Student wellness through the eight pillars

Pillars of wellness: These eight pillars represent areas in which individuals can seek out wellness in their lives. Washburn University provides resources to help with each.

Kodee Christensen

Coming to college means shifting your focus to things such as classes, finances, relationships and everything in between. Based on my own personal experience in the last couple of years, this can be overwhelming at times. Questions like, “what do I fix first?” and “which area is most important?” and “where do I begin?” are all questions I’m sure most, if not all, of us have asked at one time or another in our careers as college students.

The good news is, there is a plethora of resources for us to use when it comes to issues like this, the Student Recreation and Wellness center being one of them. The SRWC is more than just a gym. Wellness is literally in the name. The SRWC promotes eight pillars of wellness that, when applied, “assist individuals in establishing lifestyle patterns that will enhance their well-being throughout their lives,” according to Washburn’s SRWC information page. These pillars are emotional, intellectual, physical, social, occupational, environmental, financial and spiritual wellness.

“I have had the eight dimensions of wellness described to me like plates spinning on a stick,” said the SRWC’s student wellness assistant Macy Howell. “Once one plate starts to fall off, it’s hard to juggle the rest. We want to promote an all-encompassing view of wellness because that is what makes us whole—you cannot just have strong physical health and be set, you need to find a balance with all eight in order to be a well person. At times it will be hard to balance all eight, but the goal is to be striving to achieve a strong relationship with all dimensions of wellness.”

Each of the eight pillars play an important role in your life as a human and as a college student. When life is broken up into these different areas, it can feel more achievable to tackle the issues that arise in everyday life concerning each. Still, a first step has to be taken in each direction in order to achieve wellness. Howell provides some advice to those seeking guidance.

“Use your resources on campus,” said Howell. “The SRWC can help students struggling by providing information on all dimensions of wellness. Counselling services can be a good resource for those struggling in many dimensions of wellness. If you are struggling intellectually, using the library or your professors to help you develop those skills. My greatest advice is to use those resources around you to help you become a more well-rounded being.”

Howell also said that she has referred to the website,, for tips on wellness in her own life. It features various articles and tips on how to achieve wellness, especially as a college student. 

If you’re someone who is desiring ways to seek wellness in your life, consider evaluating yourself based on each of these pillars, then looking at the campus resources that offer assistance in each area. Different places to consider are counseling services, career services, the student health center, tutoring services and extracurricular clubs and groups.

Visit Washburn’s page on student involvement for specific ways you can pursue wellness in your own life.

Edited by Adam White, Jason Morrison