Russell Pannell (’14) Provides Healthy Living in Asheville

img_0300 (2)My name is Russell Pannell.  I graduated from the Health and Wellness Department in 2014 with a minor in Biology.  Health and Wellness is a very diverse field with lots of opportunities to help people.  Whether you are headed in a clinical direction or in want to hit the streets and help the community, there are many avenues to explore.  At the start of my career at UNC Asheville I was originally interested in studying biology.  However I found most of what I was learning to be very abstract and I looked for something applicable to my everyday life.  When I found the Health and Wellness program it was a perfect fit.  I got to learn about the human body, human nature, and society. During my time at UNC Asheville I was involved with many organizations, one of them being the UNC Asheville Cheer and Dance team.  Being a personal trainer at the school gym or interning with the City of Asheville as the Health and Wellness Intern, I was routinely involved with volunteering to community health initiatives, working with theAsheville_City_Hall_-_Hi-Res YMCA and the Fall Prevention Coalition.  While at the time I was doing all of these activities it was never obvious how these experiences would shape my professional career, but in a way the sports, clubs, and volunteering in the community has helped me to grow as a person and a professional.  Whether it was getting to know someone who helped me learn a little bit about the wellness field, or how someone may have helped me learn a little more about myself.  Everyone you meet and work with has something to teach you about life and about yourself. Currently I am working at the Reuter YMCA as a Healthy Living Coach, were I am a personal trainer and wellness coach.  My responsibilities include training clients and advising them on how to not only train better, but how to be better than they were the day before.  Creating a drive within my clients to improve their lives from an intellectual, emotional, and interpersonal level is what drives me to do the best job I can.  When you can see people’s health and demeanor improve every time you see them, it instills a resolve in me to continue to do a good job and to keep helping others. This has been a great stepping stone since graduating that will lead toward the next opportunity. For those of you who are just arriving at UNC Asheville I have a little piece of advice.  If you get invited to go to some event, even if it doesn’t sound interesting, go to it.  Shutting yourself off to any opportunity is an opportunity lost.  If you don’t like it so be it, but most likely there will be something you will enjoy and can hold on to.  For those of you who are about to graduate, I would say talk to your professors.  They have a wealth of knowledge that exists outside of the class room and have the knowledge and experience to point you in the right direction.