Binghamton University student group promotes positivity, resilience
Binghamton University’s Mindset Mentors are student interns working to educate others about using stress to their advantage. Their goal? Helping the campus community reveal resilience by providing tools and strategies for students to develop a powerful and positive mindset.
The Mindset Mentors program was created as a result of the University’s COVID-19 Return to Campus planning. This student internship experience, supervised by lecturer Jennifer Wegmann, is offered through Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences’ Division of Health and Wellness Studies.
Through different events and activities on campus, the Mindset Mentors promote the importance of maintaining a positive and healthy lifestyle. By providing students with resources, tips and opportunities to practice new skills, the mentors have helped create a community on campus that is centered around well-being.
The current Mindset Mentors are:
- Abby Terrill, senior, majoring in biological sciences and minoring in health and wellness studies;
- Danielle Chan, senior, majoring in biological sciences and minoring in health and wellness studies;
- Eva Vazquez, senior, majoring in Spanish and minoring in global studies and education;
- Julia McGovern, senior, majoring in human development and minoring in education; and
- Nina Brown, junior, majoring in human development.
BingUNews caught up with the mentors to find out more about the program and why they applied for the internship.
Q: Why did you become a Mindset Mentor?
Vazquez: I wanted to educate others on how to use stress to their advantage. In my stress management class, I learned about the benefits of stress and it completely changed my life. I now “stress smarter” (aka rethink my stress), allowing me to live happier, which is something I want others to experience as well.
Terrill: I was inspired by the mentors who came before me — the important message and positivity that they were spreading was infectious and I just couldn’t wait to follow in their footsteps. Encouraging myself and my peers to view stress through a different lens is extremely rewarding, and I love being able to empower my fellow students with this message.
Brown: I wanted to help our campus community navigate the stressors associated with returning to campus and living during the COVID pandemic. I also wanted to spread awareness that we stress because we care. Being a Mindset Mentor allows me to teach others to embrace stress and use it as a positive resource.
Q: What types of events and activities have been your favorites and why?
Brown: We tabled at a stress management fair that was run by an organization on campus. We made handwritten letters with helpful lessons about rethinking stress for students to take, as well as candy bags. We also had students write what they were thankful or grateful for. We have many events coming up that we are super excited about!
Chan: So far, tabling has been my favorite! We often table in front of the Lecture Hall on the day of big exams (like general chemistry, introduction to biology, etc.), and this is a great way to talk to people and ask them how they’re doing. Sometimes people are a little shy about opening up, but giving them a little bag of candy and really listening to what they have to say or what they’re stressed out about is really rewarding.
McGovern: I really enjoy any time I get to talk directly to students, whether that be with a class presentation or a one-on-one pep talk before a chemistry test. I love watching them realize their potential in real time!
Q: What do you hope students get out of these events and activities?
Vazquez: I hope that students are able to change their view on stress and see the positives of it. Your mindset on stress determines how you react to it. I want students to learn that stress does not have to be debilitating and can actually facilitate growth.
Terrill: These events and activities allow me to personally intervene during stressful times for students and offer a better way to view the situation. With so many research studies focusing on the benefits of mindset interventions before testing scenarios, it is awesome to be able to possibly have a positive effect on everyone I speak to. If offering a few different ways to view stress that they may not previously have considered helped them to control their stress in a positive way, that is a win in my book.
McGovern: I hope students are able to walk away with a new perspective on stress and the tools to adapt a more positive mindset.
Q: What is the best part about being a Mindset Mentor?
Terrill: The best part about being a Mindset Mentor is the opportunity for continued growth — growth within myself and my mindset — as well as everyone we touch. Revealing the resilience we all innately possess is the absolute best part about this internship.
Chan: Everyone here is so kind and passionate about helping others and it’s such a great environment to be in. As part of our internship, we have meetings every Wednesday, and it’s so refreshing and nice to talk to other Mindset Mentors about stress management, gratitude and mindfulness.
McGovern: Aside from getting to be part of a supportive and like-minded team, I love being able to make a positive impact on campus.
Q: How do you stay positive?
Vazquez: Every day I write down five to 10 things that I am grateful for. This allows me to reflect on my day as well as appreciate everything that I have. I also try to stay mindful and present throughout my day. Slowing down and living moment to moment helps me stay positive during times of stress.
Brown: It can be easy to get caught up in the fast lane and forget to appreciate the little things life offers. I stay positive by remaining conscious of my thoughts and trying to keep them optimistic. By staying present and enjoying the moment I’m in, I am able to stay mindful and be thankful for what I have. Finding good in every little moment will help lead me to a grateful and happy life.
Chan: While staying positive is important, forcing yourself to constantly be positive and happy can be a very toxic mindset to have — but that’s for another conversation! I try to stay positive by practicing positive self-talk, which follows one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. We are often our own harshest critic, so I try to be a little more kind and forgiving toward myself if something bad happens or if something doesn’t go my way.