News at Medicine - June 2019 - Profile: Michelle Snow, student wellness consultant

Profile: Michelle Snow, student wellness consultant
June 3, 2019
Since October, Michelle Snow has been helping our MD students stay healthy with some new wellness initiatives like movement and meditation sessions, Wisdom Wednesday messages and support groups. She brings a rich background with her to the role of student wellness consultant and has embraced the challenge.
Can you tell me a little about your past work experience?

Over the past 10 years I have been involved in working with post-secondary students as a student counsellor, educator (Sexual Harassment Office), instructor and now as the Student Wellness consultant. I‘ve also had a private practice where I offered counselling, hypnotherapy and psychosomatic therapy, in addition to creating various seminars, workshops and even a dance group for women in Calgary, AB and here in NL.

What drew you to this role?

Wellness has been in the forefront of my life for many years. To be in a position that aligns with my own personal journey is meaningful. My work has to have meaning or I lose interest very quickly. Connecting with students and serving them in a meaningful way contributes to my wellbeing.

What do you bring to this role that may be unique?

I feel that I’m a very creative being. I love coming up with new ideas, testing them out, seeing what works, what doesn’t work, etc. Collaborating with students on events and initiatives is also essential to the work that I do. I want to offer experiences that resonate with students to have a positive impact.
I also feel that my training in alternative therapies has been serving as a different twist when working with students. I offer weekly movement and meditation sessions for all members of the Faculty of Medicine to cultivate a deeper awareness of the body-mind connection and to offer a space where attendees can show up for themselves and yet be a part of a community. I feel that it’s important to understand that we’re not alone.

Are you changing what student wellness is the faculty?

It’s amazing that wellness has gained such great awareness and is at the forefront, but as a society we have a tendency to overcomplicate things and sometimes we miss the point. The definition of wellness boils down to freedom to choose. Wellness will mean something different to everyone. And this will shift as we move through life depending on what’s being presented to us and what we’re experiencing.
Wellness, in essence, is forced to become simpler in our everyday lives especially during demanding times. It may mean a simple breathing exercise a couple of times a day to stay grounded, ensuring sleep time, decent nutrition, some down time, asking for help, etc. My hope is to continue to demonstrate that wellness is really a way of being instead of having something else to add to our to-do list. Wellness can be so much simpler than we imagine it to be.

What are your goals for student wellness in the faculty?

One of my biggest goals is to highlight through educational pieces and advocating that medical students are human beings. They are put up against very intense expectations and as a result may feel that they have to keep up to a ‘super human’ pace. After collaborating with students on a number of events such as On Being Human: Our Stories in Medicine and The Gathering Rounds, it’s apparent that students are ready for change. They’re ready to speak up, reduce stigma, ask for what they need and make a better world for themselves, future medical students and for the future patients they will serve.
I feel a wave of change happening and it’s truly exciting to be on this cusp with an amazing group of humans. It’s about becoming vulnerable and speaking the truth, and this takes a tremendous amount of courage.

Another significant goal is to keep things simple and to also focus on the positive. Kindness and compassion can go a long way to make this world a better place. I hope to create opportunities that have an impact so that students feel inspired to carry it forward.