March 2024 - Southwestern Illinois College

Women’s History Month

During the month of March, we observe Women’s History Month to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women, today and throughout history. At SWIC, we not only recognize the contributions of women who help lead the way and inspire, but also acknowledge their diverse interests and passions. Thank you to all the women, past and present, at SWIC, whose dedication and hard work has helped make Southwestern Illinois College your first choice!

Jill Baudendistel, Student Services Coordinator – Reading a captivating book is my favorite way to relax.

Laura Vahlkamp, Associate Director of Recruitment & Outreach – My top hobbies are: Physical Fitness (boxing, strength training), Food (love to bake and eat snacks), going on adventures with my teenagers, traveling, coffee, wine.

Brandi Brown-Harris, College Inclusion & Outreach Coordinator – I enjoy roller skating. I also spending time with my Bichon Frise, Penny Lane and watching my favorite shows on TLC and The Food Network channel.

Melissa Epps – MPH, RPh, Adjunct Pharmacy Technician Program Coordinator – Wreath making has been a cherished hobby of mine for quite some time, I love it!

Danielle Chambers, Chief Student Services Officer – My hobbies include helping others, cherishing moments with family, and eating!

Katie Dawson, Director of Financial Aid, Veteran Services & Student Employment – I love being involved in the Belleville community! My family and I shop and eat local as much as possible and never miss a parade or festival on Main Street.

Kourtny Shaw, Director of Marketing – My primary focus and passion outside of work is being a mom.

Alicia Johnson, Career and Employment Specialist – Besides spending time with my beloved service dog, my favorite way to pass time is to read.

Bethanie Garcia, Admissions Coordinator – Collecting and decorating my office with plants. Being surrounded by plants brings me a sense of joy and enhances my productivity.

Elizabeth Alvarez, RN Program Coordinator – Puzzles are my favorite way to relax but I also love reading and camping!

Vicki Channer, Administrative Assistant – Athletics – I love maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise.

Annjanee Jones, Director of Advising, Enrollment, & Records – I enjoy spending my free time gardening.

Paula Haniszewski, Director of the William and Florence Schmidt Art Center – I love hanging with my husband and two girls, art, real estate, and reading.

Mindy Schubert, Events Specialist – In my spare time I enjoy making quilts for my kids.

Jami Houston, Director of Student Success Programs – Getting my Ed.D from the University of Illinois and Illini basketball!

Myki Rhodes, Director of Student Finance – In my free time, I’m all about roller skating!

Liz Jennings, Associate Director – Foundation – I’ve been getting into tennis lately. It’s been really fun picking up a new hobby!

Casey Robacker, Internal Communications Specialist – I love collecting figurines and decorating my office with them. It’s awesome to see them around every day, brings a little extra joy to my space!

Samantha Rogers, Librarian – I like to travel and explore. 2022 took me to the Island of Hvar. 2023 the Isle of Skye. This summer I will be looking for wild ponies along the coast of Exmoor.

Sarah Samples, Associate Director of Marketing – Hiking is the best! The fact that my entire family enjoys it adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the experience.

Calm Down

With a nod to Rema and Selena Gomez, today’s topic is about what most college students need but rarely get enough of: rest and relaxation.

I will never forget waiting for Spring Break – getting wound up like a crossbow by mid-term exams and barely able to relax during break.

So, before you find yourself in a similar position, try one or more of these activities to help you calm down and enjoy not only your week off but the rest of the semester.

  1. Unplug – Press the off button and step away from your devices.
    Spend time in nature
    Read a book for pleasure
    Spend time with family and friends
    Take a warm bath with candles or create an at-home spa
  2. Practice Self-Compassion by forgiving yourself for making perceived mistakes or errors in judgement
    Catch up on sleep and create a consistent sleep routine
    Seek support if needed (Wellness Advocate Ami Lilley-Plexico; TimelyCare; mentor; or spiritual leader)
    Listen to music
    Set boundaries – take control and protect your time.
  3. Practice Mindfulness – Mindfulness means keeping a moment-by-moment non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.
    Try yoga or tai chi
    Create art or other activity that requires your total focus (i.e., cooking, gardening)
    Learn box breathing or other breathing practice
  4. Stay active – enough
    Go jogging or hiking
    Play a solo or team sport
    Take yourself out to an art fair, play, or new restaurant
  5. Get Creative
    Pick up a new skill or dance move
    Plan a staycation
    Reorganize your room or personal space; clear out clutter

Spend a proper amount of time each week taking care of yourself whether you’re in school or on break. This will help you do your best in all areas of your life.

If you want some help setting some rest and relaxation goals, call 618-235-2700 ext. 5495.

You may also use this link to make a coaching appointment:

We look forward to seeing you soon. And if you mention that you saw this blog or one of our other Success Coaching blogs, you can pick something from our collection of free gifts and prizes.