Active Minds panelists lend a helping hand to underclassmen


Left to right: junior Rhea Sharma, senior Priya Raju, junior Sean Lee and senior Tarun Prabhala gave advice to freshmen and sophomores during the session.

Ellen Kan

On Oct. 18, Jefferson’s Active Minds club hosted a special advice panel during eighth period. The activity targeted underclassmen who were seeking advice on a variety of topics, ranging from succeeding in particular classes to getting the most out of the high school experience.

The session kicked off with a speech by senior Tarun Prabhala, the president of Active Minds, who introduced the goals of the club. These goals include encouraging underclassmen to explore their interests while disposing of the “racehorse mentality,” which refers to obsessive single-mindedness when setting academic goals.

Prabhala conceived the idea of an advice panel in his sophomore year in hopes of emboldening younger students.

“I really enjoy giving advice. I want to practice what I preach and preach what I practice, and Active Minds gave me the background and opportunities to do so,” Prabhala said. “Needless to say, this panel helped fulfill my goals and I can’t wait to see where our advice takes these underclassmen.”

The advice panel was composed of club members as well as upperclassmen guest panelists, who applied for the position in previous weeks. The A block presentation featured seniors Linda Lay and Priya Raju and juniors Sean Lee, Monique Mezher and Rhea Sharma. The B block panelists included seniors Jason Huang, Pavan Krishnan, Priyanka Raju and Erika Rashka and junior Parth Desai.

“I decided to apply because I remembered feeling so lost during freshman year, and I remember wishing that I had some tips from other people but I didn’t know who to ask,” Mezher said. “I thought maybe I would be able to help some freshmen that were in my situation.”

Although there were fewer students than expected, the friendly and informal setting encouraged more participation from the eager audience members. The underclassmen voiced concerns about time management, club involvement, and study skills, among other topics.

“I wanted to know more about the TJ experience from people who have gone through it,” freshman Nayana Survana said. “Now my idea of TJ is different, and I don’t have to stress as much over things like time management.”

Active Minds, which meets on Wednesdays during B block, is currently planning upcoming events, such as regular yoga sessions during eighth period and Stress Less, Laugh More Week.

“I hope the idea of this panel planted the seed for more activities in the future,” Prabhala said. “Now that the panel is checked off our list, Mental Wellness Week is our next focus.”