All posts by Michelle Mehallow

About Michelle Mehallow

Hi, I'm a recent Penn State grad with a degree in Kinesiology and an obsession with all things health and wellness. I'm a former gymnast living in the Philadelphia area with a love for content creation and design.

Financial Wellness

What does it mean to have Financial Wellness? Financial wellness means creating a sustainable budget and following the 5 principles of financial literacy: earning, saving and investing, spending, borrowing and protecting (1).

Why is Financial Wellness important? Finances, for everyone, can be source of stress. Between part-time jobs, paying some or all of your tuition, taking out loans, you might be feeling overwhelmed. Developing good money management skills during college can set you up for a successful financial future after graduation. Financial wellness is important because, let’s face it, money affects everyone. The good news is, Penn State offers resources to help you create financial wellness! These resources will help you develop the skills to become financially independent and secure over time. The world of budgeting, credit, loans, and investments can be daunting to navigate on your own, so you shouldn’t hesitate to take advantage of the resources on campus. The Penn State Student Financial Education Center is here to help, and offers free educational resources for students.

How do we cultivate Financial Wellness?

We can cultivate financial wellness by staying on top of personal finances, which means addressing financial issues as they arise and saving extra money in order to create a more secure financial future. We can work toward financial wellness by keeping good records of our income and expenses, planning ahead and setting goals, and developing a habit of regularly saving money. Managing finances in a sustainable way can free us from living paycheck to paycheck or in chronic debt. Instead of being a source of stress, money can become a useful tool to help us live comfortably, invest in ourselves, and achieve our personal and professional goals.




Career Wellness

Career Wellness: What It Is, Why It’s Important, and How to Cultivate It.

What does it mean to have Career Wellness? Career wellness, or being professionally well, means that you gain personal satisfaction and enrichment from your work. It also means that your work is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle (1).

Why is Career Wellness important? While most of us students aren’t employed full-time, our classes and extracurricular activities form much of the basis of our careers. Whether we’ve identified our dream job since we were young or are still trying to find our passion, thinking about career wellness can help inform our decisions and guide our thinking. Career wellness is important because our careers will likely be a huge part of our life. Maintaining a positive relationship with our work can have ripple effects throughout the rest of our life. Rosso, Dekas, and Wrzesniewski found that finding meaning in one’s work was associated with increased job satisfaction and personal fulfillment as well as decreased stress (2).

How do you cultivate Career Wellness? Finding a job that you love or the career path that’s right for you isn’t always easy. You can start by considering your own values and goals (3). What do you like to do with your free time? What excites you? Which classes or school projects do you particularly enjoy? Thinking about the answers to these questions can be helpful when searching for a job or career. Penn State has many resources to guide you along your path to finding a fulfilling profession.  It’s worth taking time to visit Career Services. Check their website to learn about when drop-in career counseling is offered.  You can also join a student organization: there are a wide variety of academic and professional clubs at Penn State.

Here are a few links to get you started:



  1. Ohio State University Student Wellness Center
  2. Rosso, B. D., Dekas, K. H., Wrzesniewski A. (2010). On the meaning of work: A theoretical integration and review. Research in Organizational Behavior, 30, 91-127.
  3. American Psychological Association: More Than Job Satisfaction




Social Wellness

Social Wellness: What It Is, Why It’s Important, and How to Cultivate It

What does it mean to have Social Wellness? A person who is socially well has a support network that is based on interdependence, respect, and mutual trust. They are also sensitive to and aware of the feelings of others (1).

Why is Social Wellness important? Humans are social creatures, which means that our relationships with one another are crucial components of our mental health and sense of wellbeing. According to UCLA professor Matthew Lieberman, social connection is as important to our health as food, water, and shelter (2). Beyond basic health, social support has been shown to play a role in the mental health of college students, specifically.  Hefner and Eisenberg (2009) found that students with lower quality social support were more likely to experience mental health problems. Compared to students with high quality social support, students with low quality support were at higher risk of experiencing depressive symptoms (3).

How do you cultivate Social Wellness? It’s important to form connections and develop genuine relationships with others. This isn’t always easy, especially for students at a large university such as Penn State. Finding friends, especially ones who share your values and interests, can be a daunting task. But there are ways that you can make this big campus feel like home. Joining organizations, clubs, or sports teams are just a few ways you can meet people who share similar interests. Don’t forget about all of the academic societies, business fraternities, cultural groups, and volunteer groups at Penn State.

Here are a few links to get you started:


  1. Ohio State University Student Wellness Center
  2. UCLA Newsroom\


Tread Desk

Have you ever tried to study or read over your notes while on the elliptical, treadmill, or stationary bike? You might want to try one of the new walking treadmill desk at the White Building Fitness Center. UPUA and Campus Recreation partnered up to bring this specialized, walking treadmill desk to Penn State. Located in the hallway to the right of the fitness center entrance, this ‘Tread Desk’ allows the user to be as productive as they would be at a regular desk, while stretching their legs and racking up steps.

Recent research has shown that sitting for too long each day is detrimental to one’s overall health[i],[ii] and has shown that Americans, on average, sit too much and exercise too little. According to Harvard Health Publications, the average person is inactive for over half their day, which can lead to lower cardiovascular health and higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths in very sedentary people[iii],[iv].

Walking treadmills like the Tread Desk provide a unique solution for individuals who would like to be more active, but due to the nature of their job, school, or other obligations, do not have time. From answering emails to reading over flash cards, the Tread Desk is a great way to multitask and save time, while getting some steps. The Tread Desk is in White Building for a trial period, so try it soon!

Looking for other ways to move more, sit less, and increase your daily steps? Then check out the Walking Club! Every Monday at 4:30 pm, students meet up in the lobby of the Student Health Center  and, weather permitting, walk outside for about an hour. The route changes each week.  The participants get to decide where they want to walk. Now that the weather is getting warmer, come hang out with Healthy Penn State Ambassadors for a fun and relaxing walk.  It’s a great way to end your Monday and start your week off on the right foot!

Written by Healthy Penn State Ambassador, Michelle Mehallow

[i] American Heart Association News – Sitting Too Much Can Increase Heart Disease Risk.

[ii] Mayo Clinic – What are the Risks of Sitting too Much?

[iii] Biswas A, Oh PI, Faulkner GE, Bajaj RR, Silver MA, Mitchell MS, et al. Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:123-132

[iv] Corliss, Julie. “Too Much Sitting Linked To Heart Disease, Diabetes, Premature Death – Harvard Health Blog”. Harvard Health Blog. N.p., 2017. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.


The Body Monologues

On Wednesday evening students from HealthWorks, a peer education program in University Health Services, organized and performed The Body Monologues. The event was inspired by National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and included members of the Penn State W.O.R.D.S. (Writers Organized to Represent Diverse Stories) performance team. The performers shared their personal struggles with body image and their journeys to self-acceptance.

A HealthWorks student performs her monologue. Photo by Michelle Mehallow.

From gymnasts to runners, fashionistas to dancers, they told decidedly different stories that all centered around how they learned to accept their body in the face of ever-changing societal norms.

As part of the event, members of Orchesis Dance Company performed a piece that a story about humans battling their personal struggles. One dancer explained the piece illustrated that humans can win the battle, but that the struggles they will always be a part of the person. In the discussion portion of the event, students agreed that “Self-love is a process,” albeit a slow and ongoing one.

Maddy Galascio, a HealthWorks student and monologue performer, said she was introduced to the project last semester and it piqued her interest. At first, she didn’t think she had a strong story to tell but ended up delivering a moving performance about her struggles as a competitive gymnast. For Maddy, the best part of participating in The Body Monologues was bonding with her fellow performers. She said, “We’re really close now because we’ve been through so much together.”

The Body Monologues was a resounding success, and an example of how impactful discussions like these can be to college students. Opening up the conversation about self-acceptance, body image, and health is beneficial to not only the audience but also to the cast.

Written by Healthy Penn State Ambassador – Michelle Mehallow