Just Keep Swimming! The Importance of Mental Health in the Financial Aid Profession, 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

By Allie Bidwell, NASFAA Senior Reporter

NASFAA members know all too well that working in the world of financial aid can be an emotionally and mentally taxing job. Combining that with other stressors from life outside of work, it can be difficult to manage your stress and prioritize your mental health.

In a Monday morning session, Philip Hawkins of The George Washington University Law School, and Joseph Dobrota of the College of William & Mary shared how they navigated extremely difficult times in their own lives — when work seemed unmanageable and personal issues interrupted their lives — and how learning how and when to put themselves first helped them come through the other side.  

“Sometimes we break down because we’ve never let ourselves bend. We’ve never let ourselves be flexible,” Hawkins said. “Sometimes in the financial aid business that we’re in, we get so tied up with the statute and the regulations and the policies that we become so ingrained with ... that we don’t let ourselves, not just our decisions we make for our students, but we don’t let ourselves bend enough. It’s important to sometimes think of that and that word ‘resilience.’”

Hawkins and Dobrota shared their own tips for how those in the financial aid profession can prioritize their mental health in order to fully focus on serving their students. Things as simple as taking lunch away from your desk, taking your allocated vacation time, or having a conversation with a trusted family member or friend, they said, can help you stay mentally focused and energized.

“Until you can help yourself you’re not going to be able to help somebody else,” Hawkins said. “Let’s really go back to the personal touch and the personal contact with each other and make things positive for each other in our profession.”


Publication Date: 6/25/2018

Melissa D | 9/17/2018 4:19:13 PM

Is there a way to get the powerpoint for this session? Thanks.

Brynn B | 8/19/2018 9:33:01 AM

How do I get the powerpoint for this session?

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