I consider it a privilege to speak to students on the topic of wellbeing


When I started this role in 2017 I really only considered the written aspect of what I was doing. I envisioned working on websites and written content (e.g. this blog) and some self-help guides. 

Those things have materialised for sure, but the surprise has been the opportunities to run training with students on topics like self-care, mental fitness, habit formation, wellbeing and academic success, resilience, mindfulness, mental health and preparing for placements. 

I’ve been able to speak to many students across many different disciplines: allied health (e.g. physio, dietetics, OT), medicine, tourism, film studies, education, psychology.  

I’ve been incredibly grateful for these opportunities. First, because doing these presentations has yielded the genuinely surprising realisation that I enjoy giving them, despite the butterflies in the stomach. Second, students (and staff) have been incredibly kind and welcoming in the process. Even my worst presentations (and there have been a few) have been kindly tolerated and motivational feedback still given. I am forever grateful to Marion for inviting me back to speak to her student group, despite my first outing with her students being a terrible performance on my part.  

Not only do I get to speak to the students, I also get to form collegial relationships with the course coordinators who run these topics. We get to conceptualise new and interesting projects (thanks Tom for the opportunity to do film projects!), additions to curriculum (thanks physio!), changes to student training (thanks dietetics) and in the process I get an insight into the different topics students are studying. My professional network has expanded and I am always honoured when topic/course coordinators ask me to come back to speak again to their next cohort of students. 

This week is a standout example of a week defined by many training opportunities. Yesterday morning I talked ‘professional resilience and mindfulness’ with Ursula from the Horizon program, trying to give students future insights into the workforce and how to start building professional resilience. In the afternoon I spoke with first year Tourism students, and attempted to convince them of the power of habits in building both academic performance but also wellbeing (you’ll have to ask them if I did end up convincing them).

Tomorrow I’ll meet for the first time Ophthalmology students (thanks to Mallika for the invitation) and chat with them how to navigate the intellectually and emotionally draining aspects of their training – particularly the movement from theoretical academic work to the clinical practice component of their profession. In the evening I will be a guest speaker at a student-led event run by the Psychology and Social Work student associations that seeks to build supportive networks between these disciplines.  

Finally, on Thursday evening I will be sitting down at home, in my study, with a heated throw rug on my lap, delivering the Be Well Plan online (via Collaborate) with my trusty colleague Vanessa. We’ll be working closely with a motivated group of students to learn how to build their own wellbeing and resilience plan. 

I’ll see out the remainder of May with presentations to education students about to head out on placement, and a second session with physio students talking about how to support clients to make important health behaviour changes.

So where next?

One of my training goals is to reach into some of the topics that don’t regularly request such training sessions, like the physical and computer sciences. However I am not pushy. I don’t like to invite myself to other people’s parties, so if you are student or staff member in one of those degrees and are interested in some training around mental health or similar topics, hit me up at gareth.furber@flinders.edu.au

I’ll finish up with a simple thankyou to all the staff and students who have organised, invited or attended a presentation I’ve given. If you think about it, it is incredibly lucky to be able to have a voice within one’s area of interest. I’m committed to not taking for granted these opportunities I am given and working to get better at my craft over time.

Take care peeps

Dr G

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