How often do you pause and think about something that you are grateful for? Paying attention to how you feel, especially things that you are grateful for can put a positive spin on your day and lead to better mental health. According to a study published on gratitude in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits. Could it be as simple as thinking about what you are thankful for to boost your mood, build better friendships, and inspire creative thinking?
The month of November lends itself to the season of giving thanks. We reached out to a variety of students—from Guaranteed Admission Program students to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members—who have utilized UVM’s Continuing and Distance Education programs and asked them if they are thankful for continuing their education.
Here are their responses in Part 1 of our Thankful for Continuing Education series:
Theresa Bugbee, Healthcare Management and Leadership Program Graduate
“I am thankful for the support of my classmates in the Healthcare Management and Leadership Program, understanding the difficulties we all face as new supervisors. We were able to develop an understanding of common situations we face as supervisors. It was nice to know I wasn’t alone that I am part of the University of Vermont community. I feel I am better prepared for leading my team.”
John Hanagan, OLLI member and instructor
“For 50 years, the classroom was a place of challenge, growth, learning, joy and, yes, even love. Of all the facets of my life–music, aviation, travel–the give and take of teaching and learning was the most fulfilling. I came to think of the classroom as sacred ground, and retirement left a lacuna that felt impossible to fill. Then, on returning to Vermont after teaching in Japan, I discovered the vast array of opportunities and bright and engaging people of OLLI. While my physical health has caused me to reduce my engagement with the outer world, my inner life has remained vital and questing. OLLI has offered me the forum in which I can continue to nurture the growth and learning which is at the heart of teaching. During the past few years, I have taught classes on the Tao of Music, Ancient Teachings on Mindfulness, and the Wisdom and Beauty of Plato’s Republic.
This coming March, I will be teaching a four-lecture series on the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu. This ancient Chinese text of prose/poems has inspired me for decades, and I am excited for the opportunity to explore once again its worldview, which is full of insights and riddled with puzzles. The staff and participants of OLLI have created a warm community of bright minds and open hearts. I am grateful to be numbered among them.”
Mae Mae Morrical, Guaranteed Admissions Program & Full-Time UVM Student
“I am very thankful for the Continuing Education program because without it I would not be where I am today– here at UVM as a full-time student. This program provided a transition stage for me from the University of Arizona to being an official transfer student here at UVM. I went to U of A my freshman year and then decided to transfer to UVM, but my GPA wasn’t quite high enough. That’s when I heard about the GAP (Guaranteed Admission) program, which is part of the Continuing Education Program. During my experience in this wonderful program, I got to take classes through UVM that were related to my major which was a great way to start off. Taking one less class than the “typical” student each semester gave me the chance to be more organized about my studies, to be able to focus on all of my classes and to put forth all my effort. In the GAP program, by keeping my GPA above 3.0 for two semesters I was automatically accepted into UVM as a transfer student. Currently I am a Junior here at UVM and I am studying Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Special Education.
As part of the GAP program I participated for two semesters in a course called Foundations of Learning. This course helped me develop skills and strategies to prepare me for being a full-time student. This course is very helpful to High School graduates who are worried that their grades might not be good enough to get into college. Or for students who were wait-listed trying to get into UVM. Since I was trying to transfer into UVM after a year of college elsewhere, I already had a little more experience than other students who were in the program with me. But the GAP program and Foundations of Learning course helped me to improve my GPA and to be even better prepared for what academic life would be like as a full-time college student here at UVM. Overall, where I am right now as a UVM Junior and with a major and minor that I love; I would not change anything. UVM is the place to experience new things, and the GAP program and Continuing Education are a terrific opportunity to join the UVM community and get off to a great start!”
Nick Maganan, Leadership & Management Professional Certificate Program Graduate
“Working for a co-operative has made a huge difference in my career. I am grateful for the support and acknowledgment our farm families show employees, and appreciate their willingness to invest in my future through the UVM Leadership and Management program. If you know the Co-operative business model, it isn’t a surprise; education is one of the Seven Co-operative Principles, established in Rochdale, England, in 1844. The ability to grow and advance keeps me motivated and excited to come to work every day. Anytime you show an interest in growing and learning, good leaders take notice. Thankfully, our leadership at Cabot Creamery has honored my interest in continuing to grow, and have provided many opportunities. I am especially grateful to be able to continue to expand my work with our B Corp and Co-operative partners.”
Taking pause in our busy hectic lives can be good for our mental health and potentially physical well-being. According to Positive Psychology.com, studies have shown that gratitude journaling can increase one’s happiness, can even reduce inflammation in the body, reduce stress, and promote better sleep. For students and adult learners of UVM’s Continuing and Distance Education, the decision to continue their education and feed their quest for knowledge makes us thankful every day and proud to be a part of their life-long learning journey.
In our Thankful for Continuing Education at UVM, Part 2, we’ll hear from a Vermont educator, U.S. Ski Team athlete and a healthcare administrator on how continuing education has had a positive impact on their lives.