Social Wellness for Graduate and Professional Students: 14 Resources to Help You Get Involved


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Social wellness is an important part of your overall health and wellbeing. In 2019, almost 70% of graduate and professional students surveyed for the Wellness Assessment felt a sense of belonging at Ohio State. About 65% felt like a member of the Ohio State community (Center for the Study of Student Life, 2019). If you are a graduate and professional student looking for ways to get involved and find your community on campus or in Columbus, check out these resources and opportunities: 

Graduate and Professional Guide to Getting Involved (2020)

This guide provided by the Office of Student Life offers a comprehensive, detailed description of different involvement opportunities available to graduate and professional students.  

Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB) Grad/Prof Committee

OUAB offers the following workshops, programs, and events specifically for graduate and professional students: 

  • Technical Tuesdays 
  • Wellness Wednesdays 
  • Academic & Non-Academic Job Search Series 
  • Quiz Nights 
  • Cupcakes and Canvases  
  • Monthly Family Program 

Student Organizations

Ohio State offers over 1,400 registered student organizations which range from professional associations to interest and activity-based groups – and more! Visit the student activities website and filter by graduate and professional organizations through the advanced search tab. 

Student Government

Both the Council of Graduate Students and Inter-Professional Council offer opportunities for to get involved, attend events, and participate in student government. 

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion provides a variety of programs, events and resources for graduate and professional students such as: 

  • Bells Fellow Program 
  • Preparing for the Academy Retreat 
  • Dissertation Boot Camp 

Multicultural Center (MCC)

The MCC is another great resource for involvement on campus. Check out their website for more detailed information about their programs and events. The MCC even offers student cohorts, mentorship, and leadership opportunities that can help you build community on campus! 

Spotlight: MCC’s Student Identity Groups 

  • African and African American 
  • Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi-American 
  • Latinx 
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer 
  • Native American/Indigenous 
  • Women 
  • DACA 
  • First Generation Students 

LGBTQ at Ohio State

The LGBTQ at Ohio State website is Ohio State’s one-stop resource for LGBTQ students and allies. Visit the LGBTQ at Ohio State website to check out upcoming events, resources, and everything they have to offer related to community, support, academics, and training. 

Lyft Ride Smart at Ohio State

One way to enhance your social wellness is to explore the Columbus community and all that it has to offer! Ohio State has partnered with Lyft to offer discounted rides within a designated service area from 7:00pm-7:00am. All you have to do to get started is download the Lyft app and link your account with your Ohio State email address! 


Students also have free access to the COTA Bus line with a valid BuckID. COTA has over 40 available routes that you can use to explore Central Ohio. Just hop on and swipe your BuckID to ride for free! 

Discount Tickets (D-Tix) at the Ohio Union

D-Tix offers discounted tickets for sporting events, arts and culture attractions, concerts, and more. Examples include discounted gift cards to the North Market, discounted tickets for attractions like Otherworld, and discounted tickets for a variety of performances, community events, and festivals. 

Kindness at Ohio State

Kindness at Ohio State coordinates several projects and resources to create a positive, connected, and kinder campus community. Their initiatives include events, service opportunities, student organizations, and virtual resources including a loving kindness meditation. You can also use their online “Send a Kudos” feature to express your gratitude to people who have shown you kindness. 


Buck-I-Serv offers opportunities to lead or participate in service-learning trips with other Ohio State students and staff. Buck-I-Serv coordinates 80+ trips each year and creates meaningful opportunities for students to travel, learn, and serve in more than 16 states and 5 countries. 

Experience Columbus

Experience Columbus offers a variety of resources, tips, and up-to-date information about what is happening in the community. Their website includes recommendations of things to do and places to visit in Columbus, including attractions, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, museums and history, arts and entertainment, sports and recreation, holiday celebrations, and things to do with kids.  

Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC)

If you are a student in or seeking recovery, the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) offers peer support and a variety of resources. CRC has a student lounge in 097 Baker Hall and hosts open recovery meetings on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30pm. For more information, visit the CRC website, email, or call 614-292-2094.  

Whether you’re #New2OSU or preparing to graduate, there is a place and community for you here. If you are struggling to form connections or find your place, the Student Life Student Wellness Center has several resources available for peer support. You can reach the Buckeye Peer Access Line (PAL) by calling 614-514-3333 on weekdays from 8:00pm-12:00am. When you call Buckeye PAL, you’ll be connected with a peer who can provide you immediate support and help connect you with resources. The Student Wellness Center’s Individual and Group Wellness Coaching services are another great way to connect, set goals, and receive support. Please visit the Student Wellness Center website to schedule an appointment. 


Center for the Study of Student Life. (2019). Wellness assessment 2018-2019: Graduate and professional students. The Ohio State University Office of Student Life.  

-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant  

How to respond when someone confides in you about their experience with sexual violence

*Content warning: sexual violence and trauma

Providing support to survivors of sexual violence is extremely important. You don’t have to be an expert on the issue to respond with compassion when someone confides in you about their experience with sexual violence. It can be a big decision for a survivor to choose to share their story, and if they confide in you, it likely means that they trust you.  

If someone reaches out to you in the immediate aftermath of experiencing violence, the first step is to ensure the survivor is safe and not in immediate danger. If you or someone you know is experiencing an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. You can also reach out to the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) for support during this time. You can reach SARNCO’s statewide helpline at 1-844-OHIO-HELP and their local (Franklin County) helpline at 614-267-7020. 

Once you have established safety, do your best to remain present, engaged, authentic, and genuine in your response. Start by believing. Practice active listening. Be patient and eliminate distractions. It can be important to express general themes of compassion, support, belief, nonjudgment, and validation. 

Some examples of supportive responses you can offer when someone tells you they have experienced sexual violence include: 

  • “Thank you for sharing your experience with me.”  
  • “It takes a lot of courage for you to share this experience.” 
  • “I believe you.” 
  • “This wasn’t your fault.” 
  • “You didn’t deserve this.” 
  • “I’m sorry this happened to you.” 
  • “I’m here for you.” 
  • “How you are feeling is valid.” or “Your reaction is completely valid.”  
  • “You are not alone.” 

There are also some other reminders to keep in mind as you have this conversation. First and foremost, let the survivor guide the conversation. Be patient and gentle with them. Focus on listening. This may involve sitting in silence and respecting their pace, as well as allowing or encouraging them to take a break when needed. Do not try to fix the situation or jump to action – just focus on being present with them and offering support and validation. 

Don’t ask for details or pressure the survivor to share more information than they are comfortable disclosing. Follow the survivor’s lead and use the same language that they are using to describe their experience when you are talking to them. Don’t judge their reactions or emotions. Experiencing trauma can lead to a variety of valid responses, which can include anger, fear, confusion, sadness, numbness, and many others. Remind them that their experiences, reactions, and emotions are valid no matter how they may be feeling.  

Don’t give unprompted advice or offer suggestions unless you are specifically asked to do so. Instead, ask the survivor how you can best support them and let them define their wants and needs. You can also ask if they would like to look into what resources and options are available. Try to always ask permission before providing information. Asking for permission and letting the survivor take the lead can help to re-establish a sense of control and autonomy after their consent has been violated. If they say no, respect their decision. Do not judge their choices. It is completely up to the survivor what steps they take, including whether they want to report their experience or seek services. 

If you are serving in a capacity in which you are a mandatory reporter, gently inform the survivor of this role and explain what it means. If you are not, keep the survivor’s story confidential. Their story is theirs to tell, and it is up to them when they decide to share their story, as well as to whom and when they want to share their story.  

Finally, as a support person, it is important to care for yourself. Please remember that there are resources available for you as well. Many helplines, including SARNCO’s, are available to support co-survivors and loved ones.  

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, you are not alone.  


On-Campus Resources

Community Resources


-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant   

Time management as a graduate or professional student: Tips for developing a personalized work plan 

Start out by giving yourself grace. 

Time management can be tricky, especially if you are balancing multiple responsibilities such as school, work, family, your social life, physical and mental health, and more. There will be good days and bad days – and that’s okay! 

If you find yourself struggling with time management and procrastination, you are not alone, and there are strategies you can implement to improve your habits. 

Reminder: Your self-worth is not determined by your productivity.  

Take inventory of your current time management habits. 

Spend a week or two tracking how you spend your time. 

Do you have any frequent “time-wasters” like social media that can be cut down? 

Are there certain times of the day when you feel more productive or find it easier to focus? 

This may be more challenging depending on how flexible – or inflexible – your schedule is, but it can help to try to plan your day around the times when you feel most productive. 

Break larger projects down into smaller, more manageable tasks. 

Create a timeline for when you want each task to be completed. 

Make sure this timeline is realistic, reasonable, and fits well with the final deadline for the project. Be sure to give yourself at least a slight buffer. 

Set goals for yourself. 

What motivates you? 

What do you need in order to accomplish your goals? For example, do you need extra feedback and support from a supervisor, coworker, or classmate in order to complete a project or assignment? Reach out for help and support when you need it! 

Organize your to-do list in a way that matches your working style – but leave room for flexibility. 

Be sure to set priorities for your different tasks and projects, keeping in mind deadlines and the amount of time you will need to complete a task. For example, do you like to start out your day with smaller tasks first, or would you prefer to work on a larger project? What needs to be done immediately and what can wait? 

Find a scheduling or time management tool that works well for you. 

Time management is not one-size-fits-all, and you may need to adapt your strategies over time if something that previously worked no longer seems like a good fit. 

Examples of time management tools include planners, calendars, and to-do lists. 

There are also a variety of free time tracking resources such as Toggl and MyHours. If you like the pomodoro method, check out Tomato Timer. 

Block out time to work on tasks and stick to your routine as much as possible. 

Track how much time you are spending on each project. This can help you improve your planning. 

Implement time limits for tasks. Time limits can be helpful if you struggle with perfectionism and find yourself spending time frequently second-guessing or repeatedly reviewing your work before submitting it. 

Online calendars such as those built into Outlook and Gmail make it easy to plan out time for studying and projects – especially if you already use them to schedule work and class meetings. 

Make time for self-care. 

Take breaks throughout the day as you are studying and working. Don’t forget to eat – food is fuel! Giving yourself time to rest and recharge can help your health and wellbeing and enhance your productivity. You can’t pour from an empty cup! 

Plan out time to spend with your friends, family, and significant others. It can be easy to isolate ourselves when we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, but your social wellness is important! Even if it is just a quick phone call to a loved one, try to make time for connection in your life in whatever way you can. 

Incorporate healthy sleep habits into your daily routine. 

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments! Even if something may feel “small”, it’s okay to be proud of yourself and reward yourself! 

Reminder: self-care isn’t selfish 


Check out the Dennis Learning Center for more information and resources on time management: 

Ohio State Wooster has compiled a helpful time management worksheet with more tips and tools: 

OUAB offers a variety of grad/prof events and workshops covering topics such as time management: 

The following resources provide time management tips and tools for individuals who are neurodiverse: 

At the Student Life Student Wellness Center there are several 1-1 resources available for goal setting, peer support, and connection to resources. Schedule a free Wellness Coaching appointment today or call the Buckeye Peer Access Line (PAL) at 614-514-3333 on weekdays from 8pm-midnight for support. 

-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant  

Breaking out of a “slump”: 10 small actions you can take to help you get through a tough day 

Whether you call it a “slump” or “funk”, we all experience off days sometimes when we’re feeling down, find it hard to focus, or need some extra support. Remember that it’s okay to feel this way and try not to be too hard on yourself.  

There are a variety of small actions you can take to help you get through a slump while still caring for yourself. However, if you need to take the whole day to rest, doing nothing is also okay. You know yourself and what you need best.  

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, and it can be challenging to find the motivation to do something. If a task feels too hard, take things one step at a time, or move towards the action until you have the energy to complete it. This can even be as simple as moving to the room you need to be in, even if you can’t bring yourself to start the task yet.  

Check out these small steps to help you get through the day: 

Practice grace, compassion, and gratitude for yourself 

While it’s easier said than done, try not to criticize or be hard on yourself. Gently remind yourself of what you are grateful for, what you are proud of, and what you are looking forward to. Remind yourself that everyone has good days and bad days, and that’s okay. 

Take a shower or bath 

Try to imagine yourself washing away all the stress you’ve been experiencing. 

Drink water 

Make sure you continue to hydrate throughout the day and don’t forget to drink water. Keep a reusable bottle or glass with you. If you find it helpful, you can always set a reminder on your phone for actions like eating, drinking water, and taking medication(s). 

Eat a meal 

Either prepare something for yourself or order food. It doesn’t have to be a complicated dish, but try to eat a full meal. Some examples of quick meals you can prepare that don’t involve much effort include pasta, rice and beans, peanut butter sandwiches, and frozen meals.  

Engage in a grounding or mindfulness activity to bring yourself back into the present moment 

There are lots of different grounding and mindfulness activities you can do. For example… 

  • Wash your hands and focus solely on the task. Feel the warm water and soap on your hands. Count to twenty if it helps you focus. 
  • Use the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise. 
  • Hold something hot or cold in your hands. Focus on the temperature and sensation on your skin. 
  • Go for a walk if you are able to. Pay attention to your surroundings and notice everything around you, including how your body feels. 
  • Describe your surroundings. You can write down your descriptions or just list them in your head. 
  • Listen to music and really focus on the lyrics, beat, or melody. 
  • Close your eyes and envision your favorite place or favorite person. Picture them in your mind. Try to make the image as detailed as possible. For example, if your favorite place is the beach, imagine how the sand feels between your toes, how the ocean sounds as it washes ashore, and how it smells. Try to remember the feeling of the sun on your skin. Envision all the colors, sights, sounds, and sensations. 
  • Get in touch with your body in the present moment. How does it feel to sit in your chair? How do your clothes feel on your skin? How do your feet feel planted on the floor? 
  • Take several long, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. 

Do a “brain dump” 

Write down everything that is on your mind. This can be a list of tasks you need to do, things you are worried about, and anything else that crosses your mind. If you have a thought, write it down. Getting these thoughts out and down on paper can help you process them. If you end up creating a to-do list, try not to put pressure on yourself to get the items done. Just focus on getting them down on paper. 

Spend time with a loved one 

If you can’t be with them physically, call them and talk with them. Reach out to your support system. 

Move your body in a way that feels good for you 

Some examples of movement include yoga, stretching, dancing, walking, running, hiking, swimming, lifting weights, and more. Pick something that feels best for you and focus on how it makes you feel rather than forcing yourself to exercise out of obligation.  

Spend time outside in nature 

In addition to the many benefits of being in the natural sunlight including boosting your mood and improving your sleep, being outdoors can help you to feel more connected to nature and the world around you. If you can’t make it outside, open your curtains or blinds to let the natural light in.  


Have you ever heard the phrase, “laughter is the best medicine?” Laughter can improve your mood, relieve stress, and help your entire body feel more relaxed. The next time you’re feeling out of it, try putting on your favorite comedy or text that one friend who you know can always make you laugh. 

If you find yourself consistently feeling down or depressed, support and resources are available. You do not have to navigate a difficult time alone. Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) offers free individual and group therapy for all Ohio State students, as well as workshops and referrals to community providers. The Student Wellness Center also offers free individual and group wellness coaching. If you are not sure what resource will be the best fit, check out this list of mental health support resources. No concern is ever too small.  


-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant 

Normalizing the Talk about Money

Growing up, did you ever receive messages that talking about money was rude, inappropriate, or disrespectful? Because of these beliefs, talking about money can sometimes feel uncomfortable – but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Talking about money shouldn’t be taboo or shameful. Often when we talk about financial challenges and stress we tend to focus on the individual. However, this doesn’t consider other influential factors like economic inequality, wealth disparities, and discrimination. We don’t all start out at the same place, and we don’t always have access to the same resources and information. One way to help learn more about financial wellness is to talk about it! 

Although it is not a comprehensive list, here are some reasons to talk about money: 

  • Having conversations about money can allow friends and family to share knowledge, strategies, resources, and experiences. Maybe you’ll learn a new budgeting tool or investment strategy! 
  • Talking about money can help destigmatize debt. Due to the high cost of college and graduate/professional school, it is necessary for many students take out student loans to be able to afford pursuing their degree(s). In 2015, approximately 65% of Ohio State graduates had student loans (Farkas, 2019). If you have student loans, or other forms of debt, you are not alone.  
  • Awareness of income and salary information can help with negotiations. If you know what your peers with similar qualifications are making in similar roles, you’ll have a better understanding of what to reasonably ask for. Additionally, sharing salary information with coworkers and friends can help to ensure that people are being paid fairly and equitably. 
  • Discussing expenses such as the cost of services or rent openly can help establish a baseline understanding of average costs. This understanding can help you save money in the long run! 

If you have financial questions or would like additional support relating to your financial wellness, the Student Wellness Center’s free Scarlet and Gray Financial Coaching is a peer-to-peer service that can provide you with financial education and help you set goals.  

Additional Financial Resources 


-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant 

Practicing healthy boundary setting 

Did you know that your relationship with your supervisor is one of the most influential factors in job satisfaction? Practicing effective workplace communication and setting healthy boundaries can make a major difference for your career wellness! 

Start by reflecting on your own needs in order to determine what types of boundaries will be most helpful or necessary. You can do this in a variety of contexts including work, school, and in your relationships.  

To reflect on your needs, think about areas of your life in which you need extra help or support. Reflect on what your ideal scenario or outcome would be. Is something missing in an aspect of your life, whether that be professional or personal? Do you have wants or needs that are currently unfulfilled?  

Think about if you have any commitments, responsibilities, or roles in which you feel overextended, overwhelmed, or unbalanced. What would help improve the situation? It may also be helpful to define your priorities and determine where you can take a step back or decrease your level of commitment. What is required of you and what can you change? 

Try to make this self-reflection on-going. Your wants and needs may change over time, and it is important to check in with yourself. 

While boundaries will look different for everyone, some examples may include: 

  • Setting boundaries around not being contacted or not responding during non-business hours and time off. 
  • Ex: Not checking email or responding to messages after 5:00pm on weekdays or on the weekends and holidays. 
  • Setting boundaries around work hours. 
  • Ex: Creating a hard stop for yourself at 5:00pm. 
  • Setting reasonable expectations surrounding response times to communication. 
  • Ex: Set an expectation to respond to emails within 48 hours during business hours (unless there are extenuating circumstances). 
  • Setting limits for how much work you will take on or how involved you will be. 
  • Setting expectations for workplace behavior and communication. 
  • Setting expectations for how much time you can spend with a partner, friend, or loved one. 
  • Ex: Every Friday night is family game night, or every Saturday is date night. 
  • Once you have identified boundaries, the next step is to clearly communicate them. If this step sounds scary, start out by practicing! If you find it helpful to document your boundaries to practice, you can always create a list for yourself. Reminder: it is okay to ask for what you need! 

One potential strategy for communicating your boundaries is to frame this as a collaborative process. This can take place during an open conversation with your supervisor and coworkers, friends, family members, classmates, and partners and gives each person an opportunity to define expectations. However, this does not mean that you need to compromise or be less assertive with your own boundaries. 

Finally, it can be helpful to develop a strategy for communicating effectively when boundary violations occur. For example, if a supervisor reaches out to you with a meeting request on your day off, be prepared for how you will respond and navigate the situation. This may look like respectfully yet firmly declining the request and explaining that you had previously discussed taking the day off and will not be available. You do not need to apologize or over-explain.  

If you are struggling to set boundaries or figure out what your personal needs are, contact the Student Wellness Center’s Wellness Coaching program to schedule a free one-on-one session for support.  


 -Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant 


Basic Needs Insecurity

Get the facts on basic needs insecurity: Answering 3 key questions about basic needs insecurity on college campuses (content warning

What is basic needs insecurity? 

Basic needs refer to the everyday things that people need to survive and lead healthy, fulfilled lives. These necessities include nutritious food, safe and secure shelter, water, and personal care items. Other examples of basic needs can include access to technology, transportation, healthcare, childcare, and more. 

Barriers to accessing basic needs security are rooted in oppression and discrimination, not individual behaviors or factors. As a result, underserved and under-resourced communities are more likely to experience basic needs insecurity. 

Why is it important to talk about basic needs insecurity on college campuses? 

Meeting basic needs is foundational for health and wellbeing. For example, if a student hasn’t eaten, doesn’t know where their next meal will come from, or doesn’t have a safe place to return home to, it can understandably be extremely hard to focus on coursework, extracurriculars, and other college experiences.  

Students should be able to thrive and focus on their education, wellness, and personal development while in school. Unfortunately, research demonstrates that many students struggle with basic needs insecurity on a regular basis. 

Many students experiencing general basic needs insecurity struggle with food insecurity, housing insecurity, and even homelessness, all while trying to juggle classes, jobs, and other responsibilities. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 58% of students reported experiencing basic needs insecurity. 14% of students reported experiencing homelessness. 

Most students experiencing basic needs insecurity are employed, typically in low-wage positions. Students experiencing basic needs insecurity also tend to work more hours per week. 

Students of color, students with children, LGBTQ+ students, and first-generation students all experience disproportionate rates of basic needs insecurity.  

What is the impact of experiencing basic needs insecurity? 

Students experiencing basic needs insecurity are more likely to struggle with academic performance. They are also more likely to experience negative mental and physical health outcomes. Specifically, students experiencing basic needs insecurity may experience higher levels of depression, stress, and anxiety. Overall, there are a variety of implications for students’ health and wellbeing. 

To summarize… 
  • Basic needs insecurity is widespread on college campuses 
  • Basic needs insecurity disproportionately affects students from under-resourced communities 
  • Basic needs insecurity has a major impact on student health and wellbeing 

If you or someone you know is experiencing food and/or basic need insecurity, Buckeye Food Alliance (BFA), the on-campus food pantry, is available to all students. BFA does not require proof of need and does not collect any financial information. Students only need a valid BuckID to access the pantry. BFA is located in Lincoln Tower, Suite 150. BFA is currently offering online ordering and can be reached at 614-688-2508. The Student Advocacy Center also offers financial assistance, including the Student Emergency Fund. 


-Lucy Hennon, Graduate Student Assistant