A Healthy Proposition

hat is Wellness Week? To the undiscerning eye it is the week before Andover/ Exeter competitions, with Exeter Geek Day and True Blue Day thrown in to amplify school spirit. In principle, Wellness Week gives you certain classes off on certain days, and it is recommended that no major assignments be due during the week. In the past, free periods given during the day would be partially recompensed by evening workshops and presentations lasting from forty-five minutes to an hour. This year, however, these workshops and presentations have been held during the free periods offered in the middle of the day, causing a number of conflicts for students with respect to sleep-ins, lunch periods and normal free periods. While there has been a good deal of grumbling over having to swing through Commons between a workshop and a class, or having double periods moved instead of cancelled, do not be too quick to judge. This change has most likely been motivated by previously expressed desires to have more free time in the evening. Based on recent criticism of the current Wellness Week schedule, it is obvious that this pattern of thinking has been reversed. This very concept of Wellness Week seems to be a high-class problem. It feels as if the process cannot be done in a way that pleases everyone involved. While no system can ever be perfect, Wellness Week can be a tremendous success if we base our approach to it on one simple premise. In order to both educate students on the risks and benefits of personal health and provide a welcome break from the strenuous life at Andover, the Wellness Week program needs to slam on the brakes. Both faculty and students need to work together to make a conscious effort to slow down the pace of work and life here at Andover. This would give the students, as well as the faculty and staff, a welcome break from a turbocharged life at Andover. At the very least, no major assignments should be due during Wellness Week. This must be made an official policy, rather than a tentative recommendation. Otherwise, students will sacrifice their extra free time studying for tests and writing papers. As far as wellness education is concerned, having workshops during the day allows for more sleep, and should permanently replace the policy of previous year. It allows for less stressful evenings, and therefore more sleep, in exchange for short seminars during free periods. With regard to the actual placement of the week in the academic calendar, there are revisions that could be made. About a week after Wellness Week, Andover is a ghost town, with all students at home for Thanksgiving. Wellness Week could serve as an effective break if put two or three weeks earlier in the fall, or even moved to the winter. As I’m sure most students will agree, Wellness Week should not be abolished. Seminars during the day are a good idea even if they need a little tweaking to avoid direct and glaring conflicts with student schedules. We should have a week of classes that have been slowed down to benefit the overall wellness of the school. Yet it should not and I hope will not ever occupy the same six-day period again. We can write papers, take APs and winraces and games. But as smart and talented as the faculty and students are, we all could do with a dose of sanity and common sense. We need to maximize our rest time to the greatest possible extent if we are to succeed in our varied activities. We’re awful smart on paper, but we could be smarter. Ben Krapels is a three-year Upper from Andover, MA.