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Mental Health and Well-Being

Katherine L. Sermersheim, Ph.D. Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students 

January 27, 2021

Dear Boilermaker,

I sincerely hope your spring 2021 semester is off to a great start. COVID-19 continues to drastically impact the way we live, learn, and interact with one another. Fear, stress and anxiety are common emotions that many have experienced since the onset of the pandemic. We know that people respond to stress and anxiety in different ways. Regardless of how you cope, please know there are resources at Purdue to help!

Avoid isolation. We are social creatures and need to interact with others. As we continue to learn more about this disease, its transmission and vaccination efficacy and effectiveness, we can likely make adjustments to safety protocols in the future; unfortunately we are not there yet. Having said that, we want you to feel connected, build community, and gain/maintain your sense of belongingness with campus. We do not want you feeling alone, isolated or confined to you room or place of residence. One significant step in that direction is to be sure to attend your in-person class sessions. Get Involved by checking out what events are happening and exploring various RSOs to join. If you need help connecting with an RSO, please let us know and we can help.

Make time to unwind. Explore the many options for safe and smart social distancing activities available to you: go for a walk; hangout at The ChillZone in front of KRACH and enjoy the fire pits, Adirondack chairs, play foosball and billiards games, and breathe in the fresh air; and allow yourself to take breaks and interact with others in appropriate numbers.

Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat healthy, and unplug and refuel. Talk with family and friends about how you are feeling and concerns you may be experiencing; you are not alone.

Pace yourself. You are in week two of the semester. Remember that classes, research, assignments, studying, etc. are best tackled in manageable amounts. I encourage you to treat this semester as “a marathon rather than a sprint.” Be sure to explore the advantages of the newly offered Shovel App, an online college planner app available to all Purdue students.

Be aware of and utilize resources. Purdue has countless tools and supports available to assist with your mental health, physical health, academic success and overall well-being: PUSH, CAPS, RecWell/COREC, Wellness Coaching, WellTrack, ODOS, the Academic Success Center, the Writing Lab, Student Success Programs, the Center for Career OpportunitiesAcademic Advising, the Cultural and Resource Centers, and so much more. Whatever you need assistance with, it is likely we can help. In fact, if you have a concern yourself or want to share a concern you might have about another Boilermaker, consider submitting a Student of Concern report. We care and are here to help!

Another important resource is the Discussion and Dialogue series as part of the Steps to Leaps initiative. Check this site out to learn from students and staff about resources that foster positive lifelong habits and promote a growth mindset in areas of well-being, leadership, impact, network building and grit.

We are in this together as Boilermakers and as Boilermakers we can together persevere!

Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue and each of you!


Katherine L. Sermersheim, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Provost & Dean of Students
Purdue University
Schleman Hall| Room 207
475 Stadium Mall Drive | West Lafayette, IN  47907
Phone:  765.494.1257| Email:

Purdue University, Office of the Dean of Students, Helen B. Schleman Hall (formerly the Recitation Building), 2nd Floor, 656 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2086, Phone (765) 494-1747, Fax (765) 496-1550

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