My Journey Beyond the Barbell

By: Medi Woldemichael, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader
When I first stepped into the weight room, I saw it as a place to get stronger. Little did I know weightlifting would become a realm where strength isn’t just about the muscles, but about resilience and self-discovery.
Here are a few things I’ve gained from this journey:
With every lift, every accomplishment in the gym, I’ve found a newfound confidence that extends far beyond the weight room. The belief that I can push through the most challenging moments in lifting has translated into a belief in my capabilities in various aspects of life.
Mental Resilience
The ability to overcome the hurdles in weightlifting has taught me how to navigate and overcome obstacles in other areas. It’s not just about the physical challenge; it’s about training the mind to persist through difficulties and come out stronger.
Goal-Oriented Mindset
Setting and achieving personal bests in lifting has instilled in me a mindset of goal-setting and achievement in all areas of life. It’s not just about the numbers on the weights; it’s about continuous improvement and striving for personal excellence.
Discipline and Consistency
The routine of showing up at the gym, pushing through workouts, and striving for progress has cultivated a discipline that spills over into daily life. Consistency in the gym has translated into consistency in pursuing other personal and professional goals.
Discovering My Potential
Through my journey of lifting weights, I’ve unearthed strengths I didn’t know I had. It’s not just about muscles; it’s about discovering my own resilience, confidence, and capability. The weights became a medium for self-discovery, unveiling the layers of my own potential. Lifting weights has become more than just a physical exercise. It’s an intertwining of mind and muscle, a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. It’s an ongoing narrative, a fusion of strength, discipline, and the unveiling of the self.

Living with Intention

By: Medi Woldemichael, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader

College life is a real whirlwind! With classes, hanging out with friends, and everything else, it’s easy to just go with the flow and not think too much. But living with purpose is all about taking charge and making sure you’re doing what really matters to you. This blog is here to help you, as a college student, figure out what it means to live with purpose and give you simple tips to make your college years really count.

What does Living with Purpose Mean?
Living with purpose is about making choices and doing things that matter to you. It’s about knowing what you care about and making sure your actions match that. For college students, it means not just going through the motions but really focusing on what you want and making it happen.
Why Living with Purpose Matters in College:
Growing as a Person: College is when you learn a lot about yourself. If you live with purpose, you can really make the most of that and grow in the ways that matter to you.
Doing Well in Classes: When you have a purpose, you tend to do better in your classes because you know why you’re studying and what you want to get out of it.
Finding Balance: College can get overwhelming but living with purpose helps you balance your studies with fun, which means less stress and more happiness.
Building Relationships: Making friends and connections is a big part of college. Living with purpose means making friends who care about the same things you do and who can help you reach your goals.
Planning for the Future: When you live with purpose, you’re better at making decisions about what you want to do after college, like your career and other life goals.
Tips for Living with Purpose:
Have Clear Goals: Start by setting goals that are specific and doable. This helps you know what you’re aiming for.
Manage Your Time: College time flies! Use things like to-do lists and focusing on what’s most important to make the most of your day.
Think About Your Progress: Take some time now and then to think about how things are going. It helps you stay on track.
Choose Good Friends: Hang out with friends who support you and care about the stuff you care about. They can help you live with purpose.
Take Care of Yourself: Eating well, getting enough rest, and exercising is super important for feeling good and doing well in college.
Get Advice: Don’t be scared to ask for help from teachers, mentors, or advisors. They can give you good advice for making decisions and reaching your goals. Living with purpose in college isn’t about planning everything, but about making choices that matter to you. It helps you make the most of your college years, grow as a person, and get ready for your future. College is a special time, so live with purpose and make the best out of it.

The Best Investment You Can Make: A Good Night of Sleep

By: Haiya Patel, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader

As  college students, we all know how sleep can often be neglected due to other responsibilities such as academics and social life. Regardless of all the other stress factors, it is crucial to prioritize your sleeping schedule to allow yourself to show up as a well-rested student for the following day.

In general, our cognitive functions are pivotal for our daily functional abilities such as memory retention, and information processing. Showing up with a fresh and well-rested mind allows one to enhance their problem-solving skills and improves attention span in general to stay engaged throughout the class and retain the academic knowledge. In  retrospect, the lack of sleep can further towards cognitive impairment and difficulty making vital decisions.  Sleep also allows for enhanced performance and productivity to be able to succeed in  career, education, and personal projects. 

The importance of sleep can be paralleled to improving health and longevity. Quality sleep allows for longer and higher quality of health throughout one’s lifespan. Your immune system is your body’s defense against  illness, and the quality of your sleep determines the strength of your immune system. Ensuring  good quality   sleep allows your immune system to produce cytokines to regulate your immune responses. On the alternative perspective, lack of sleep is associated with a compromised immune system leading to an increased rate of illness. Illness can further to have a direct effect on your academics and other goals. Lastly,  quality sleep also allows for better physical health, and growth overall. It allows for essential repairs such as tissue repair and growth, hormone balance, and works to prevents chronic illness such as cardiovascular disorders, when combined with a proper diet.

Hence, sleep is a crucial investment towards your short term as well as long term well-being. In the world of a busy college student, it can be difficult to factor out enough time to sleep, however, the significance that a good night of sleep can provide for your cognitive, and physical health can often trump the lack of sleep. To aid towards improving your sleeping schedule, you can start by setting a relaxing bedtime routine may it be reading a book, or listening to your favorite music, a few minutes of meditation, or having a relaxing bath or showe or  skin care routine. Whatever it is, it is crucialto take some time out for yourself at the end of your day to ground yourself and prepare your body for rest. To conclude, your sleep plays a powerful role in your daily lifestyle, so do not underestimate the benefits that a good night of sleep can contribute towards your overall well-being.



The “Major” Crisis of College Students

By: Julia Yeadon, College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Well-Being Leader

During my second semester of freshman year, I changed my major from Education to Psychology. For many years, I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, however I reached a point where I did not feel as passionately about this occupation anymore. While it was overwhelming to reconstruct my life plans, I felt at ease when I began to find a new and more exciting passion for helping others in the field of psychology. In fact, one study found that one out of every three college students enrolled in a Bachelor’s program changed their major within the first three years of enrollment ( You are not alone!

A question we have heard a million times (that often induces a state of panic) is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a teenager, aspiring college students are prompted with this question and are expected to know the answer. With little knowledge of what a certain career entails, we must make the daunting decision of choosing a career path. Thus, many of us enter college with a major that we think might be a good fit for us based on general interests and financial considerations.

What many high school guidance counselors and other adults fail to explain to us as high school students who are unsure of which career path to choose is that going into college as “undecided” is a perfectly acceptable option. Doing so allows us to utilize our first year of college to take a variety of elective courses to fulfill general education requirements. Taking these courses will give the insight needed to determine whether or not you are interested in a particular field and discover new fields that may be of interest to you. In addition, this allows you time to utilize other on-campus resources to aid in deciding on a major.

One of UMass Lowell’s greatest resources on campus is the Career and Co-op Center. This resource provides you with the opportunity to meet with an advisor through the center for help with exploring different career options. In addition, the Career and Co-op Center’s website ( allows you to utilize the “Explore Career Options” tab by choosing an area of interest to search for job trends, as well as job and internship opportunities. This provides you with a variety of career paths to align with your particular interests. 

Furthermore, the Career and Co-op Center includes a “Learn How To Explore Your Interests” tab that lists relevant featured articles and a variety of resources. Resources include a self-assessment to dive into your values and personality to match you with potential majors and careers, called “Focus 2”(

Login), and a website that helps you explore potential careers for each major ( 

UMass Lowell’s career advising team has recently formed a one-credit course designed to help students explore potential career paths and begin planning their next steps. Two sections of this course will be offered next semester (Spring 2024). You can learn more and register for the course, UMLO.1500 Career Exploration & Planning, via the UML Now website ( A “Job and Internship Search” class is also offered in the Spring semester to aid in gaining application and interviewing skills, as well as learning how to find the right job or internship for you. This class can also be found on the UML Now website.

Some students may find themselves questioning whether the major they picked is well-suited to their values and aspirations. One thing I have learned throughout college is that being in the field can be significantly different than learning about aspects of the field in a classroom. It is imperative to engage in Summer internships, the Co-op program, or other fieldwork experiences that are offered through the Career and Co-op Center. These opportunities allow you to directly experience what it is like in the field to better interpret whether or not it is the right career for you. Additionally, these experiences can boost your resume and help develop connections with other individuals in the profession.

Some other tips that I would recommend to fellow students is to interview individuals who are employed with the career, or careers, that you are most interested in. Ask questions, such as what their day-to-day looks like, challenges they experience, which parts of the job they enjoy least and most, and if they have experienced burnout in their position. Better yet, if possible, shadowing someone in the profession can help you directly see the day-to-day experiences of an individual in your career of interest.

Many college students who go into college with a major that they originally had interest in realize that the career path is just not for them. While it can be frightening to start back at square one in finding the perfect major for you, keep in mind that many of the classes you take in the first two years of undergraduate school can count toward general education requirements. College is a time where you develop as a person and learn more about yourself and the things you feel passionate about. Therefore, it is normal for you to discover new interests and for old interests to fade out.

While I would recommend any students struggling with finding their perfect major to check out the Career and Co-Op Center on campus, it is also important to keep in mind that your Well-Being Leaders are here for you, too. Occupational health is one of our eight dimensions of wellness, which we are determined to help you find a career that provides you with happiness and fulfillment. We are happy to share our experiences and advice regarding choosing a major or career path. To book an appointment with a Well-being Leader in your college, please visit

Occupational Wellness

By: Kuldeep Derola, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader 

Read about nurturing occupational wellness for student health & well-being in this short blog post:

Realistic Goals:

It’s important for students to set realistic short-term and long-term career goals. These goals can provide motivation and a sense of achievement when reached, enhancing overall wellness.


Just as with physical health, taking breaks, practicing relaxation techniques, and ensuring proper sleep is vital for occupational wellness. Overworking and neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and negatively impact one’s health. 

Work-Life Balance:

Students should strive for a healthy work-life balance, allocating time for hobbies, relationships, and leisure activities. Maintaining this balance is essential for avoiding stress and burnout.

In Conclusion

Occupational wellness is not just about securing a job or earning a paycheck. It’s about finding meaning and fulfillment in one’s work, which directly contributes to a student’s overall health and well-being.

Visit me at my office hours to discuss this further: Southwick Hall-250 (Deans’ Office)

  • Monday 2pm-3pm
  • Wednesday 2pm-3pm
  • Thursday 9am-11am


Hannes Zacher and Antje Schmitt. ” Work Characteristics and Occupational Well-Being: The Role of Age.” Natural library of Medicine, 2016 

Zhang F. et al. ” Editorial: Occupational health psychology: From burnout to well-being at work” Frontiers in Psychology, 14 November 2022

Sharon Clarke. ” Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.” American psychological Association, 1998

The Dark Side Of Leadership: Overcoming Hidden Leadership Challenges All Men Must Know 

By: Fahad Alden, College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Well-being Leader

Hold tight. 

I’ve got a ride for you that could give a Tarantino-script a run for its money.  

I’m exposing the hidden pitfalls, unmasking the art of dodging cheap shots, and rebuilding you from a lone wolf to the leader of the pack.

  1. Finding Your Tribe: The Quest for Authenticity

 Navigating the labyrinth of adulthood and leadership simultaneously is a Herculean task. The world’s stage often hosts actors who, despite their lofty positions, are merely social climbers, a realization that continues to astound me. Some of these individuals around my age  perceived power as a pledge to an elite group , a pedestal to flaunt their supremacy and climb the social ladder.   

As a leader, the temptation to conform is omnipresent. My vibrant energy and candid honesty made me an anomaly among the ‘cool’ elected officials, akin to Deadpool amidst soccer moms. The allure of joining this elite group was strong, yet I resisted.

Instead, I blazed my own trail, seeking genuine connections over superficial alliances. My tribe –  – diverse yet harmonious, provided me with unwavering support and candid guidance.

They instilled in me the true essence of leadership: remaining true to oneself, fostering a supportive tribe, and providing unvarnished reality checks. It’s time to discard the mask and script and embrace your authentic leadership style. Ultimately, it’s the lives you’ve impacted, the differences you’ve made, and the stories forged in authenticity that truly matter.

  1. The Identity Crisis: Beyond the Titles

In the grand theater of life, we often find ourselves playing roles that are not our own, especially those in positions of leadership. The fear of pausing, of taking a moment to breathe, becomes a terrifying prospect. You worry that if you stop, even for a moment, you might lose an integral part of your identity.

 But here’s the truth: life is about balance. Just as socializing or romance shouldn’t be your only focus, neither should work. I recall my first identity crisis with startling clarity. It was a time when I questioned who I was beyond my titles and responsibilities. I found myself hiding my true self, censoring my stories and interviews, even altering my appearance and behavior out of fear of judgment or ridicule. Then came the turning point: rewatching Fight Club and hearing Tyler Durden’s wake-up call: “You’re NOT your damn job.” That was the game-changer, the adrenaline shot to the heart that kick-started my revival.

Once you engrave that truth into your mind, you stop chasing illusions and start embracing raw authenticity. You strip down to the bare essence of YOU. Celebrate your eccentricities, your hobbies, your passions—ignore the skeptics.Remember this: the only lifelong contract you’ll ever sign is with yourself.  When I finally embraced my true self, I found that I connected with more people and produced better work than ever before. So take it from me: embrace the adventure of self-discovery and authenticity—it’s worth every step.


Embrace your individuality, find your tribe, bear your scars, and let the world marvel at your fireworks. 

Remember, stepping up to leadership isn’t about changing who you are but refining yourself and using your position to affect real change. Cheers to you as you begin to navigate the course of leadership. 

Seize the day, not just for yourself but for those who believe in you.

There is Something for Everyone on Campus

by: Haiya Patel, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader

As many freshmen transition into college life, they must learn to adapt to their new lifestyle with more freedom, and more responsibilities. The increased amounts of responsibilities can also contribute to stress. The UML campus and staff have so much to offer to ease the stress of adapting to college. UML provides various opportunities to support stress management both physically and emotionally

In terms of physical self-care, the campus provides spin classes, yoga classes, a recreational center on both east and south campus, ping pong tables, court rooms for badminton and squash, basketball court, renting bicycles to get around the campus and many more. You can find all of these resources by visiting

The campus also provides support for emotional health . One of my favorite places to relax is to go to the Serenity Center for various self-care activities . The Serenity Center hosts fun de-stressing activities on Wednesdays from 4-6 pm. You can also use the massage chairs in the Club Hub UCrossing. You can also enjoy cultural clubs, career related clubs, and/or hobby-related clubs to enjoy with your friends. You can use these clubs as a means to find new friends with similar interests.

If you enjoy spending time with your friends, you can also have lunch getaway by the lawn next to Merrimack River, or on south campus at the Allen House overlooking the river.

There are also various study areas for students who enjoy either quiet areas or those surrounded by people. In most buildings, the bottom two floors can be a little more interactive, however the third floor of O’Leary is for quiet studying or to have group study rooms, as well as 3rd and 4th floor of Lydon.

Whether you’re looking for a way to de-stress or make new friends, or want a quiet place to study, UML likely has what you’re looking for. If you can’t find what you need, come chat with me during my office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11-1 in Olney Suite 415 and I can help get you connected to what you need.

Maintaining Your Well-being Amidst Global Events

By: Doa Jamal, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader

Global events can deeply affect our emotions, leading to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, sadness, and anger, especially in times of uncertainty, such as wars, pandemics, and political instability. Looking at the news may make us want to curl up in a ball and cry. It may cause us to want to give up hope that there will be change. It may make us think the world is a horrible, horrible place. 

While staying informed is important, it’s crucial to manage your relationship with the news and current events to protect your well-being.

Here are some strategies to help you maintain your mental health and emotional balance while staying informed:

1. Accept Your Emotions and Care for Yourself: Understand that feeling strong emotions in response to news is natural. Allow yourself to process and grieve when necessary. Take care of your physical well-being through healthy eating, regular exercise, fresh air, sunlight, and sufficient sleep.

2. Manage Your Relationship with the News: Constant exposure to news and social media can be detrimental. Limit the time you spend engaging with news and social media, possibly checking it once a day or twice a day. Try NOT to fall victim to doom scrolling.

3. Contribute What and When You Can: Feeling powerless in the face of global events can be distressing. Take action within your capacity, even small contributions can make a difference. Even something as small as making a donation or signing a petition can make you feel better.

4. Beware of Your Imagination: Avoid negative thought cycles by focusing on what is known today and what you can do now instead of imagining the worst possible scenarios.

5. Find the Good: Counterbalance negative news with positive stories, even though they might not make headlines. Recognize the kindness and goodness of people around you, the beauty of nature, and the support of friends and family.

6. Reach Out: Talk to someone about your thoughts, feelings and concerns. Just talking about it really helps to relieve some of that tension and stress. Talk to a loved one, a friend, a colleague, or a peer. You can talk in-private with a Well-Being Leader (we are here for you!) and if you’re looking for full confidentiality, you can speak with a professional therapist (UML Counseling Services).

By implementing these approaches, you can better navigate the emotional toll of global events without losing touch with what’s happening in the world.


UML Counseling Services: 

Well-Being Leaders: 


How To Deal with Stress

By: Sai Igiede, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader

Hello, a lot of you  know me, and a lot of you  don’t, so I might as well introduce myself. My name is Nosagiegbon Igiede, but I go by Sai to almost everyone.

I am here to talk about stress. I am someone who stresses a lot! Whether it’s surrounding my major or what I’m going to eat for dinner, I constantly stress. It’s something I have always struggled with and still do; however, I do manage it very well, and I want to help you by telling you how I destress from pretty much everything and anything.


I love to journal. I journal for a lot of reasons. Sometimes I write down dates and times for classes, and other times it becomes a creative outlet for me to express my feelings. I was actually recommended journaling by one of my long-term friends; he says that journaling is kind of like a book in your mind. Whether you choose to show the world or keep it to yourself, it should be a safe space to express yourself. This resonated with me for a couple of different reasons. Since I stress out about varying things, writing my thoughts down helped validate my stress in a way. It helped me find a balance between stressing over long-term goals and short-term ones, which is a big part of being stressed. But sometimes journaling isn’t for everyone, which is totally fine.


As much as I stress, I still try to find time to decompress by being alone. I know that it can be scary to relax alone for some, which is totally understandable. When I first started relaxing, whether it was in my dorm or even outside, I did it with friends who also needed to destress. Every time I would destress, it would be different. On some days, I would play video games for a few hours with my hometown friends. Other times I would watch the sunset on south campus with my colleague and talk about life and general issues, which for some is a great outlet.

Sleeping and maintaining a healthy mindset

Lastly, one thing I try to keep consistent with in college is the ability to sleep and have a clear mind. Now you are probably thinking, “Sai, I am taking a crazy amount of credits. How am I going to maintain a good sleep schedule and study?” Now, this is what I am going to tell you: Just sleep. I know it sounds weird, but sometimes sleep is what you need. If you deprive your body of the things you need, it will only negatively affect you. This directly correlates with mindset. Try to change the way you think about college. Instead of dreading classes and negatively speaking things into existence, try to first change your language and tone. For example, instead of saying, “I really don’t like this class,” try saying, “Why don’t I like this class? Is it the material I am not understanding? How can I personally improve?”.

One thing I want you to know is that it’s okay to take a break. Whether it is for 10 minutes or an entire mental health day, just know that it’s okay to not be studying all day every day. It is okay to not get a perfect score on a test or not have 100 friends by the end of the month; college is hard for a plethora of reasons. It’s okay to not have everything figured out.

How to Create SMART Goals

By: Yashvi Patel, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader

I learned about this activity in my psychology class, and I thought I’d share! It is super relevant and can be useful to college students like us who often find themselves juggling different responsibilities. This activity revolves around assessing and improving our life balance across different dimensions of wellness: spiritual, physical, financial, intellectual, emotional, social, environmental, and spiritual. We were told to envision the different dimensions of wellness on a wheel and how a wheel would run smoothy only if it’s well-balanced.

For this activity, you want to focus on one specific area (dimension of wellness) and craft a SMART goal related to that specific area. A SMART goal has 5 essential components”

S stands for specific

  • You want to start by setting a clear, concise, well-defined goal
  • Define specific actions you will take towards achieving that goal
    • What is something you can do towards that area?
      • For example, I wanted to target my financial wellbeing
      • For my specific action, I chose to spend less money on superficial (materialistic) items

M stands for measurable

  • You want the make sure the goal is measurable
  • What metric or dimension of the behavior will you collect data on?
    • For my financial example, I planned on recording the number of times I swiped my credit card on nonessential expenses like clothing or coffee

A stands for attainable

  • You want your goal to be realistic and align with your current behavior  
  • Questions to ask yourself are what is my current baseline or level of engaging in that behavior? What should your goal be based on your baseline?
    • I currently spend money on coffee four times a week. I aim to reduce it to two times a week. I shop every two weeks; I can aim to cut it down to once a month.

R stands for relevant

  • You want your goal to relate to your larger life objectives  
  • Does this behavior you’re addressing contribute to achieving your overall wellness in that specific dimension?
    • For me, spending less will improve my financial health by enabling me to save money for future investments and more significant expenses

T stands for time-bound

  • Put a time frame for completing the action
  • How long will you maintain this goal for?
  • Maybe if you are introducing a new behavior to your routine, consider starting with a shorter frame time before committing to a longer one
    •  I want to follow my spending reduction plan for a month

By following the SMART goal framework, you’ll not only gain clarity on what you want to achieve but also increase your chances of success in college. This activity will help you take deliberate steps towards enhancing different dimensions of your well-being, ultimately leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.


Li, Anita. “Measuring behavior.” 6 0ct. 2023, University of Massachusetts Lowell. Lecture.