WELLNESS—It’s a term we hear often these days, but what does it really mean? It goes far beyond simply the absence of illness, and indeed beyond physical health. True wellness accounts for well-being in all aspects of our lives. In its modern form, wellness includes multiple areas of well-being, including physical, social, community, and sense of purpose.
Wellness is not something you either achieve or don’t – it is recognizing your capacity right where you are, regardless of the seeming lack of something, and moving forward to be the very best you can be in that moment. Wellness is a concept that allows two seemingly contradictory facts to be true at the same time. Chronic illness and joyful relationships. Sadness and physical strength. Anxiety and purpose. Wellness recognizes all aspects of the self. We strive to be well in each aspect to the extent possible at that time and find communities that value and support our wellness.
Each of us must take responsibility for our own wellness, which takes work—no one can do it for us. College is the best time to form the habits that will help you care for yourself throughout your life. The University of Southern California is dedicated to creating an environment that supports students, faculty and staff in achieving their wellness potential—to help make it easy to take steps toward wellness. The resources found on campus are among the most forward thinking in the nation when it comes to supporting well-being in all areas of life.
Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry has an ambitious goal for USC: to become the healthiest university campus in America. “We have been thinking about strategic approaches to address issues of health and wellness in the most comprehensive sense, in body, mind and spirit,” he says. Wellness goes far beyond medical care to include resources to support individual well-being and collective community in all aspects of student life. “We take a holistic look at student life, and try to make sure students have outlets for all the components.” This includes studying, eating, exercising, sleeping, practicing mindfulness, and using safer sexual behaviors.