s about mental well-being, physical well-being, and about topics such as study-life balance, for example. Fortunately, the theme is receiving attention from various parts of the university at the same time. I believe this is a good thing.

A: Exactly. Talking about how you are feeling with a fellow student, coach or trainer often helps. You can get things off of your mind and you discover you are not the only one who struggles with certain things. That is why I love the initiative of the ‘personal development discussion hours’ by the student associations. And the activities by TINT of course.

K: And we are happy to add where we can! We of course do that through the individual coaching sessions we offer on career, study choice, and study management. And recently we also developed two new workshops: ‘Introduction to mindfulness’ and ‘Unmask your inner critic’, which can both contribute to student well-being.

A: Yes, that’s great! The workshop ‘Unmask Your Inner Critic’ is about that little voice inside your mind that loves to pop up and judge, belittle and attack you in uncertain times or situations. During the workshop you learn to recognize these automatic negative thoughts, acknowledge what your inner critic has done for you in the past, and start the process of separating yourself from it. What is the other workshop about again?

K: In the workshop ‘Introduction to mindfulness’ we will make students more familiar with mindfulness. During this workshop students will practice with different forms of meditation and they will take a closer look into their energy balance. They will learn how it can help them to feel more healthy, relaxed, and to actively enjoy life.

A: Sounds great! Now that we talk about it, are you into working on your own well-being?

K: I like to be outdoors and to go out for a walk. Besides that, I also try to meditate every now and then. Just a few minutes a day, but I notice that this already helps me. And during the pandemic, I actually noticed that I really enjoy having a little more time for myself. So, now that ‘normal’ life is starting again I try to hold on to this. I’m also curious what you do to work on your well-being, Aafke?

A: Going for a walk is great for clearing your mind indeed. I also bought an e-reader a couple of years ago. I read every night before I go to sleep. It is my quiet time, no screens, no noise. It helps me fall asleep more easily. And I think that within our team there is room to be yourself and to take the time to care of yourself when needed. To not only share your happy moments and successes, but also your off days and shitty moments. I think that that’s really important. No one is happy all the time. Being able to share both the happy and the sad moments makes me feel safe within the team.  

K: Yes, indeed! I also feel like there’s room for that in our team and that’s important to me as well. I hope students nowadays also get the feeling that they can be who they are, and that they feel comfortable to share things with each other. The good and the bad.

A: I heard a beautiful quote about that by artist Lita Cabellut the other day when I was watching the tv show Dream School: “No one fails. No one succeeds. It is just a period in time.” Everyone experiences good times and bad times. Times of joy and times of pain. Being able to share makes the bad times more bearable and the good ones more fun!

Would you like to find out more about our workshops? Check out Skillslab workshops here, and Career Academy workshops here.

You can also sign up for an individual coaching sessions on career development here, check out Tint’s schedule for upcoming events here, or reach out to your study association for their upcoming discussion hours.

What is your experience with managing your well-being? Let us know in the comments!


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