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Wellness Week Keeps Similar Program of Events, Changes Timing

PA students attended a variety of workshops and lectures during the fourth annual Wellness Week. Unlike in previous years when guest lecturers gave nightly workshops, programs were held during the day this year. In past years, students enjoyed free periods during their academic schedules to compensate for the mandatory evening seminars. Additionally, students were excused from daily classes based on class period, whereas last year, students were given frees by department. Alex Smachlo ’11 said, “When I was a freshman and sophomore, the schedule was that you get [periods] off per type of class and the seminars were at night. I liked that a lot better. I just liked the free time during the day.” Emily Hoyt ’13 said, “I really like having the programs during the day. It gives you a break from normal school life and lets you appreciate what is going on around you.” Some students were not able to receive lunch due to the changed schedule, and others did not find it an improvement since last year. Uday Singh ‘12 said, “I think that we shouldn’t have had our free periods taken away because our teachers felt like they could give us more work and it defeated the point of letting us have room to breathe.” Carlos Hoyt, Associate Dean of Students, is in charge of planning Wellness Week. This year’s Wellness Week featured a variety of speakers and workshops. With the exception of Seniors, students chose from a variety of seminars, with each grade also attending required workshops. The Junior Class was required to attend a series of workshops hosted by Freedom from Chemical Dependency, an international nonprofit substance abuse prevention program. For the first time, Seniors were required to attend Blue Bond discussion groups, which consisted of Seniors and a faculty member, who gathered to discuss the themes of Ted and Nancy Sizer’s “The Students Are Watching,” along with current campus issues. “[“The Students Are Watching”] is a great catalyst for discussion. It is a touchstone as we go into the dialogues we are going into [during Wellness Week] this year. Coming out of the dialogues, we’ll take a breath and get a sense of where we’ll go from here. The book was just a vehicle toward the destination of improving the connection between the faculty and the students,” said Hoyt. “The main purpose is to try to throw some bright light on issues having to do with risk reduction and health promotion. [In order] to do that, we try to develop a range of programs that are developmentally targeted to our older students as they are approaching life beyond Andover, or to our younger students as they make the adjustment to living with this level of independence,” Hoyt continued. MJ Engel ’13 said, “I like the way that Andover is giving us speakers that share their personal experiences with us. This way, it’s really up to us to decide what we want to take from it. They are sending the message that we are old enough to make our own decisions.” Maggie Shoemaker ’12 said, “When I was a freshman, the seminars were all about drugs and alcohol and addiction.” “This year, I attended a program about stress. I didn’t learn anything because [the speaker] just repeated what everybody says. Here at Andover, I feel that nobody’s tips can be applied because there really is no room in our schedule to get more sleep,” she continued. Over the past four years, students have attended programs on a variety of subjects including bullying, hazing, drugs, alcohol, and sex. Smachlo said, “[On Monday], we had a guy talk about alcohol poisoning. I’m also really looking forward to the sex, drugs and alcohol program with the teaching fellows.” Smachlo continued, “As Seniors, we’ll all be going to college next year and that is going to be a lot different from Andover. A lot of the Senior programs [educate] us about what we’ll encounter outside of the ‘Andover bubble.’ Their message is basically to be careful, and to not be an idiot.”