Wellness Weak

ow “well” is Wellness Week? Let’s quickly run through my Wellness Week schedule. On Monday, third and fourth periods are designated as free periods, which I happen to have free every Monday. Consequently, instead of necessary time to catch up on work, I must attend a mandatory program entitled “Tell me something I don’t know”, which in fact, did not tell me anything I did not already know. In addition, I am still scheduled to peer tutor during my free time, even though this is a week supposedly devoid of the stress, time, and energy dedicated to extracurricular activities. Fifth and sixth periods are free on Tuesday, but once again, I always have fifth free, so I only obtain one additional free period. However, this time period is once again used for a wellness week program, this one discussing “The Students are Watching,” a book all seniors were mandated to read, and one that has little to do with our mental and physical “wellness.” Fortunately, the faculty member leading my discussion group strayed from the original plan, deciding to use the designated time to discuss recent events on campus. However, the school’s intention of holding a discussion centered on “The Students are Watching” is flawed because they book itself is not related to the essence of Wellness Week, or our actual well-being. Did I forget to mention that I still must attend orchestra, for our concert is this weekend (which of course will garner a tremendous turnout)? Next, in the place of attending a double period of Spanish class on Wednesday, I now must attend “Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol”, which includes a panel of teaching fellows and recent graduates discussing their college experiences. For once, a Wellness Week program is actually enticing! But of course, I am also required to attend community service, which admittedly I enjoy, but still constitutes an extensive time commitment. On Thursday, after a day that starts off earlier than all other Thursdays, I still am required to attend band practice, despite the Wellness Week ban on extracurricular activities. Friday, finally, a part of Wellness Week that is actually beneficial to the students! Friday provides students a chance to catch up on well-needed sleep because both first and second periods are free. However, I am still scheduled to peer tutor yet another student during my free time. Through it all, I also failed to mention the students who were forgotten by the planners of wellness week in their needs for food! Fortunately, students were given fifteen minutes to eat after the senior program on Monday, but a mad frenzy for food certainly does not contribute to a feeling of “well-being” on campus. Looking through my Wellness Week schedule, I wonder: Why am I busier than usual? Tests and papers galore are still permitted, practically all of my extracurricular activities are still intact for the week, and in place of free periods, I must attend various programs. From a students’ perspective, this accomplishes the opposite of the Wellness Week goal, and instead allows for additional stress, time commitments, and sleep deprivation. Although I believe that the faculty is sincerely trying to create a week that promotes their idea of well-being through their various programs, the schedule lacks time beneficial to students’ wellness. The disconnect here is obvious. The faculty is creating a week full of activities to benefit the students in ways they think are necessary, but not in ways the students find helpful. A program lecturing students to drink alcohol safely, if at all? It’s been done before. An overloaded schedule preventing students from their necessary free time? Unfortunately, this too has been done before, throughout most other weeks of the year. Wellness week, a week designed to improve the health of all students, is just like all other weeks from the perspective of the student body because problems that are important to us, such as simply not having enough time in the day, are not solved. As it turns out, the students are trying to watch out for their own wellbeing through their desired wellness week schedule that includes extra sleep, fewer extracurricular activities, and less homework, but in this case, the community members that designed Wellness Week are the ones not watching out for our wellbeing. In order to have a Wellness Week that lives up to its own name, there must be discussion among the faculty, administration, and students to create a schedule that includes both the students’ and the faculty’s definition of promoting the wellbeing of Andover students, for only then can we truly have “Wellness Week”. Hannah Finnie is a three-year Senior from Basking Ridge, NJ.