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Hullabaloo U Review: Healthy Relationships

Published on 11/12/2020 11:17:57 AM
By Jada Gonzalez '20

As part of the Hullabaloo U curriculum, Hullabaloo U instructors and peer mentors examine relationships and lead group activities to discuss the different characteristics of healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships with their students. New students meeting many new people during their first semester, so it’s important that they understand how to identify different kinds of relationships and the resources that are available to them to help navigate these relationships.
 
“My main goal with teaching this topic is to help students understand what healthy relationships look like,” said Amelia Williamson, instructor and Academic Integrity Administrator in the Aggie Honor System Office. “Not only in their romantic relationships, but also identify red flags potentially in their friendships or even family dynamics. I don’t want to scare students, but rather give them tools and things to think about as they move forward during their time here and beyond.”
 
Hullabaloo U instructors have many ideas on how they would approach the healthy relationships, especially in hybrid courses where students are both online and in-person.
 
 “Utilizing Zoom and breakout rooms are the best we can do given the circumstances, but not being able to read body language or facial expressions for the students is tough,” said Paige Hellman, instructor and Senior Career Services Coordinator at the Career Center. “When a student feels comfortable enough to share something about themselves, I feel very honored. It’s such a good reminder and encouragement that, even though this isn’t the semester that any of us planned, the students are still gaining something from the class, the content, and the relationships.”
 
By allowing first-year students to have an open discussion about different types of relationships, it gives them the opportunity to evaluate their relationships with others. Whether these relationships are professional or personal to the student, it allows them to share how they are feeling, which the Hullabaloo U instructors always encourage students to do.
 
“It’s been extra tough on so many of the fish, because of all of the COVID-related challenges layered on top of the normal, hard-enough challenges of starting at a big university,” said Dwight Roblyer, instructor and senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science. “This student and I had talked once or twice since that initial time and I was concerned about whether she was finding her footing.  However, when the appointment started, her eyes sparkled over the Zoom link and she talked about figuring out how she wasn’t alone in her doubts and fears, as well as learning to learn from mistakes and failures and being kinder to herself.”
 
Seeking advice about healthy relationships can feel intimidating, confusing, and pointless – especially in an era of online communication; however, the purpose of the Hullabaloo U instructors and peer mentors is to help new students navigate the college experience, including the relationships they make along the way. Healthy relationships do not always come easy, but instructors and peer mentors put lessons into practice when they display communication, respect, trust, honesty, and accessibility to all of their students.
 
Learn more about healthy relationships with Counseling and Psychological Services.