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Drop In, Reach Out for Support

New Online Wellness Workshops Help Students Learn Life Skills

By Sala Levin ’10

Illustration of hand reaching out to woman

Illustration by iStock

The Counseling Center is hosting the new Wellness Workshop Series this semester, featuring online programming that offers skills-based sessions on 16 topics relevant to students.

A friendship that turned sour. A dream job that you didn’t land. A paper you spent weeks researching and writing, only to log in to ELMS and see a lukewarm “C+” staring back at you.

Any of these sound familiar? If so, Yi-Jiun Lin has the Zoom room for you. The assistant director for counseling services at UMD’s Counseling Center is hosting a monthly workshop on dealing with disappointment, part of this semester’s new Wellness Workshop Series, online programming from the center that offers skills-based sessions on 16 topics relevant to students. Nearly every weekday, Terps can join—no prior registration required—to learn strategies for handling an array of life’s challenges.

The topics—which also include time management, effective communication skills, taking control of your thoughts and more—were decided based on “what we tend to see most often as the kinds of concerns students come to the Counseling Center to address,” as well as subjects “that we know can be worked on in this type of … one-session approach,” said Allison Asarch, staff psychologist and coordinator of consultation and outreach services at the Counseling Center.

The workshops include discussions, question-and-answer components and self-reflective exercises, which Lin has found foster deeper conversations and connections. In her session, she asks students to think about three times in their lives that they experienced disappointment and then to examine what their expectation was and their response to the outcome. How did they cope? How did they feel emotionally and physically? Any student who feels comfortable doing so is invited to share their experiences.

“You can see beautiful validation and relating happening in the virtual space,” said Lin. 

With the pandemic making Zoom calls a mainstay, the Counseling Center found an opportunity to “think more creatively about how we can best support our students,” said Asarch. The easy accessibility of the online workshops has helped more students utilize the resources of the Counseling Center, Asarch said.

For Lin, the workshops have been a chance to show students that they’re less unique than they might think—in a positive way. “If you only try to deal with your emotions alone, independently, and never want to reach out, you can feel very lonely,” she said. “If you reach out and talk to other people, maybe you’ll find you’re not the only one who has similar experiences.”

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