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The SEM Weekly

Afternoon Discussion Addresses Student Well-Being

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More stories from Aerin Wagner

Dr. Megan Hurley, Eva Cunningham and Mrs. Hopkins held information sessions and workshops.

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Eva Cunningham explained UGOSEM and Mrs. Hopkins explained the theory of taking a “screen cleanse” in a recent workshop.

On the morning of Friday, March 3, 2017, SEM students were chosen to participate in a government survey that focused on teen health and risky behaviors.

A special schedule of 25-minute classes followed and then an afternoon focused on student well-being.  Students were split into two groups: freshmen and sophomores and juniors and seniors.

The juniors and seniors started in the gym where they discussed SEM’s new fitness program, UGOSEM.  The program is structured so that each student who is not currently participating in a sport will do 1.5 hours of fitness per week, as tracked on a website by Ms. Cunningham.  Students are offered a lot of freedom as to how they can complete the requirements. They may do three, half hour shifts per week or if they are feeling ambitious, they can complete the 1.5 hours all at once.  Students are also encouraged to do something that they enjoy doing to complete these hours — whether that be simply running on a treadmill, taking a walk around Hoyt Lake or even horseback riding.

Mrs. Hopkins then discussed cell phone addiction and how students can challenge themselves to take a cell phone cleanse by checking their phones less or even taking a day to put their phones away completely and live life.  There was a group discussion about how different generations use their phones and how often.  “It is important to talk about it, but I don’t think it was for everybody.  The way that they were communicating it wasn’t for each kind of audiences when it comes to phone usage,” said Enya Cirillo, ’17.

The juniors and seniors then went to the chapel to discuss mental health issues and considerations as students transition into adulthood and take care of their emotional well being.  Psychiatrist Dr. Megan Hurley started out with a slideshow and then opened-up a group-wide discussion that addressed mental health issues at SEM, how they are handled here and what can improve to better help students.

Some students find the punishment system of proctored study hall may aggravate mental health at SEM.  Tara Porter ’17 said, “In general, I found proctored to be very distracting and counterproductive. Some teachers had meetings with other students in their rooms during proctored, which is totally reasonable, but the added noise made it difficult to concentrate. Just because I was late, I got a week of distracting free periods. I’m sorry for the girls who are in it to catch up on work because proctored is not always the best place to be productive. Perhaps this could be fixed by having a specific room for proctored, like the Cummings Room, to act as a sort of proctored library.”

Overall, students found the session extremely refreshing.  “I think we need more days like that where we talk to someone,” said Alex Kane ’17.  “It is really nice that SEM is finally recognizing that students have college level work without college level time, which is obviously very stressful, and a lot of students don’t get the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep because we have college level homework due one to two nights away from when its given.”

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SEM news written by students for students, faculty, parents & alumnae
Afternoon Discussion Addresses Student Well-Being