Standing Tall: My Journey Against Peer Pressure

By: Angel Molekunnel, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader 

As I stepped onto UMass Lowell’s campus for the first time, a whirlwind of excitement and anticipation surrounded me. The prospect of newfound freedom and endless possibilities seemed exhilarating, but little did I know that along with this newfound independence would come relentless pressure.

The first few weeks passed in a blur, between orientation events and late-night dorm room gatherings. It wasn’t long before I found myself surrounded by peers who seemed to effortlessly navigate the social scene, their confidence fueled by the allure of alcohol and drugs.

At first, I brushed off the subtle hints and invitations, eager to find my place without compromising my values. But as the days turned into weeks, the pressure to partake in the party culture became increasingly difficult to ignore. It seemed like everywhere I turned, there was another invitation, another opportunity to join in and let loose.

I watched as friends and acquaintances succumbed to the temptation, their inhibitions melting away with each sip of alcohol or puff of smoke. Part of me longed to join them, to shed my reservations and immerse myself in the euphoria of the moment. But deep down, I knew that giving in would betray the principles I held dear to.

As the pressure mounted, I found myself grappling with doubt and uncertainty. Was I missing out on the quintessential college experience by abstaining from alcohol and drugs? Would I ever truly belong if I didn’t conform to the expectations of those around me?

But then, in a moment of clarity, I realized that my worth wasn’t defined by the choices I made or the substances I consumed. My strength lay in my ability to stand firm in the face of adversity, to chart my own course despite the prevailing currents of peer pressure.

I chose to stay away from peer pressure for several reasons:

Personal Values: I have strong personal values that prioritize health, safety, and integrity.

Academic Goals: Maintaining focus on my academic goals is paramount, and avoiding substance-use helps me stay on track.

Long-Term Well-Being: I recognize the long-term consequences of alcohol and drug abuse and prioritize my physical and mental well-being.

Self-Respect: By staying true to myself and my principles, I cultivate a sense of self-respect and self-confidence.

Positive Relationships: Surrounding myself with friends who respect my choices fosters genuine and positive relationships.

Legal Concerns: I am aware of the legal ramifications of underage drinking and drug possession and choose to avoid legal trouble.

Role Model: I aspire to be a role model for others and demonstrate that it’s possible to have a fulfilling college experience without succumbing to peer pressure.

With such considerations in mind, I began to assertively decline invitations to parties and gatherings where alcohol and drugs were the focal point. I surrounded myself with friends who respect my decisions and support my journey, finding solace in their unwavering encouragement.

As time went on, I discovered that there were countless ways to find joy and fulfillment in college beyond the confines of substance use. From hiking adventures to late-night study sessions, I embraced each opportunity to connect with others and create meaningful memories.

Looking back on my college experience, I am filled with pride knowing that I stayed true to myself in the face of adversity. While the allure of peer pressure may have been strong, it was no match for the strength of my convictions and the support of those who stood by my side.

Today, as I reflect on the journey that brought me to where I am, I am grateful for the lessons learned and the person I have become. Standing tall against peer pressure was no easy feat, but it was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made.

Film Review of Cléo from 5 to 7

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

In Agnès Varda’s film, Cléo from 5 to 7, Cleo is a popular and sensational young singer. Throughout the story, she is anxious about her potential cancer diagnosis.

The film’s organization of looks within the scene plays a crucial role in conveying the protagonist’s inner turmoil and existential crisis. The film diverges from classical Hollywood norms in its treatment of background characters—older men in cafes, women posing for pictures, musicians playing instruments—who are not merely decorative but are given depth and subjectivity. The film depicts older men with their own concerns and conflicts, young women who balance modeling as well as performing with dignity and respect, and musicians performing music and art. This approach humanizes them, portraying their inner lives and concerns, breaking away from the traditional objectification often seen in classical Hollywood cinema, and allowing each character a moment in the spotlight.

The scene balances spectacle and narrative through its meticulous attention to detail and the portrayal of Cléo’s anxieties. The fast and intense cuts, along with unexpected shifts in perspective, mirror Cléo’s state of mind, emphasizing her anxiety and uncertainty about her cancer diagnosis like a punch in the gut. Cléo grapples with her impending fate while staring down the barrel of mortality.

Her characterization as a French pop singer evokes modern celebrity consumerism and celebrity obsession. Itdepicts “celebrity-narcissism, [and with[ her taste for Tarot readings and various other superstitious signs, Cléo could well be a Paris Hilton-type, plugged into New Age fads” (Martin, 2015). As she contemplates her existence, her vanity relaxes as her anxieties swell (Hutchinson, n.d.). This becomes clear when “she discards her whipped-cream wig and polka dots for a simple black shift. She performs less and feels more” (Hutchinson, n.d.).

The film’s mode of address transcends assumptions about the spectator’s gender, encouraging empathy and identification with Cléo’s struggles. While it acknowledges the male gaze inherent in French New Wave cinema, it also flips the script by boldly portraying Cléo as a complex and multidimensional character, rather than a mere object of desire. The scene privileges narrative depth over fetishistic scopophilia, focusing on Cléo’s emotional journey rather than exploiting her physical appearance for voyeuristic pleasure.


Hutchinson, P. (n.d.). BFI – Cleo from 5 to 7. BFI. Retrieved February 14, 2024, from

Martin, A. (2015, March). Cleo from 5 to 7. Film Critic.

Overcoming the “People-Pleasing” Mindset

By: Fajr Zahid, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader 

Do you find yourself constantly trying to please those around you and maybe even neglecting your own thoughts and feelings in order to do so? Or do you struggle to confront someone when you feel they have wronged or hurt you, in fear that you may come off as being rude or overbearing? While I’m sure many of us have found ourselves in scenarios where we felt the need to sacrifice our voices or opinions, or where we did not feel comfortable saying “no” to someone, constantly engaging in this type of behavior can be quite harmful to your emotional, or sometimes even physical, well-being. 

It is part of human nature to want to feel accepted and liked by others, and to act in ways that you believe those around you will be pleased by. However, it is not healthy to sacrifice your wants or needs in order to achieve this acceptance. By going against yourself and suppressing your true emotions, you may be protecting someone else’s feelings, but at the same time, you are neglecting your own. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be perceived as a kind, generous, or easy-going person, but you should not do so at the cost of your well-being and self worth. For instance, if someone mistreats or disrespects you, know that it is okay to stand up for yourself and to communicate your genuine thoughts and feelings. After all, if a person is worthy of being a part of your life, they should be understanding towards your feelings, not dismiss you for expressing them. Or let’s say you are asked to be part of a situation that you are uncomfortable with – it is completely okay to say no. You may fear that you will be judged, looked at differently, or even disliked, but none of these things are as important as protecting yourself and looking after your needs. 

Although it is easier for some than others to overcome the “people-pleasing” mindset, I believe that this is something that everyone is capable of improving on. It might take some time and mental strength, but it is worth it to be able to protect yourself from unwanted situations or interactions. Here are some things I’ve come to realize over the years that have personally allowed me to overcome the need to always please others: 

  1. Recognizing and establishing your boundaries is important, and it allows you to understand what kind of behavior you will and will not tolerate.
  1. There is a difference between being “rude” or “overbearing” and simply expressing your feelings towards a negative situation or experience. 
  1. You should consider your own wants and needs the same way you consider the wants and needs of others.
  2. The fear of being judged or disliked should not hold you back from standing up for yourself.
  1. You cannot always please everyone – some may approve of you and some may not, but these opinions do not matter as long as you are not putting yourself or anyone else in harm’s way.
  1. It is okay to say no to something that makes you uncomfortable, no matter the person, place, or situation. 

Remember, you can be a kind and likable person without tolerating disrespect or allowing others to cross your boundaries. You should never be afraid of standing up for yourself or voicing your thoughts and opinions because they matter just as much as anyone else’s. If you find yourself often engaging in people-pleasing habits, I hope you found this blog post to be helpful and that you are able to apply some of these friendly tips to your own life!

Stuck inside this winter? Not anymore!

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

Are you struggling to find fun things to do during the frigid winters in Lowell? Well, you have come to the right place. After three winters here on campus, I have compiled a list of budget-friendly activities that can turn a boring winter day into a day of fun and adventure. Check out my list of top 10 affordable and fun things to do locally this winter:

  1. Mill No. 5

One of my favorite places in Lowell to visit is Mill No. 5. Just a 7-minute drive from campus, you can drink a delicious cup of coffee at Coffee & Cotton or root beer float from Dows Soda Fountain, enjoy a comedy show at the Lunar Theatre, or shop small local businesses or the farmer’s market.

  1. Local Coffee Shops

If you are as addicted to coffee as me, exploring the wide variety of coffee shops in the Greater Lowell area sounds like the perfect task to add to your to-do list. Whether you are looking for the perfect scenery to study on a Sunday morning or a delicious coffee and breakfast destination to visit with friends, there are endless places to try. Some of my top coffee shops close to campus include Brew’d Awakening Coffeehaus, Nibbana Cafe, Top Donut, and a new coffee destination that recently opened in Dracut (only a 5-minute drive from East campus), The Perfect Cup.

  1. Local Restaurants 

Looking for some good food? Egg Roll Cafe and the Egyptian Grill food truck are within walking distance of North Campus! Some highly-rated spots located in Downtown Lowell are Viet-Thai, El Potro Mexican Bar and Grill, Life Alive Cafe, and my personal favorite, Mandarin Asian Bistro. 

  1. Axe Throwing

If you’re wanting to try something new and exciting, get a couple of friends together and visit Axe Shack in Lowell! The venue offers axe throwing, knife throwing, cornhole, and pool. Better yet, Groupon frequently offers deals for a more affordable experience.

  1. Ice Skating/Roller Skating

Conway Arena in Nashua, New Hampshire offers public skating several times a week for only $5 with a $4 fee for rental skates.

Not into ice skating? Try roller skating at Roller Kingdom in Tyngsboro with just a $16 admission and $3 rental skate fee, or roller skate for only $1 on Wednesday nights during the month of February!

  1. Escape Room

Pick between a variety of themed rooms and complete a mission by cracking codes and solving puzzles to successfully escape in 60-minutes. Escapology in Tewksbury offers a fun and thrilling adventure for $38 per person. Keep an eye out for frequent deals and offers on the website!

  1. Wellness Wednesdays 

Stressed with school and in need of some relaxation on campus? Attend a Wellness Wednesday, offered at the University Crossing Serenity Center every Wednesday evening from 4pm to 6pm. Some exciting programs we have planned for the semester include DIY Bouquets, Crochet, DIY Blanket Making, Bracelet Making, Game Night, Yoga, Therapy Dogs, and more!

  1. Hockey Games

If you are in search of something to do on a Friday or Saturday night, cheer on our River Hawks at the Tsongas Center by East Campus. Students get in for free! Our men’s ice hockey team has several home games scheduled up until the beginning of March that can be found in the following link:

In addition, the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) Boston team has recently announced their home games will take place at Tsongas Center, and tickets can be purchased through Tsongas Center’s website linked below!

  1. UML Outdoor Adventure Club 

Have you heard of our Outdoor Adventure Club? This club offers a variety of winter trips including hiking, outdoor ice skating, cross country skiing, snowboarding, and more. Most trips require no prior experience, so don’t be afraid to try something new! Additionally, the majority of day trips are offered for just a small fee of about $15 to $30.

  1.  Rock Climbing

Whether you have experience or have never been, Metrorock in Littleton offers indoor rock climbing for a variety of skill levels. Just a 20-minute drive from East Campus, Metrorock is the perfect place to test your agility, endurance, and strength with a whole new hobby. This location offers day passes and rental gear, as well as memberships. On Wednesday nights, Metrorock offers a $20 day pass with only a $5 fee for all rental gear.

If you find rock climbing to be your new passion, UMass Lowell has its own Indoor Climbing Club with discounted passes!

It is especially important to prioritize your physical and mental well-being during the winter months. While the days are shorter with less sunlight, many people feel their moods shift. In addition, the cold weather tends to keep people confined to their homes, limiting time spent with loved ones and contributing to the “winter blues.” Look after your health by checking out a few of these activities with friends! If you’re looking for more events on campus, check out the Engage website with events from all clubs and organizations across campus:

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.

How Getting Involved on Campus Changed My Life

By: Angel Molekunnel, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader 

Getting involved on campus has been one of the most transformative experiences of my college journey. Initially, like many students, I had my reservations and fears about putting myself out there, but as I look back, I can’t emphasize enough how much it has enriched my life in various ways.

First and foremost, getting involved on campus has helped me build a sense of belonging and community. College can be a daunting place, especially if you’re far from home or attending a large institution. Joining clubs, and organizations, and participating in campus events provided me with a network of like-minded individuals who shared my interests and passions. These connections quickly turned into friendships that provided a support system during both the highs and lows of my college experience.

Before I joined UMass Lowell. I was nervous about joining clubs and organizations as well. I started off joining as a member. Eventually, I realized I enjoyed getting involved on campus as it helped me grow my networking circle, have fun, and stay busy. Eventually, I started applying and got accepted into the e-board roles that I truly enjoy.

I am passionate about everything I do on campus and I believe in my ability to do more. I want to inspire others and remind them to not hide their strengths and always seek out opportunities. Currently, I hold the positions of being the  Vice-President for the Student Government Association, Director of Personal Development for Joy Tong Women in Business, Resident Advisor (RA), Well-Being Leader, Student Alumni Ambassador, and Bumble Ambassador. I am very much passionate about these organizations as I get to influence those around me. Please reach out to or book a well-being leader appointment if you need help with how to get started. 

Below find some tips on how to start getting involved: 

It is common to have fears or anxieties about getting involved on campus, especially if you’re new to a college or university. Baby steps are crucial! Begin with low-pressure activities or events. Attend a casual club meeting, join a study group, or participate in a one-time campus event. Starting small can help you build confidence gradually.

We know ourselves better than anyone else. This is why you should explore your interests. Find clubs, organizations, or activities that align with your interests and passions. It’s easier to get involved in something you genuinely care about.

In conclusion, I can say with confidence that getting involved on campus has been instrumental in shaping my college experience. It has provided me with a sense of belonging, personal growth, academic enrichment, and countless memories that I will carry with me throughout my life. So, if you’re on the fence about getting involved on campus, I wholeheartedly encourage you to take that leap of faith. The rewards and opportunities that await you are boundless, and the journey is well worth it.

Connect with me Linkedln-

Use Engage to join clubs-

My office hours to discuss tips to get involved on campus- are Monday and Wednesdays 11 am to 1 pm

Location: Cumnock 110/ Student Preference

Summer Activities in New England

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

New England is versatile during its summer months. It may not seem like there is much to do around here, but it is all about what you make out of the opportunities that you have. In fact, New England actually has a lot to offer in its summer months.

New England has some of the most beautiful coastline beaches to visit during the summer. Some of the most well-known beaches around the area are Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. A few day trips to these beaches with your family or friends can be a fun way to amplify your summer experiences.

Another great experience to add to your summer bucket list around New England is to explore seafood. New England has some of the best seafood. A summer day trip can entail trying out a variety of famous sea foods such as cod, clams, oysters, and lobsters. Visiting some of the seafood restaurants in Boston and exploring the regional specialties can add some summer fun to your dining experiences.

Another quick day trip around New England can be to enjoy the recreational aspects of Castle Island. Personally, I enjoy the Castle Island beach area because of its versatility. The Castle Island area is perfect for picnicking and having a barbeque with family or friends. Moreover, the location of the park close to Logan Airport is perfect to watch the planes landing and departing out of the airport. The recreational aspect that really attracts me is biking and walking around the park on the paved path and the beach, while enjoying the scenic beach views as well as the Boston skyline. On a warm summer day, the beach section of Castle Island is perfect to swim around the harbor area and cool the body down.

See, New England has a wide variety of recreational activities to enjoy during the summertime! Whether you are a beach fanatic, eager to try some seafood, or want to take a day trip to Castle Island, there is plenty to do to make the most out of your summer here.

Outdoor Activities to do this Summer

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

Below I talk about a few of many outdoor activities you can do this summer!

Hiking: It is a great form of exercise that confers many physical, mental, and social benefits. It strengthens bones and muscles, while also enhancing cardiovascular health, increasing strength and flexibility, and aiding in weight loss. Additionally, it has been demonstrated to have advantageous benefits on mental health. Spending time in nature can bring us back into the present moment and evoke a sense of calm and peace in our hectic lives. It offers social benefits as well. It can be an opportunity to connect with others or be an activity done in solitude. For me, I am always in my head and overthinking everything. Being in a serene, quiet environment and being able to focus on my surroundings helps quiet my mind and reduce my stress levels. My personal favorite is Mount Monadnock, a 3,165-foot mountain located in New Hampshire, having the highest peak in Southern New Hampshire. There are multiple trails that reach the breathtaking summit, but the White Dot Trail is the shortest with a 3.8 miles round trip and should take approximately 3-4 hours to complete. This is also recommended for beginners, being the easiest to climb and the least steep/rocky. I remember going on this trail with my entire family including my grandparents, and it wasn’t too strenuous for them. 

Kayaking/Canoeing: You can kayak nearby lakes and rivers. I like kayaking because I’m able to get exercise in, while also enjoying the scenery. Kayaking, like hiking, is good for your physical and emotional well-being. Additionally, it is a low impact activity, easy on the joints and bones, making it ideal sports for seniors or individuals with limited flexibility, individuals with arthritis or soft-tissue injuries, or those avoiding chances of mechanical injury. It can be done at varying levels of intensity, making it accessible to people of all ages and fitness abilities. My favorite canoe and kayak location is the Charles River in Boston. It is a nine-mile stretch of a river with no current, ideal for beginner kayakers. Downstream you will encounter colleges like Harvard, MIT, and BU, the Esplanade, and Boston skyline. The views are breathtaking!

Picnicking: Picnics are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with family friends. My friends and I recently went to Castle Island and marked our spot on a hill overlooking the river. We decorated cupcakes, played  uno, had a photoshoot with flowers, took some aesthetic polaroid pictures, had chips and drinks, and blasted some music. We went the weekend after school ended, so it was a great way to relax and unwind from the craziness of finals week. It is a relatively low-cost activity that requires minimal equipment and can be done almost anywhere and at any time. You can have a picnic in a park, at the beach, or even in your own backyard. You can play games, read a book, or just enjoy the scenery.

Beach Yoga Beach yoga is a fun and adventurous experience. I found that it helps you connect with nature and find a sense of peace and calm. It is a sensory stimulating activity, being able to hear the waves, feel the sand, and smell the fresh ocean air. Yoga is a great form of exercise that can improve flexibility, strength, balance, and cardiovascular health. Yoga on the beach adds an extra layer of  difficulty, as the sand bears an unstable surface, so you end up engaging more muscles, which helps improve balance. When I was studying abroad in San Sebastian, Spain, we had a yoga instructor offer a beach yoga class in the early morning. In that moment, I felt like nothing before- as if I were one with the world. The vibes were just surreal. I would recommend booking a beach yoga class or just doing whatever bit of yoga you know by the beach- the experience is priceless and totally worth it.

What exactly is Social Wellbeing?

By: Pre’Yelle Grinkley, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Well-being Leader

The quality of our social connections and relationships, and our ability to interact with and contribute to our communities, are all indicators of our social wellbeing. It is a fundamental part of total well-being and has a great impact on our psychological health. Social well-being can refer to a variety of factors, including:

1. Relationships: The richness and quality of our personal relationships, which include family, friends, and romantic partners.

2. Social support: The availability and level of help we receive from our social network, particularly during stressful or crisis situations.

3. Community involvement: Our level of participation in and contribution to our local community, which includes volunteering, civic activities, and cultural events.

4. Communication: The quality of our interactions with others, including listening skills, conflict resolution, and the ability to effectively express ourselves.

5. Belonging: The sense of being related to and welcomed by our social network and the larger community

Figure 1

Preserving and improving social well-being involves effort and attention, such as actively seeking out social connections and opportunities for community involvement, practicing excellent communication skills, and prioritizing self-care to ensure that we can better connect with others. Social well-being is an important component of overall health and can help people find meaning and fulfillment in their lives.

Figure 2

From my personal experience, having positive and supportive relationships with family and friends can provide a sense of security and belonging and can help us cope with stress and challenges in our lives. Being a student at UMass Lowell, I am separated from my close friends and family, on whom I would normally rely for encouragement, support, and compassion. I must intentionally reach out to my loved ones to let them know that I need them because of our distance and time apart.

For example, when midterm exams arrive, I am overwhelmed with pressure and worry, causing me to lose sight of the broader picture at times. All the tension causes me to panic and lose confidence. In these cases, I require the most support. It’s essential for us as students to maintain our social interactions because, in most situations, students have hectic schedules and can’t physically visit their families as frequently as they’d want, which can lead to feelings of loneliness or isolation. Living in a dorm with strangers or new faces might exacerbate feelings of loneliness since you may not be able to confide in your roommate on such a personal level. Because they don’t know who you are on that level, your roommate or classmates won’t be able to discern when you’re in need of compassion. This is another reason why it is critical to retain close ties while simultaneously making new strong connections to have diverse sources of support. The more love and support students receive, the better we do at our universities.

The negative effects of social isolation and lack of connection are great reasons why it is important to prioritize social well-being and try to maintain and strengthen our relationships and connections with others. Humans are social beings, and we need social connections to thrive. When we isolate ourselves from others, we can experience a range of negative outcomes like feelings of sadness, anxiety, and depression.

Participating in social activities and events, for example, helps maintain social bonds. Even small social interactions, such as a friendly chat with a classmate or a quick catch-up call with a friend, can have a positive impact on our health and well-being. Being involved in our community, whether through volunteer work, club sports, student government, or other forms of

engagement, can help us feel connected and valued, and can contribute to a sense of purpose and meaning. Therefore, the next time you’re feeling isolated or seclusive reach out to a classmate for lunch, initiate a study time with your new connection, or make time for an event on campus to recharge your social battery.


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Figure 2:

Info: What Is Social Wellbeing? 12+ Activities for Social Wellness (

Info: What is Social Wellbeing | Student Wellbeing (