Daily life is full of hurdles, some harder to overcome than others. But when life gets rough and our options seem limited there are ways to seek help and one of those is through a program called Creating Options and Overcoming Hurdles. This is a one-of-a-kind program on campus that is free for every student.
In the past year the program has undergone dramatic changes, but its backbone and the reason it is still alive and available to UCI students is because of Marikyo Adams.
As the advisor of the program, she felt ‘there was a need for students to have a service that provided individual coaching as a motivational tool, which is not as formal as counseling but provides students with a mentorship so they can succeed academically and personally.’
The goal of this program is to offer students personal coaching on a one-on-one basis. Life coaches are a group of carefully selected upper-level undergraduate students who help motivate and monitor students in the process of reaching their goals.
Since the program deals with students, there is a strong emphasis on confidentiality and professionalism.
Unlike other preventative programs on campus, COACH helps students deal with problems that have already occurred or are still continuing to hinder a student’s well-being.
‘[Life coaches] make a commitment to help their student. And if we can’t help you, we know who can and we’re going to help you until you get what you need,’ Adams said.
Adams was not the only one determined to have the program underway. The life coaches who make up the program were highly motivated as well. Fourth-year psychology and social behavior major and education minor Alexandra Lopez is one of four continuing life coaches from last year along with 10 new coaches who help put the program into practice.
‘Everyone is so different and we work well together. These are strong women who have a lot to offer and want to help people reach their goals,’ Lopez said.
Each life coach has also had intense training by mental health professionals from the Counseling Center as well as numerous hours of reading, self-exploration and exercises to make them better equipped to provide reliable and committed service to students. The Counseling Center and the Division of Undergraduate Education sponsor the program but you can find it housed in the Division of Undergraduate Education in the Administration Building.
Fourth-year psychology and social behavior major Nikki Treat is new to the program. She wants the program to make every student feel like they have options with their life and to ‘bring students who feel isolated in and make them feel welcomed.’
In the coming quarter, a lot of advertisement will be going on around campus to let people know about the COACH program, and walk-in hours will also be implemented to make the service more available to students.
Everyone involved with the program remains optimistic that it will not only continue but also grow.
‘If we continue to have people who want to stay with the program and Adams, I think it will be stable and I am definitely hoping it will be there for many more years to come,’ Lopez said.
In the future, Adams plans to have a few life coaches working out of every school on campus and housing complex to allow wider and easier access to students who are in need of their services.
This is a wonderful program that puts you, the student, first.
The willpower and determination of everyone who has helped make this program available is certainly an indication of just how far these life coaches are willing to go for anyone seeking help and for the future of this program.