Unplug and Live a Great (Offline) Life

Rachel is smiling upwards and is in-between some shrubbery.

This article is part of a running series with Rowan University’s Wellness Center. This collaboration aims to educate students about personal well-being options. For further updates, follow @RowanUWellness on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

It’s no secret that people spend time on their phones. It just so happens that it is a lot. However, how much of it can be considered a bad thing?

Considering the fact that excessive time spent online, specifically with social media, has resulted in increased mental health issues and distorted views on real life (Robinson & Smith, 2021), it can be wise to say that how a person uses and the amount of time spent online and through social media can impact their emotional health.

Rachel is standing out front of Bunce Hall.

Even if it’s for 30 minutes or an hour a day, there needs to be effort to unplug routinely. However, one might find it difficult to fill in the time spent online with something new.

That being said, here are five tips on living a great (offline) life! 

  1. Develop a hobby: Feeling the need to check those social media notifications? Replace it with finding a new hobby to enjoy. Whether it’s a current hobby or something new to try out, focus on that hobby whenever there’s that compulsive need. 
  2. Go outside: Another simple tip is to just simply go outside. While spending time online frequently, spending time in nature is a great way to unplug. Even a simple walk can help lead to increased mental health benefits (Weir, 2020). 
  3. Spend time with friends and family: While it’s easy to connect with friends and family online, nothing can compare with connecting in person (Robinson & Smith, 2021). Whether it would be catching up over coffee or having a game night (safely, of course!), the time spent together can help foster an improved emotional and social well-being. 
  4. Learn to improve time management skills: Be intentional with spending time both online and offline by mastering time management. Try to divide up time between time spent online or scrolling through social media with dedicated times to unplug and just be. 
  5. Practice self-care: Trade in that screen time with self-care time! Several of the mental health issues can be helped with practicing mindfulness and self-care (Robinson & Smith, 2021). Recognizing that can help make better improvements on how a person can manage their screen time and live their best life. 

    Rachel is sitting on the Bunce Hall stairs.


      Robinson, L. & Smith, M. (2021, October). Social media and mental health. HelpGuide. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm 

      Weir, K. (2020). Nurtured by nature. Monitor on Psychology, 51(3), 50. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature 

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      Story by:
      Rachael Owen, junior public health and wellness major, Wellness Center intern

      Photography by:
      Ashley Craven, sports communication and media major

      Produced by:
      Lucas Taylor, senior English education major 

      Women in Leadership #PROFspective: Riya Bhatt, the AVP of University Advancement

      Today we feature Riya Bhatt, the AVP of University Advancement for Student Government. Riya is a sophomore Biological Sciences major who also minors in Public Health and Wellness. Riya discusses her involvement in SGA (Student Government Association) and her future plans as a biological sciences major.

      Meet Transfer Profs: Public Health & Wellness Major Heather Doerr

      A photo of Heather outside at the beach wearing sunglasses.

      Meet incoming transfer Prof Heather Doerr, a Public Health & Wellness major from Marlton, NJ (Burlington County). Heather transferred from the University of Maryland Global Campus. She shares how she chose Rowan and what she’s looking forward to!

      A selfie of Heather wearing glasses.

      Welcome to Rowan! Could you share with us one thing you are looking forward at Rowan University?

      I am looking forward to being involved in clubs and initiatives that advocate for wellness and support communities’ overall health.

      What is one hobby, activity, sport or club that you’re involved in that you’d like to continue at Rowan?

      I recently joined the Public Health Club.

      Is there anything you’re hoping to discover about yourself at Rowan? Grow a new skill? Try a new interest? Starting a new activity, sport or club?

      I have changed my major from IFSM to Public Health and Wellness, which is a new venture for me, but an interest I have had for a few years. I hope to combine my passion to advocate for our community’s good health with the skills and knowledge that I will be learning at Rowan and play an instrumental role in educating, empowering and improving the overall health of communities.

      What majors are you considering and why?

      I am enrolled in the Public Health & Wellness BS program. After working in the Information Systems realm for the last two years, I realized my work did not fulfill my desire to help users as I had intended when entering the field. Working in a stationary position in front of a computer for 8-12 hours a day was not conducive to my good health, both physically and mentally. When I took the Nutrition class in my first year, I was amazed by how uninformed I was in what my body needed for optimal health function. This sparked my interest and passion to play a role in improving not only the health of myself and my family, but also society.

      Heather standing on the beach with her dog.

      Did you tour Rowan or attend any virtual events? If so, which ones, and what did you think?

      Yes, I attended the Rowan self-paced tour. The Rowan campus was huge, the campus has grown into its own community, which is very inspiring and comforting. Although I was there on a Saturday during COVID restrictions, I was able to get a sense of the positive energy and support that exists at this school. The buildings that I was able to access were easy to find and had an abundance of resources.

      Do you have advice for other transfers who haven’t committed to a school yet?

      Review all the programs that Rowan has to offer as well as the career options within those programs. Rowan provides prospective students with information online, over the phone, and through various tour options of the campus. Everyone I have communicated with through email or virtual meetings were very informative and helpful.

      Where are you going to live next year?

      Commute from home.

      What is one thing about Rowan itself that you liked?

      The abundance of resources to help achieve success.

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      Story by:
      Bianca Torres, senior music industry major

      #PROFspective: From The Republic of The Gambia to Rowan University

      Mary Gomez, an international student and Community Health major, stands inside the Chamberlain Student Center

      Mary Gomez, an international student and Community Health major, stands inside the Chamberlain Student Center

      Meet Mary Gomez, an international freshman student from The Republic of The Gambia. This is her second semester at Rowan University. She is currently majoring in Community Health from the School of Health Professions. Today she will share with us her experience on becoming an international student and how Rowan has become her second home.

      Name: Mary Gomez           Mary Gomez, an international student and Community Health major, sits outside the Chamberlain Student Center

      Major: Community Health

      Year: Freshman

      Hometown: Washington Township

      Resident: Triad

      Academic clubs: African Student Association, Leadership Rowan and Public Health.

      As an international student, where are you coming from? I’m from The Republic of The Gambia. We call it the smiling coast of Africa.   

      How did you hear about Rowan? My uncle works here, Dr. Banutu-Gomez, he’s a business professor. Last year, I was kind of confused on which schools to look into, and my mom was like ‘Oh, your uncle works at Rowan.’ He told us about Rowan, and then I started the application process.

      Why did you choose to come to Rowan? First, I chose to come to Rowan because the application process was so easy to fill out. Other schools can be complicated and hard to know where to find information. Sometimes, you have to call 10 times just to talk to someone. But here, the application process was so easy to do. Every information I needed was online, like literally everything.     

      As an international student, you can imagine I can’t keep calling every time. They [Rowan] had the live chat right there, so I could talk to pretty much anyone. It’s pretty expensive to call from an international phone number to the U.S. so the live chat was perfect, and the people were so nice from the international center. I was like, ‘This is definitely the right school for me.’

      Mary Gomez, an international student and Community Health major, stands inside the Chamberlain Student CenterWhat else caught your attention about Rowan? The school was pretty diverse. I’m from Africa and in Africa we always treat each other like family, and we are all about feeling welcomed. So, I wanted to be in a place where people were welcoming and where I wouldn’t feel left out.

      Also, I’m a twin. So, I was looking for a school that had both majors we wanted. A major that would go into biochemistry for my sister and public health for me.

      Tell us about one moment that made you feel like Rowan was the right fit for you. After I applied to Rowan and came here, I didn’t have any friends at all. But I got enrolled in this class called Rowan 101 and my professor was Jessica Syed. She basically made me fall in love with this school. In the class we had to go to five events and write about them. When I started going to these events, I got to meet so many people. And Professor Syed got people from the Rowan Leadership program to come talk to the class and from then I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the correct school for me,’ because I’m all about leadership and public speaking. And that’s when I knew Rowan was for me. I recommend any student that comes here to take Rowan 101.

      Favorite thing about Rowan? One thing I like about Rowan is that you can go to any event, and if you Mary and two students sit on a pink chairdon’t know anyone at the event you come back knowing about 10 people. There was one time I went to this event, I think the African Student Association hosted it, I didn’t know anyone — at the end of the day I knew like 10 different people. I didn’t feel like an international student anymore. Everyone is included here; all the opportunities are for everyone.         

      What’s your biggest life goal? Since I’m studying public health, my biggest life goal is to be able to change the healthcare system in my country. I want an institution where no one has to say ‘I’m not going to the hospital because I don’t have money.’ I don’t want money to be the reason why people don’t have access to healthcare. Afterwards, I want to go into global health and probably work with the United Nations and improve the healthcare system at large, so after helping my country I want to go bigger.

      Any advice for international students? I would tell them not to be afraid to ask questions. That’s one limitation I used to have during my first weeks. I used to worry about what people would think if I was asking a question, but don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask as many questions as you can. And for your accent, don’t let your accent be a barrier and don’t ever worry about how you speak. Nobody really cares, as far as you can get your information out there.

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      Story by:
      Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major

      Faculty PROFile: College of Education’s Angela Beale-Tawfeeq

      Meet Dr. Angela Beale-Tawfeeq, Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education Teacher Education within the College of Education.

      What is your area of expertise? My area of expertise is program Dr. Angela Beale-Tawfeeq sitting at her desk.development and evaluation for minority communities, drowning prevention and aquatic safety among African American and Hispanic/Latino populations, youth development and culturally responsive teaching.

      I currently serve as a member of the American Red Cross, Scientific Advisory Council, Aquatic Sub Council, and the director of education and research for Diversity in Aquatics, a nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to save lives and reduce the incidence of drowning through global efforts.

      Share an “aha!” moment you’ve had within your discipline that made you feel passionate about your field? When I came to realize that I could transform the perception of the field of health and physical education by showing how physical education can have a positive effect on public health. The perception of physical education and health education often times has been limited to stereotypical images of the “coach” with a whistle using their “outside voice” to encourage students to participate in physical education classes, hence physical activity. When I came to understand that I could become a “change agent” in my community, combining my love of family, culturally relevant pedagogy, social justice, to encourage youth through physical education/health and wellness, I strive to teach my students to view themselves as agents of change who will teach in classrooms with more than walls and balls.

      Dr. Angela Beale-Tawfeeq sitting in James Hall.Share with us one aspect of student engagement that you enjoy most, and why? The opportunity to empower communities and students to empower themselves with relevant and inspiring educational experiences that will enable them to take control of their lives, shape their career goals, imagine future endeavors and become active participants in their scholastic journey.

      Describe an experience you’ve had with a student that made you feel excited about educating the next generation in your field? One of the most challenging aspects of academia is finding out how you will be able to add to the body of literature in one’s professional field in the areas of research, service and teaching. At times, I have struggled with finding my voice among the structured parameters of research which defines worth by one’s ability to “conduct a systematic investigation of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.”  It is my belief that as an educator one must have or be willing to gain a true knowledge of the students and their world to present content that can evoke an intrinsic response.

      From 2008 – 2013, I developed Project Guard: Make A Splash E.N.D.N.Y, an aquatic and water safety initiative developed for schools and community organizations to foster respect, responsibility and relevance. Project Guard: Make A Splash E.N.D.N.Y was a collaborative venture among the (ARC) American Red Cross of Long Island, USA Olympic Swimming: Make A Splash Initiative, Adelphi University, the Teaching for Personal and Social Responsibility (TPSR) Alliance and a neighboring local school district. It was this collaborative opportunity with students, at both the university and K-12 levels, that I believe that whether we are teaching in the local public schools or in an institution of higher education that we are supposed to provide students with relevant curriculum that will be meaningful and not dehumanizing to them. I believe we should design programs and opportunities because we believe that if we do not lead by example, we cannot expect our students to follow and model what they have learned and been taught.

      I believe we teach because we believe that students are supposed to be researchers, problem solvers, critical thinkers, learners and much more. I believe we teach because we believe that students should be able to believe that goals in life are always achievable as long as they do not give in. I believe we teach because we believe that Dr. Angela Beale-Tawfeeq typing at her desk.providing relevant physical education and physical activity may require collaborations beyond school. We do it because we know that students must be “global citizens” and culturally aware and be prepared to use strategies that will sustain them whether in the classroom and in life, for “a new world order is in the making, and it is up to us to prepare ourselves that we may take our rightful place in it” (el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, Malcolm X, 1963).

      What is one thing you wish people knew about your academic discipline or your research focus? One of the things that I wish people knew about the field? It is more than a field of play. One purpose of health education physical education methods courses is to help preservice teachers develop an understanding of, and acquire, the pedagogical skills needed to facilitate learning through movement. As a professional, I strive to engage stakeholders in the K-12 experience. I believe that through the creation of innovative programs, embedded in the richness of the culture, curricula, and communities, that we are all a part of, we will begin to create the next generation of effective teachers who are truly reflective of the students and communities they serve.

      Like what you see, come visit us!


      ​​Story and photography by:
      Alyssa Bauer, senior public relations major