In order to get students relaxed before Advanced Placement (AP) exam weeks, Jefferson’s Active Minds club held Stress Less, Laugh More week starting April 27. With the support of club sponsor and school psychologist Gregory Myers, Active Minds members set up special eighth period activities, morning music and other daily events throughout the week. The club’s goal was to help students release their anxiety and the pressure of upcoming AP exams and to create a much happier environment for everyone.
“Stress Less week is a vital component of TJ, as it helps bring awareness to mental well-being and promotes stress-relieving activities,” sophomore Abhishek Mogili said.
Similar to Active Minds’s Mental Wellness week, Stress Less, Laugh More Week features a specific theme or event for every day of the week. From pajama day on Monday to therapy dogs on Thursday and Friday, Jefferson students always had something to look forward to.
“A lot of the activities we chose were thought of by our members and were actually planned out a lot earlier when we were thinking of ideas for Mental Wellness Week,” senior Rhea Sharma, Vice President of Active Minds, said. “Although we couldn’t do them all at the time, we saved a lot for Stress Less, Laugh More week as they fit our theme better.”
Even some teachers got involved, with English teacher Kate Lewis hosting a Stress Writing event during A Block on April 29, and English teacher Mary Beth Kochman hosting a relaxation session throughout eighth period on May 1.
“The best part was having teachers get involved throughout the week, which I think made everyone realize the impact of stress, not just the students,” Sharma said. “What made Wednesday great was that a lot of the kinks were finally worked out – we were able to put bubble wrap in the commons, and the eighth period activities got people really aware of ways that they can reduce stress in their life.”
Many people took advantage of the week, hoping to gain something positive from the experience. Active Minds club members, for example, constantly posted links to relaxation sites and apps on the event’s Facebook page for students to explore, along with videos from fellow students and teachers reminding everyone about the importance of relaxing instead of solely focusing on studying and other school-related work.
This week provided a major outlet for students to relieve their daily stresses, and help students realize that there’s more to life than their letter grades.
“I think students need to realize that they need to take some time for themselves – to relax, to pursue a hobby, and to do something that is fun and relaxing,” Mary Beth Kochman said. “There is a huge emphasis on grades, and students need to realize that it’s more about ensuring that you become the best person that you can be. In terms of balancing all of the things that are going on, it’s important to really take time to figure out who you are.”