Happy New Year Flinders Community – Welcome to 2024

I’m sitting, looking out my office window, with the year ahead of me. I am slowly seeing the campus come back to life and wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

Hey there Flinders Community! Welcome to 2024 🥳

I’m speaking here primarily to existing readers of the blog and established staff and students. The new 2024 cohort of students doesn’t join us until the 18th of February. Seasoned Flinders peeps (staff and students) will know this is when the campus really comes alive with orientation events and the proportion of people walking around looking confused but excited increases dramatically.

I am on the Bedford Park campus and admittedly it is pretty quiet at the moment. If you are one of the other campuses, comment below what the activity level is there.

Whilst overall things are quiet, much activity is stirring in the background. Lecturing for me kicks off next week with a range of intensives during January for allied health students (e.g. physiotherapy, dietetics) who are accelerating their training. I know staff putting together curriculum for the year, and support staff getting ready to run the diverse range of extra-curricular programs and services that students can access. I am also mindful of Masters and PhD students who often get started back on their big projects early in the year.

Most support services are back and running. Health, Counselling and Disability Services are all open again. Many of our support partners (e.g. SLSS) are also back in action. The Oasis Community Centre is open again. Student Success and Wellbeing Advisors are active again (or at least I can see their office light is on!)

For us in support services, January involves a lot of planning for the upcoming year. A key part of that is working out what productivity and wellbeing programs we’ll be running. When we have dates and times, they’ll go here first and then you’ll see increased promotion of them online and around campus. I know that some familiar programs will be available again (e.g. Be Well Plan and Studyology, Mindfulness for Academic Success, Mental Health First Aid), but I also know that some new casual drop-in sessions with wellbeing/productivity focus are being planned at Beford and Sturt. Should be a good year for those wanting to grow their mental health toolkit.

In recent years, I have kicked off the new year with a focus on what I want to learn for the year (I have written a bit about this on my blog). My role at Flinders (mental health promotion) is one where the more I learn about mental health, the more I can build this knowledge into lectures, programs and resources. The more I learn, the more useful I can be. With this in mind, I try to start the year with good learning momentum. I’ve been bingeing a fair bit of content.

A couple of things I watched recently I think are good for general consumption (not just those with a strong interest in mental health).

The first is an interview with Arthur Brooks (who as an interesting aside seems to have infiltrated the Oprah universe) on what we mean by the term ‘happiness’ and how to cultivate it:

The second is an older but still great interview with the author of Atomic Habits, James Clear on how we develop good habits. Good mental fodder for those who are perhaps trying to use the beginning of the year to start some healthy practices.

Yes, these are both Peter Attia podcasts. No particular reason other than these were on my watch list and Attia is (in my opinion) one of the better interviewers in the health/medical/personal development space.

But if you find you don’t warm to Attia, you’ll find Arthur and James speaking in plenty of other places if you search your podcast or video apps.

Anyway, just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and welcome us all back to university, to get on with the job of learning, teaching, researching and networking.

Talk soon…

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