August 5, 2020
Physical distancing, not social distancing.

Being able to create and maintain social relationships is paramount during times of stress and uncertainty. For both students & staff alike, we face similar challenges in this space; while also finding the experience incredibly valuable and rewarding. Below we have a reflection from our staff committee, as well as student leader Rachael Owen that offers advice and authentic reflection:
 
Staff Reflection: When we’re in elementary school, our friends are generally those who are in our class. Later in school, we start to make friends who have similar interest in clubs, sports, the arts, or other school and/or social activities. As adults, it’s not as easy to make friends. There are fewer pre-established groups. It takes effort to find new ways to find people to round out the social circle. Considering that, as adults - we make friends at work. At the gym. With religious groups. COVID or not, it’s awkward. Start by assuming the good - that people who are in some kind of community gathering, virtually or otherwise, are open to meeting new people. Try seeing if anyone is open to a new activity together. Sometimes people who work out together are also open to going to brunch together. Or having a virtual or socially-distant small gathering. It’s hard to be vulnerable, but there are good things that happen when you try. 
 
Student Reflection: While social well-being looks a bit different in 2020, the purpose of maintaining it has not changed at all. According to the Rowan Thrive framework, the purpose of social well-being is to have a sense of belonging and connection with others. While things will still be virtual or hybrid for the near future, it’s now more important than ever to prioritize your social well-being. My advice for maintaining social well-being is simple. Get involved! That is what I did when I started at Rowan last year as a freshman. I attended many events and met lots of new friends along the way. My advice to you, join that club you always wanted to join. Reach out to new people you don’t know. Keep in contact with any new friends you meet along the way. By doing all these things, not only will you maintain social well-being, but you may end up meeting people you’ll be friends with for the rest of your life.
 
Overall, when our social well-being is heightened, it positively impacts other dimensions, especially emotional well-being. So our advice to you – both student & staff alike, is take the chance; we need to rely on each other now more than ever. It’s on us to be physically distant, but not socially distant.

Be well,

DON'T MISS OUT
DISCOVER
SOCIAL

Making friends, in general, can be hard at times. Especially as a commuter, you don’t have the benefits of being forced into getting to know a random roommate. When I first came to Rowan as a transfer student, I was worried about not finding those people who I could connect with. However, after coming to campus and being here for a year now, I feel like I have made some genuine connections through these different ways. Read More.
SOCIAL & EMOTIONAL

I quickly discovered that making friends wasn’t as easy as I’d always assumed. Despite my best efforts, I wasn’t connecting in meaningful ways with those who I share my new city with.
It’s hard to make friends as an adult because most of us are pretty set in our ways. We have our friends, our routines, and it’s hard to deviate from them. Plus, we don’t have the built-in opportunities we had when we were younger and everyone was at similar life stages. As we grow older, some may be married with kids, while other friends are single and having fun. When we’re younger most of us are in school, then college, and on to post-college life. Read More.
EMPLOYEE WELL-BEING
#RowanThriveReCharge Employee Well-Being Program

We recognize that this is an extremely challenging time, but if there was ever a time for self-care and supporting your well-being, this is the time to invest in yourself and your peers. This ReCharge initiative will provide an exploration/pilot time period to consider improving an area of well-being that would be evaluated to commit to for the fall semester. Employees please take a few second to fill out this registration form so we know you are willing to receive email prompts to get started on your journey of well-being.  
STORIES OF RESILIENCE
When quarantine began, I was hit hard. How would I manage my work, my family? How could I help my 13-year old daughter navigate the stress and uncertainty around her?

When you board a plane, and the safety instructions start, they always say – put your mask on first. So, that is what I did. I took a minute to reflect on how I could use the changes around me for positive outcomes. I started doing yoga more regularly. I set up an outdoor working area, and took my days outside to enjoy the fresh air. I began running. 

Almost three months later, and I’ve accomplished a lot. I ran my first ever 10K, then my first 10 miler. I’m currently in training for a half-marathon in September. I’ve been able to successfully balance my career, my home, my family. But most importantly, I’ve learned to take care of myself first. To allow myself the space to grow, to fail, to learn, and to be.
 
Christine Beswick (Rowan SOM)
RESOURCES
Strive to Thrive is a newsletter for the Rowan University community. Visit rowan.edu/thrive or contact rowanthrive@rowan.edu for more information.