As a school that hangs its hat on preparing students for higher learning and for life, the ideas of balance and resilience are important. At the core of balance is the idea that students will engage different parts of their brains every day, in a challenging, supportive environment. Challenges will be presented that require higher-level thinking, the formulation of arguments, and seeking solutions to real-world problems. Music, art, drama and writing call on students to be creative, and think in divergent ways. Athletics and P.E. present a different set of challenges, and have a unique impact on the brain, which includes the growth of brain cells and balancing of neurotransmitters. This creates stronger learners in all other subjects.
The balanced student engages in all of these disciplines regularly. Some may be areas of strength, while others may create frustration or stress. The beautiful thing about having balance is it gives students the ability to manage more stressful subjects, and it helps recharge their batteries when needed. The quintessential SMUS student studies a variety of subjects, ranging from the STEM fields to the humanities. She may play in the orchestra, or take a role in the musical. This same student might play on the field hockey or rugby team, while rounding out her athletic resume with a term of squash or cross-country—balance within their athletics.
If the student above sounds busy and ambitious, then I have painted an accurate picture. In order to manage such a full school life, students need to be well-organized and they need to make time for wellness: quiet time to reflect, listen to music, read a book, time to hang out with friends, or watch a movie. Even time to be more intentional about balance, such as meditation, yoga or going for a hike, is great.
This student may sound too good to be true, and the reality of the life of a SMUS student is not always this pristine. There will be times when the keel on the ship lists too far to one side—a bad test, an off game, or an unfulfilled personal goal. This is where resilience comes in, and these become powerful learning opportunities, and moments of personal growth.
Resilience will also be the topic of the next installment of the SMUS Health and Wellness blog. In the meantime, stay balanced, and remember to set personal time aside for things that make you happy and keep you well.