UNC Student Wellness believes that student and community health choices involve the integration of eight dimensions of wellness. To illustrate these dimensions, the staff at Student Wellness looked to our pets to bring you examples of how they embody each dimension of wellness.
Cultural wellness. Pictured: Mary’s cats Buffy and Giles helping to create a safe, inclusive space for LGBTQ beings of all species.
Emotional wellness. Pictured: Diana’s dog Bea liking (and licking) what she sees in the mirror, demonstrating her fabulous body image and self-acceptance.
Physical wellness. Pictured: Kate’s dog CJ getting her jump/fly/swim on at Uwharrie National Forest. Pictured: two litters of puppies napping together for their physical wellness.
Environmental wellness. Pictured: Diana’s dog Bea out for a fun day of sailing on Jordan Lake. Here, she’s taking in the splendor of the lake and thinking very thoughtfully about air quality. Pictured: Kelli’s former foster dog Kori rolling around in the grass to scratch her back.
Intellectual wellness. Pictured: Kate’s dog CJ demonstrating an important part of intellectual wellness: sometimes you need a study break! Pictured: Mary’s cat Giles learning how to play a new game and demonstrating that intellectual wellness can be fun and social! Pictured: Kate’s dog CJ catching up on this week’s biggest news stories.
Financial wellness. Pictured: Diana’s dog Bea managing her personal finances; setting finance goals for the upcoming year.
Social wellness. Pictured: Part of social wellness is also knowing when not to be social by finding time for yourself. Here is Brittany’s cat Noble in a box, finding some time and space to be alone. Or nap. Both are important for maintaining social wellness. Pictured: Mary’s cats Buffy and Giles spending time together and bonding over looking at some birds outside. Pictured: Natalie’s adopted kittens demonstrating some solid peer support — an essential component of social wellness.
Spiritual wellness. Pictured: This is Brittany’s cat Barnes. He like to take time for self reflection every day. Usually while using his tail as a pillow. Pictured: Pedro, a recently adopted dog with Triangle Beagle Rescue, looks up at the heavens and smiles.
This blog was originally posted on November 18, 2014, and was written by the Student Wellness staff!
Living in the age of the internet has given us unprecedented access to popular forms of entertainment – in recent years, expressions like “binge watching” have become an accepted part of our lexicon, indicating how normalized extreme media consumption has become. However, just because we are saturated with media does not mean that we see equal representation of different populations. A quick glance at a list of Netflix recommendations, for instance, will reveal the not-surprising but nevertheless harmful overrepresentation of white men. Though quantity doesn’t determine quality, it is still disconcerting to see that, by and large, the media tells the stories of white males far more than it tells those of any other race or gender.
Fortunately, because the amount of material to be found online is so broad, it is getting easier and easier to find films that are more woman-centric, provided that you look long enough and in the right places. What follows is a list of a few excellent films with strong female leads, currently streaming on Netflix.
However, I’d like to make two disclaimers. The first concerns what has become known as the Bechdel Test. The idea is that if a film passes the Bechdel Test – that is, if it features a dialogue scene in which two women talk about something besides a man – then the film presents a fairer representation of femininity. The test originated in a 1985 comic written by Alison Bechdel, and has risen dramatically in popularity in recent years, so much so that Swedish cinemas now incorporate the test into their movie ratings.
While the Bechdel Test can be a fun tool to use on your favorite movies (it’s almost guaranteed that few of them will pass), the fact that some use it as the standard by which to hold movies is worrisome. The test has serious limitations. It is fairly useful when it comes to determining female representation in a given film, but it indicates nothing about how women are characterized in said film – a film which passes the test could still have a substantial amount of misogynist content (this complaint was levelled against Guardians of the Galaxy last year). Also, it is conceivable for a female character to be strong and complex without talking to another woman.
Some of the selected films pass the Bechdel Test, others don’t. I promise that they were each chosen with good reason.
My second disclaimer: though the selected films all feature wonderfully vibrant and complex female characters, the directors of these films are all male. The dearth of respected woman directors is a persistent problem in the film industry. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t find female voices out there – Sofia Coppola, Miranda July, and Lisa Cholodenko are three that immediately come to mind, and they each have work available on Netflix. But while Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides has something interesting to say about male perceptions of femininity, I didn’t feel that it fit this list. The same goes for Cholodenko’s The Kids are All Right, which I frankly found to be juvenile in its portrayal of same-sex relationships (it validates, whether unintentionally or not, the myth that all lesbians secretly want men). And I regret to say that I have not yet seen July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know.
A simply-told, well-observed portrait of twentysomething Frances as she navigates her way through young adulthood. Though coming-of-age stories are common enough, this film still carries the feeling of a story seldom told. Writer-director Noah Baumbach, with his observational camera style and slice-of-life dialogue, places attention on everyday scenes that we don’t typically get in mainstream films, and Greta Gerwig (who also co-wrote the film) gives an excellent performance.
Short Term 12
Another tale of growing up, this time focusing on Grace, a young counselor for at-risk children. The film handles serious subject matter with tact, and there is never a false or heavy-handed moment. A superb effort by newcomer Destin Daniel Crettin, the film pulls off the rare feat of being gripping and tender at the same time.
20 Feet from Stardom
A pleasant and compelling documentary, telling the story of several backup singers in the recording industry, who have each lent their talents to some of the most celebrated music of the last century. These singers, most of them African American women, have lived in relative anonymity despite their massive contributions to pop music, and this film finally gives them some well-deserved time in the spotlight.
The Silence of the Lambs
There are several factors which make this a compelling movie, but one of the most interesting points of conflict is Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster)’s status as one of the few females in her FBI training program. Director Johnathan Demme, using long, fluid point-of-view shots, does an excellent job of conveying the discomfort and sense of injustice inherent to being a woman in a male-dominated environment.
This was the first time Quentin Tarantino attempted to write a powerful female lead (his Kill Bill movies are also currently streaming), and his attempt is, by and large, a success. Jackie is, without a doubt, the most competent player in this caper where competency is crucial. The story, adapted from an Elmore Leonard novel, is labyrinthine – it’s one of those crime thrillers where, whether we think we’re following everything or not, we know the protagonist must be one step ahead of us.
This post was originally published on April 24, 2014 and was written by Natalie Rich.
The semester is winding down, and suddenly you are faced with the prospect of finding the perfect resume-boosting summer job or internship….or perhaps you are graduating–GASP!–and you are looking for your first post-college full time position to launch your super-duper-fabulous career.
No matter what type of job you are looking for, here are some quick tips to get you started:
1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
There is no such thing as the PERFECT job, and wedding yourself to one job as the be-all-and-end-all of jobs or /internships can set you up for disappointment, not to mention the fact that focusing on just one opportunity may mean missing out on other cool opportunities. Remember that this next job, whether a summer internship or post-college position, is just a stepping stone; it does not have to be the job you work for the rest of your life or even the career you end up with.
2. Know what you want.
Ok, so you don’t want to focus on just one opportunity, but you do want to have SOME focus in your search. When someone asks “what kind of job are you looking for?”, have an answer ready (hint: “a job that pays” is NOT enough!). Are you looking for a social media internship with a tech company? Trying to land a research assistant position to help prepare you to apply for a grad program in chemistry? Have clear idea of what field you want to work in and how this fits into your overall career goals. This not only helps narrow your search, it also makes you look more appealing to recruiters or potential employers, who want candidates that demonstrate passion and drive.
3. Have an elevator pitch.
Once you know generally what kind of job or internship you want, find a way to articulate along with your skills in an “elevator pitch.” This is a short speech that you can tailor for networking events or job interviews that summarizes what you are looking for and/or what you have to offer. Different situations and different jobs will require a different pitch, but there is a common thread: keep it short. Check out resources for creating your own elevator pitch here and here.
Also, consider writing a quick pitch at the beginning of your resume too. This is slightly different from an objective, which some experts now discourage in favor of the elevator pitch or list of keys skills.
4. Work your connections.
Notice how I didn’t say “network” because this word tends to drum up visions of awkward meet-and-greets full of scary people in suits. Networking goes way beyond this. It means talking with professors, TAs, friends, mentors, family, and UNC alums. Put the word out that you are looking for a job and the kind of job you want (cue: elevator pitch!). Other ways to network include arranging informational interviews with companies or organizations you are interested in to get an idea of what jobs they are offering and what they look for, and reaching out to supervisors from previous internships or volunteer positions.
I could have included tips on drafting the ideal resume or cover letter, prepping for an interview, or conducting an efficient job search, but UNC Career Services has all the resources to help you with those things. They can give you individualized feedback on your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills as well as a wealth of resources to help guide you through the process of searching, applying, and securing an ideal job for you.
Finding a job can be overwhelming, especially when you have end-of-semester papers and exams to worry about. Keep in mind that this next job will not make or break your career. So, give yourself a break and be flexible. This next job is just a step, and it may be one of many steps you take in your career. Maybe it’s a side step or a baby step…maybe it’s a leap. You’ve made it to Carolina, which already proves you have what it takes to succeed, so let your talents shine and you may be surprised at the opportunities that await you.
Finals making you feel anxious, intimidated, or stressed? You’re not alone. A common theme we see at the UNC-CH Learning Center this time of year is the feeling of being overwhelmed by the difficulty of making it through final exams. Luckily, our years of experience working with students has helped us formulate the following helpful framework for exam success.
1. Prioritize to help make decisions about how much time to allot to prep for each exam.
Which exams will be hardest?
What portion of my grade is each exam worth?
2. Find out what you know.
First use your syllabi to make a list of key concepts you must know for the test. Hide all notes and books and test your understanding on each key concept. Ask yourself how well you can summarize main ideas, do sample problems, recall facts from memory, and apply concepts in a new way. Finally, rate yourself. How did you do? Rate your skill and understanding on each bit of content from your list using this sample scale:
3= I know this well
2= I know this some
1= don’t know this at all
3. Make a smart study plan.
Make a study guide, merging main ideas from class notes and readings. Find ways to actively engage with the material and stay accountable to learning. Reviewing lecture notes and assigned readings can often be too passive. Use active study strategies to practice the content you rated with a 1 or 2:
Make mind maps, time-lines, or flashcards.
Study with a partner.
Teach concepts to someone else.
Write or speak aloud the main ideas.
Generate higher-level thinking questions to test yourself with.
4. Make a smart study plan (part deux).
Once you’ve selected study tasks for the concepts you rated 1 and 2, estimate how much time you will need to complete them. Look over your calendar and lay out a plan, noting exactly what you will be doing and for how long. Break down studying into specific, discrete tasks. “Study Chem” is too vague. “Complete practice problems from chapter 3” is specific. Estimate how long each task might take and compare it to available time. Create an “appointment” to complete practice problems.
5. Test yourself.
When you’ve completed your Study Plan, it’s time to test yourself again. Hide all your materials and test your understanding on concepts you rated 1 and 2 the same way you did in Step 1.
Can you do a problem from memory?
Can you restate or rewrite what you learned?
Can you teach these concepts to a friend?
Can you answer questions you generated (not simple recall!)
Still stuck on a particular concept? Keep practicing!
6. Come to the Learning Center!
In addition to the strategies above, you can come to the Learning Center for our Study Boot Camps. Find out more about our Boot Camps and other services such as Academic Coaching and Peer Tutoring at http://learningcenter.unc.edu/.
A few weeks ago, I sat down to start writing a blog post on volunteering, including the many opportunities we as Carolina students have to volunteer. As I started researching the topic I came across a number of websites on the benefits of volunteering, and I noticed that on many of these websites, most or all of the reasons given on why to volunteer were focused on the personal benefits that can be gained through volunteering. For example, I found numerous lists of reasons why people should volunteer, and resume building, developing new skills, and networking were some of the most common (and sometimes only) reasons given. This surprised me, and ultimately rubbed me the wrong way. While these things are all great aspects of volunteering, I think that if our only reasons for volunteering are self-serving, this can be problematic. And thus, a new blog topic was born: how to be a more conscious volunteer!
Volunteering can be a great part of one’s undergraduate or graduate experience at Carolina. I highly encourage everyone to get involved in whatever way(s) they are able. But as we embark on our journeys as volunteers, I would like to challenge us all to be conscious, mindful, and respectful throughout the whole process – from our reasons for why we volunteer to where we volunteer and what volunteer work we choose to participate in.
If you accept this challenge (and I hope you do!), here are some tips for all of us to keep in mind as we venture out into our communities to volunteer:
Define for yourself why you volunteer. Maybe you volunteer because you feel strongly about a certain issue facing our society, or because you want to positively impact your community. Whatever your reason is (and I again challenge us all to identify reasons beyond things like resume building), remind yourself of it often. Let it serve as an inspiration for you.
Do your research! Find an organization you’re interested in that does work in an area you’re passionate about, and volunteer with them as regularly as you’re able. Get to know the staff and clients. Find out what the organization really needs help with, and offer to help them with those projects that are perhaps not the most glamorous (like shredding paper, sealing envelopes, or filing).
Talk to members of the community where you volunteer. Spend some time critically thinking about the volunteer work you are doing, and how community members perceive it. Is the volunteer work you’re providing something that the community feels is important to improving their community, or is it just something that someone outside of the community decided was a good idea?
Volunteer as regularly as you can. While one-time, once per year service days are great, the more regularly you can volunteer with an organization, the more they will get to know you, and be able to really utilize your many talents to help further their mission.
Be consistent and reliable. Whatever commitment you make to an organization to volunteer (be it weekly, monthly, four times per year, etc.), honor it. Remember that the organization and the community it works with are counting on you to fulfill that commitment.
Be knowledgeable about and respectful of the communities you’re volunteering in. Be aware of the disparities that exist in our society (racial disparities, income disparities, health disparities, etc.) and how they might be impacting the community you are volunteering with. Be aware of your privilege as a volunteer coming into a community, and how that dynamic might be impacting members of the community. For more information on different neighborhoods and communities in Chapel Hill, check out the Town of Chapel Hill’s website as a starting point.
Don’t view your volunteering as a way to “fix” people and the communities they live in. When you go into a community to volunteer, consider the community members the experts. They know their community best, and they know what their community needs. When volunteers see their role as “fixing” a community, that mindset can be both disrespectful and harmful to the community and its residents. Instead, when volunteering in a community you’re unfamiliar with, think of yourself as a partner to community residents – be ready and willing to listen and learn. For more information, check out a previous Healthy Heels blog post that talks about savior complex and the effect it can have on communities.
Spend some time volunteering in your own neighborhood. Think of ways you can positively impact the community you live in (trash pick-up, building a community garden, advocating for an issue in front of local government, etc.). Check in with your neighbors – see if you can get a group together to work on a project that will benefit your neighborhood and get some of your friends or neighbors together on a Saturday to work on a project that you all think is important for your neighborhood.
Have fun, learn something new, and gain new perspectives!
Interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities while at UNC? Check out some of these websites: