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Wellness Coaching

Northwestern Program Helps Students Take Charge Over Their Wellness Journeys

Wellness coaching makes you feel like you can tackle and take ownership of those things that seem very intimidating when you’re going through them for the first time.”

Austin Siegel
SPS Graduate Student

Wellness Coaching providees students with skills for balancing college life

When Sierra Rosetta graduated college in Orange County, Iowa and embarked on her PhD journey at Northwestern University, she wanted to proactively establish a healthy routine to maximize success in graduate school.  

During Fall quarter, Rosetta stumbled upon an email advertising free wellness coaching through Northwestern’s Health Promotion and Wellness department. Intrigued, Rosetta decided to give a session a try.  

“I wanted that helpful transition into real adulthood,” Rosetta said. “I had a very unhealthy summer in terms of physical wellness and emotional wellness and was just experiencing a lot of change in my life. The program ended up being really great.” 

Rosetta is one of 60 students who has participated in wellness coaching this year. The program, which launched during the spring quarter of 2020, aims to help students identify and achieve their health and wellness goals by connecting students to other on-campus resources and teaching students to write specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals, also known as SMART goals.  

Kevin Meier, the associate director of Health Promotion and Wellness, called the program an “immediate success.” During his time as a wellness coach, he says he has helped students address goals related to time management, physical fitness, healthy eating, and stress management, among others.  

Students enrolling in wellness coaching will start with a one-hour intake meeting to identify key focus areas, followed by 2-4 half-hour sessions. Students are assigned the same coach throughout the process to foster a strong rapport among coaches and students, according to Meier.  

Austin Siegel, who now works as a communications specialist for Student Affairs Marketing, had Meier as a wellness coach when he was a graduate student at Northwestern. Siegel credits Meier’s coaching for “making a big difference in my confidence.” 

“I’m pretty hard on myself, but wellness coaching helped me reframe how I think about those days in my life when things are not going great and figure out what are the things that I can control to get me back on the right path,” Siegel said. “Wellness coaching makes you feel like you can tackle and take ownership of those things that seem very intimidating when you’re going through them for the first time.” 

Wellness coaching is free of charge to students, and most of the services that Health Promotion and Wellness offers to students are free as well. The barrier-free aspect of wellness coaching is “very important,” according to Siegel.  

“It’s rare to get something like that at no cost to you,” Siegel said. “The biggest impediment for me was often finding time to schedule these things, but I just think the payoff can be so great. I would really encourage anybody to take advantage of it.”