My friend created our team, which was made up of first, second, third, and fourth years. One of us was living at home, two of us lived in the dorms, and two of us lived in apartments off campus. Despite all of our differences, our group was formed based in our shared membership in the Catholic Students Association and each of us, regardless of our year or location, was able to have a great experience in the program.
Taking part in a competition to “be more well” caused me to explore an array of activities that I never would have thought to do before. I hadn’t watched TED talks since they were assigned for my classes back in high school, but I found myself eagerly watching YouTube videos about stress and self-care in order to get 10 points…and was pleasantly surprised to find that I was learning applicable skills too! I made more of an effort to visit “sunny spots on campus” and take photos with my friends when we were there to document that I was getting both physical and environmental wellness. I planned virtual game nights, book clubs, and dinners with friends who I wouldn’t normally have been able to see in person. I created a piece of art, volunteered, called my family, mailed some handwritten letters, and participated in the “Refresh Sleep” program. I even joined the UChicago Intramurals “Maroon Step Challenge,” excitedly tracking my steps each week to see if I could rise in the rankings of UChicago students. Knowing that I had to track my steps each week encouraged me to go out and try to take a walk (or at least leave the apartment) each day.
While I may have already done a few of these activities without the incentive of getting points (If my parents are reading this, I would have called you anyways!), there were some I never would have thought of. I’m really thankful that my friend encouraged me to sign up because not only did I take home the highly-anticipated t-shirt, but I also brought home a yoga mat, a sunlamp, a gratitude journal, and more fun goodies that I won by completing different wellness activities in each of the facets.
In one of the last wellness activities, we were asked to write a short reflection on our time doing the program (to win 15 points). I wrote: “I found that doing wellness activities with other people is a game changer!! Having my friends there to push me to try new activities and document the little moments of my life was so helpful in this otherwise very lonely and cold quarter :)” I think this sums up my experience quite well and I’m so thankful that College Programming and Orientation, UChicago Student Wellness, Athletics, and Spiritual Life all came together to make this program available to us students this winter quarter!