By: Benjamin Ward
IU South Bend proudly boasts its local impact to the broader community of South Bend. Many students make a daily commute to campus to take part in their academics and extracurriculars.
You may not know that the school has also been providing its services to our friends across the country and world. One of these is a student named Fernanda, who joined us from Brazil this school year to pursue her Master of Social Work.
Fernanda Lima França Piersanti was born in Rio de Janeiro and chased down her desire of becoming a lawyer. In law school, Fernanda said she discovered that her dream career was trickier than she had first expected. After struggling for a while and experiencing a mental health crisis, Fernanda needed a change and did not continue with her Master’s Degree in Law. Through her trials, a new passion and interest sparked in Fernanda’s mind. She now wanted to discover how and why people are happy and fulfilled.
“After I got better, I started studying about anxiety, depression, and the consequences of the absence of mental health care in our society,” Fernanda said. “I studied about happiness, spirituality, neuroscience, mindfulness, nonviolent communication, positive psychology and other topics to try to understand how our brain works and why we have currently such high levels of mental illness.”
After studying these things and deciding against becoming a lawyer, Fernanda said she wasn’t sure how to apply them to her career.
“I started taking classes in different areas to find out what I really wanted to do professionally. I am a certified barista, Reiki practitioner, Theta healer and yoga instructor. It was when I did my yoga teacher training that I finally found my passion and the possibility to connect mind, body and spirit all together in order to improve our well-being and happiness feelings,” she said. You might see Fernanda around campus as she leads Yoga on the Green each month for Wellness Wednesdays.
Yoga’s ancient practice and modern science was too enticing for Fernanda to pass up, and the combination between science and happiness is a major motivator for her studies – together, these interests brought her to IU South Bend.
“The Masters in Social Work Program at IUSB is the next step for me to get a better foundation, especially based on scientific studies and research, about how people can be happier and feel more fulfilled,” she said.
You can learn more about Fernanda’s practices by visiting https://msha.ke/fe_piersanti or by visiting her instagram @fe_piersanti.