My WST21 Experience: Jean Lynch

Those attending the presentation were from all over the university and it actually felt great to be able to speak to such a diverse group of colleagues, most of whom I’d never have the chance to share my work with, in any other forum.

Feedback was very encouraging and highlighted for me the fact that this type of communication channel is a 2-way street and opened up further conversations which I would never have anticipated.

— Jean

By Jean Lynch, Counsellor, Student Counselling Services

When the Work Smarter Together (WST21) invitation arrived in my inbox at the start of the year, I almost consigned it to the Trash as I have probably done with similar missives in the past. Not because I see no value in the idea of enhancing campus-wide staff communication but simply because I wasn’t sure I had anything to contribute to the conversation. Not only would it be daunting to make a presentation to colleagues across the entire university but with everything now online I thought I’d never manage the tech side of things either. If any of this resonates with you then I’d really encourage you to read on …………..

I’ve been working in the Student Counselling Service (SCS) here in UCD for many, many years and my work falls broadly into two main categories. Firstly, as a psychologist, I provide 1-to-1 counselling sessions for students of the university. Secondly, as a Certified Koru Mindfulness teacher, I provide training to students in Koru Mindfulness programmes which help increase resilience and upskill in the management of stress. With the covid lockdown I had to switch to remote working and I noticed that student demand for Koru was increasing significantly, as the impact of Covid on student mental health became evident. There was a story here that really seemed worth telling and WST21 provided an ideal forum.

No one could describe me as a techie type, in fact anyone who knows me for more than 5 minutes will tell you that the opposite is very much the case. There are no smart phones in my home for example so…you get the idea. However, from the moment I sent in the WST21 application (a very simple process in itself) I was extremely well supported by the Agile team who were coordinating the whole event. No question that I posed was deemed too silly or ridiculous. Rather, my queries were met with patience and encouragement throughout the whole process, from pre-application to post-presentation feedback and everything in between.

At the presentation itself there were several members of the Agile team on hand so I didn’t have to give any headspace to the technical side of things and could concentrate on the content of what I wanted to say. Since I am not used to making presentations of this type (virtual slides for a virtual audience) I certainly felt nervous when the clock struck 10 and my time slot began. However, I had the ‘name it to tame it’ strategy to hand and after I informed the audience that I was feeling a little nervous, any butterflies settled down.

Those attending the presentation were from all over the university and it actually felt great to be able to speak to such a diverse group of colleagues, most of whom I’d never have the chance to share my work with, in any other forum.

Feedback was very encouraging and highlighted for me the fact that this type of communication channel is a 2-way street and opened up further conversations which I would never have anticipated.

Presenting at WST21 also helped me to spread the word about the Koru mindfulness programmes we offer. These include Koru Basic and 2.0 designed to introduce college students to mindfulness and also the Koru Retreat which we offer to BOTH students and staff of the university from time to time. All of these programmes moved from live group meetings to online delivery from April 2020.  At the Retreat, anyone in the UCD community who’s interested in finding out about Koru and taking the opportunity to experience some of the practices in a group setting, is welcome to attend.

Just last week UCD partnered with the Koru Mindfulness Center (based in the USA) taking part in the first International Koru Teacher Training event. Joining me, as a result, there are now 5 additional Koru teachers-in-training within UCD and this will allow us to expand delivery of this evidence-based programme to many more students than would otherwise have been possible. All this comes at a time when so many of our students could do with a boost as they deal with the on-going challenges of the COVID pandemic.

Taking the time to make this presentation really gave me a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the work we’ve been doing with Koru, in a creative and innovative way. I am extremely grateful to everyone involved in making the WST21 happen and I would encourage any colleagues across the university to give it a go next time around. If you are passionate about your work then it’s got to be worth sharing and the WST21 certainly gave me a fabulous chance to do just that!

If reading this has piqued your interest in Koru you may be interested in attending our next Koru Retreat. This is open to all staff and students of the university and is suitable for beginners as well as experienced meditators.

 Please use this link to register for this Retreat.

Date: Monday 31st May

Time: 12 noon  – 2p.m.

You can view the WST21 presentation and download the slides here.

 

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