UQ YOLO program: live with purpose
Living a YOLO (you only live once) lifestyle doesn’t mean abandoning any sense of consequence, but it does mean seizing opportunities for self-improvement.
UQ School of Psychology researcher Shelley Viskovich is eager to highlight this message with the YOLO program, an online course which encourages students to pursue living fully and with purpose.
“Yes, you do only live once—so make it count,” Mrs Viskovich said.
“The YOLO program at UQ is all about gaining the skills to handle the challenges life throws at you, now and in the future.
“It teaches skills for managing stress so you can invest energy in pursuing your passions and live life in a purposeful, value-driven and fulfilling way.
“Our pilot study saw very impressive improvements in a range of facets, including depression, anxiety, stress, self-compassion, mindfulness and satisfaction with life.”
Supervised by Professor Kenneth Pakenham, the YOLO program consists of four free online modules that can be completed over four weeks.
Each 40-minute module can be broken down into segments of less than 15 minutes, allowing participants to pause to do other activities and resume where they left off.
A practicing therapist for 10 years before undertaking her PhD at the University of Queensland, Mrs Viskovich said the YOLO program had a similar number of student participants at the higher research and the undergraduate levels.
“The skills we encourage are useful for managing life at any stage,” Mrs Viskovich said.
“I do think this current generation is a lot more understanding of the importance of living a well-rounded lifestyle, whereas some of us in the past lived by the detrimental ‘suck it up’ mentality.
“Modern life is so demanding and our schedules so busy that it’s easy to feel like you’re not on top of things and not feel so great.
“Studying at university is a great opportunity to balance academic development with personal growth, and the YOLO program provides this.”
The YOLO program is open to all English-speaking UQ students aged 18 or older and is designed for self-improvement, rather than mental health conditions requiring specialised therapy.
Mrs Viskovich said the current average age for participants is 26.
“It seems that young people appreciate that building a career entails both academic and personal development,” she said.