In our hectic and stressful Andover lives, we often forget to prioritize our mental health as we struggle to balance academics, sports and extracurriculars. Luckily, we have Wellness Week to remind us about the importance of health and to educate us about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
In the January 30 Issue of _The Phillipian_, Sewon Park ’17 and Nancy Kim ’17 argued in favor for a wider selection of Wellness Week workshops, especially for the Junior class. As a Junior, I would absolutely agree; Juniors would benefit from a more relevant Wellness Week curriculum. But not only do Juniors, as well as the whole student body, need more choices – we simply need more time devoted to learning about and understanding wellness.
I did not realize how quickly Wellness Week would fly by. With the untimely arrival of Snowstorm Juno, I ended up only attending two of my three planned workshops. While they were immensely informative and interesting, at the end of the week, I found myself wanting more – more time to learn about the different ways to help a friend with substance abuse, more opportunities to discuss the words of our All-School Meeting (ASM) speaker Bill Littlefield ’66 and more workshops in general. I walked away from Wellness Week a little disappointed – not because I did not think the workshops were effective but because I had hoped to learn more and cover more ground.
I strongly believe that three workshops is not enough. I suggest that each student be required to attend five workshops in total even if that means cancelling more classes. While I understand that teachers are already making a huge sacrifice by giving up class time for Wellness Week, I would argue that student health and wellness are just as, if not more, important than our classwork.
Because we already host workshops on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, only the Wednesday and Thursday schedules would need to be further altered to accommodate a fourth and fifth workshop. On Wednesday, seventh period could be pushed back, giving students time right after ASM for a workshop or group discussion regarding the speaker. On Thursday, faculty and administration could move their morning meeting to the afternoon so that students could have a workshop right after class. Alternatively, the weekend would be a perfect time for more workshops. For Wellness Week, the school could institute something similar to the old Saturday class schedule.
While some of the student body may be reluctant about taking on more required workshops, it is ultimately for our own good. These workshops are not just another burden but rather important time to promote our emotional, physical and mental well-being. Wellness Week is one of the very few opportunities for us to take a step back from our busy lives to take care of ourselves.
Students at Andover only get at most four Wellness Weeks. We should make sure that we are using them as well as we can.