Cassidy, Mandy, and Mary-Gayden share a little more about what Rebound is and how you can get connected. The group shares their undergrad experiences and how Rebound could have drastically changed those experiences.
Keep a look out for future episodes, every other week, hosted by yours truly, Dr. Tim Miller!
Full episode transcription: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CU6Uk_K454WfhGWMX5oGiTTS6WiyUeIJL5cAnpbv1hM/edit?usp=sharing
**Rebound Jingle Plays
All right, welcome everybody to our intro podcast for the Rebound program at JMU. This podcast is designed for members of the JMU community, students, alumni, faculty and staff to come on and have conversations about their personal obstacles in order to carry out the mission of the Rebound program to normalize setback that we all have along our respective journeys. This episode will give you an overview of Rebound, introduce you all to those that work so hard to make Rebound truly what it is, and then we'll answer some classic rebound questions. So now I'm gonna have everybody here introduce themselves.
Thanks Mandy, so my name is Cassidy Mechalske, I use she/her pronouns. I just graduated from my master's program here at JMU. And now, I am the coordinator in the Dean of Students Office, and I directly oversee the continued growth of Rebound. I'm very very excited to do so.
Hi everyone my name is Mary-Gayden Morrill and I'm in my first year of the College Student Personnel Administration program with my graduate assistantship in the Dean of Students Office, focusing on the Rebound program as well. I just started at JMU this past August, after graduating from the University of Mary Washington in may.
I'm Mandy Vitale, I entered JMU as a first year in 2017 and just graduated in May 2021. I'm now serving as a presidential engagement fellow in student affairs this year and I'm partnering with the dean of students through rebound this year, and to put this podcast together and serving as a mentor in the program. So all right. Cassidy, can you give us a little overview of what Rebound is?
Yeah, absolutely. So Rebound one is very new. It was just started in 2019 So I always hear students say, I have never heard of this, or I wish this existed when I was a freshman. And so wanted to preface that it was a very new program, and it's a little bit two-fold. So, the whole chunk of rebound is really just to create this community. So to start normalizing conversations around setback and obstacles. It communicates failure as normal and a common college experience. Oftentimes, when we experience setbacks, we feel like one, we are the only ones that ever experience setbacks, and two we feel very negative towards that experience. And so rebound is really here to share stories and create a community that normalizes that. College is really hard, and people often don't stop to acknowledge that or talk about.
So that's half of Rebound. The other half of Rebound is an actual program. So students going through setback or really just wanting a space to reflect on key areas of their life, and kind of create goals and success plans can get connected, 1:1 with a mentor, and meet with them for eight consecutive weeks to really spend time on that reflection, and trying to make meaning out of these setbacks, right, you know, taking out the negative and really replacing it with the understanding that these are just learning moments, what do we do with them. So that is the program side of rebound.
And I just like really connect to the program and appreciate it so much because if rebound existed for me as an undergrad, it would have drastically changed my college experience. It would have made my first bad grade feel less negative. We always come into college, told that first years often drop 1.0 point in their GPA. Well I did, and it destroyed me. And so that would have helped me feel a little bit less alone in that, and less negative. And it would also have made my experience of grief less lonely. People don't often talk about those human experiences that can happen, you know, we're humans before we're students and things like that can come up. Rebound really just helps us as individuals to feel less alone in our experience of setback, and to know where to go during, and after that obstacle, whether that's viewing the stories of others, or getting connected to a mentor that can offer that space for reflection and growth. So, yeah, I just really connect to it, and I can't wait for students to know more about it
Yeah, Cassidy I think you brought up some really great points. For me personally, coming straight out of undergrad, that's still a pretty tight relationship in my head. One thing we think about a lot after working with Rebound these past couple of months is that if my institution had had something like this I think it would have made the transition from high school and living at home with my family, to going to college and having that level of independence so much easier. I think a lot of students lack emotional support and wellness support without even knowing it. And I know that after interacting with my students in rebound, I think, support is a huge issue that undergrads lack, and I'm really grateful to be able to give that to students now, but I do think that would be the biggest impact for me from undergrad.
Yeah, I can definitely relate to all of the things that you guys said. I think for me, I definitely struggled a lot in my college experience and my mindset was just put my head down and get through it, and I was probably overly resilient in a way. I didn't want any help. I was like you know this happened to me, it's my job to get through it. And so I think having a program like rebound would have normalized that struggle for me, and found a community, through it, that would have been so important for me. Because college moves so fast you get caught up in it all and you forget to humanize those around you and even yourself, it definitely would have taught me to give myself more grace and permission to exist, how I am, and accept the help when it's offered. I was very against accepting help and that's probably something I'm still working on, but being in a community where this is all normalized and talked about and we're allowed to have setbacks and we don't have to do it by ourselves, there's a community here to help us through it, that just would have been a crazy mindset shift for me.
I love that so much Mandy. I think one of the things that you just said resonates with me, it's like, you know, put your head down and get through it, and that's what undergrad felt like a lot of the times was just like in survival mode. And so as we talk about Rebound and kind of shed more light on this great program and JMU, half of that is also the podcast. So we're very excited to be sharing this in this way and launching that space, and so each episode, you're going to hear us, ask a question about advice. So I wanted to pose a question - if you could give your freshman self one piece of advice, what would it be? I think my answer would connect to that idea you just brought up, the idea of just getting through it. Going through survival mode, I realized just wasn't healthy. Dean's list is not worth sacrificing your mental, your social or your physical wellness or it just isn’t. If you prioritize yourself first, that ultimately is what can lead to greater success. And so, I would have just liked to let my first year self know that it's okay to be a human first, it's okay to take a break, it's okay to take time to reflect, it's okay to sleep in on the weekend, and then cram all day Sunday, listen to your body and your mind and self compassion and positive self talk were huge tools that I took to help combat this. Just giving myself grace and just repeating for myself - College is tough, but I am tougher. Putting myself first is better than sacrificing my wellness.
Yeah Cassidy I really like what you said about being human first. We get stuck in these roles as students are now, faculty and staff or grad students and you forget to be human and kind of in this role right now and as I reflect on my college career. I was so grade oriented, and I'm not saying grades aren't important. We are at college to learn, but I guess everybody needs to hear something different so I guess when I was a student, I would have liked to. Again, not that I would have listened to myself, but I feel like I missed out on a lot of personal growth, a lot of social stuff because I was so grade oriented.
But I would tell my first year self to take the time to truly get to know yourself, get to know your values, your strengths, your weaknesses, because it wasn't until I got to know myself that I gained that sense of self authorship, on this campus and felt I truly belonged and I can contribute to this community. And it wasn't until that you tap into your authentic self that you can truly reap the benefits of that. Just take the time, reflect, slow down and figure out what's important to you, what makes you happy, not the people around you happy but what makes you happy. Yeah that's what I think I would tell myself.
Let me just start by saying the amount of advice I would give my freshman self is just insane. But if I had to narrow down to one thing. I genuinely think I would have told myself that taking a gap year is not a crime of the century. I genuinely don't think that I was ready to make the transition from living at home to living by myself, because I was so tied up with my family and I just, I had never had the opportunity to live alone and I never liked sleep overs never liked getting away from my family. Um, and then obviously when I got to my freshman year, my academics like my social, emotional, physical health, it was so bad I did not perform well at all which was not normal for me, and I almost didn't know how to react because I was so caught off guard. And that led to obviously a bigger spiral, and then I really had a lot of work to do to fix my GPA my junior and senior year. So I do think that taking a gap year, whether it's a year or even just a semester off just to work and get yourself oriented for the right mindset, do some personal reflection like you both said, those, those are great steps. But, after hearing all these great responses, I'm sure you guys are dying to know how you can get engaged with rebound and there's tons of ways you can do it. Regarding the actual program. Anyone is welcome to share their rebound story and you can do it in literally any way you want to do. We've seen poetry, artwork videos, writing samples, whatever you're interested in, and additionally if you or someone you know is interested in sharing your story, feel free to reach out to the Dean of Students Office and we will get you connected and get you the resources you need to have your story shared, and then also we have a bunch of revamped social media, we'd love for you guys to check out our Instagram Facebook Spotify and Apple podcasts are all at JMU rebound and we are so excited to get content out for you guys.
Well thank you all for joining us today, from now on, we're gonna take a step back and be behind the scenes a little while Dr. Miller takes over as our hosts to talk to our guests. You can expect new conversations to be coming out about twice a month and we hope that you will join us on this journey of normalizing setback and shedding light on the holistic human experience. But until next time, what's your rebound story.
**Rebound Jingle Plays
Transcribed by https://otter.ai