Student Toolbox for Success | Pillar One Health and Well-Being

The new school year brings awareness of a unique opportunity for growth and learning for all of us. My daughter, Camille (Class of 2027), started her high school career this week. I was present to her many fluctuations with her feelings and softly reminded her that change and new beginnings, for parents and students alike, are full of doubts, worry, second-guessing one’s self, and at the same time, excitement about the unknown possibilities that are ahead as a new opportunity. 

As the seasons change, so do teens and young adults on their Student Journey, reaching each new stage with curiosity and courage. The “Student Toolbox for Success” becomes more sophisticated at each new grade level as responsibilities, social engagements, and status become more independent from parents and important to the student experience. Students are clearer as they emerge into young adulthood in how they plan to reach their academic, professional, and personal goals. However, learning to build effective tools and use skills to gain results is always a life-long process. Building modern life skills is incredibly important as college-bound students prepare, regardless of where their journey will take them to college or the workforce. 

Most college-bound students and their parents have had many “first weeks of school” by now, and as each year passes, we take time to reflect and consider making changes that support their path. This year, for many seniors and juniors, like my nephew Colby Chase (Class of 2025), who visited from Massachusetts this week, and with my daughter, the conversations are more meaningful about what it means to be healthy and the important life skill of caring and communicating for your well-being. Yet, what does that even mean to a teenager today? 

As I shared openly with the teens in my own family, it’s ensuring that you can operate and function before we even discuss grades or college goals. This is the foundation of your being. Health is the physical state, and Dr. Maria Nemeth shares that the ontological framework includes physical vitality as one of life’s most essential energies. If we suffer in this space, our energy is consumed when incoherent with our own lives (e.g., experiencing the opposite of clarity, focus, ease, and grace). 

I further explained to the teens that well-being is your soul, spirit, inner self, and internal makeup. Both are essential for our ability to live life with purpose and meaning. We need energy to care for our health and well-being as our wellness guides us and provides energy to dream, create, and reach our goals in school and life. For example, if you’re a student-athlete, you don’t show up to a game without proper hydration, eating, equipment, and having had time to prepare for the game or event. For the Student Journey, health and well-being also require the same preparation and monitoring as we look forward to a new school year in reaching our goals. 

Having energy and maintaining wellness allow us to create our goals by building a Student Toolbox for Success. Teens appreciate these conversations without arguments and stress toward a more extensive conversation (i.e., grades) but sharing openly and with vulnerability in how we can use the first Pillar for Success creates a sense of connection and belonging. 

The routines and scheduling to support your health and well-being is being mindful in creating support for yourself with your physical and soulful selves through eating, exercising, going to bed regularly, reducing social media, taking medication on time and regularly for optimal health or well-being if needed for you, and asking for support from a caring adult. These are all under the health and well-being of one’s toolbox for success. 

This week with clients, I connected with parent(s) and students as we worked as a team to the final stretch before a new transition began in their lives. Yet, when we prepare for a new school year and make our goals, whether it is for academic improvement, finding connection in one’s community, or committing to additional responsibilities, we need to practice the responsibility of our care when it comes to our health and well-being.

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