We all know how stressful High School can be. With eight classes dumping an endless amount of work on students’ daily and painful end-of-semester exams, it is a lot. Especially for students in demanding programs such as IB, AP, and ACC, not knowing how to treat your anxiety and stress levels can make the whole experience difficult to handle. Andi Brosche, the IB Diploma Programme Coordinator, noticed this stress skyrocket after the launch of online schooling and decided to offer a solution: The IB Mindfulness Club.
“Actually, I didn’t really have a club in mind when I thought of offering mindfulness techniques to IB students this year,” Brosche said, “I started thinking about ways to lessen their stress, to help kids be more present one day, one class, one minute at a time. Mindfulness is simply being aware of your thoughts and learning to regain focus when things seem overwhelming.”
Brosche first offered this opportunity only to her IB class, as it was not an official club at the time and she wanted to see how the students would react. She promoted it as a CAS experience for IB students during their synchronous class periods as well as on the IB website, Managebac.
“I was expecting either a meditation or therapy session,” Senior Emi Matsumae said, “I thought it was a nice way to start the day because it was so early. I also like that Mrs. Brosche took the initiative because it shows that an educator recognizes and wants to help students with their stress.”
The sessions were promoted as a 15-minute experience starting at 8:45 am to help de-stress students before a long virtual school day. In each session, Brosche and the participants focus on breathing exercises and other meditative techniques that are aimed to calm an individual. She mainly uses phone apps such as Serenity, Calm, and Headspace to find recordings that will give a more meditative experience.
“I’ve gone to all of them,” Junior Pari Vacchani said, “I like them so far because I get relaxed afterward and it’s really calming at the moment. It has given me a way to learn more ways to calm myself down and reduce stress.”
After about six or seven sessions, Junior Kenadie Gordon and many other attendees started asking for the short morning sessions to become official club meetings. This would allow for more student involvement and the ability to do them in person when safe enough.
“When I proposed making it a club to Mrs. Brosche, the idea was to make it something that everyone in any grade could do,” Gordon said, “I think a lot of incoming freshmen would be interested because the transition into high school is a stressful time, especially online.”
The club sessions are currently on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week on Google Meet at 8:45 am. If a student would like to attend these meetings, the best way is to email Brosche at [email protected]. There are no requirements to join, just a willingness to learn and allowing yourself to stop your thoughts and just breathe.
“Once the session finishes, I feel a release of tension,” Junior Ashni Guneratne said, “I carry that feeling throughout the rest of the day, which makes participating so worth it.”