McLean holds Laugh More, Stress Less Week amid the start of exams

Students engage in calming activities to destress ahead of testing season

Junior Iman Monday takes time to destress by playing with the therapy dogs between her classes.

In the week leading up to this year’s AP Exams, students were able to take part in Laugh More, Stress Less Week. The week contained relaxing and fun events for each specific day and was planned in collaboration between Students Services and McLean’s Leadership Class in hopes of unnerving the student body before testing season officially kicked off.

“As we head into AP exams and SOLs, we know that students are just extra stressed as we go into the end of the year,” social studies teacher Karen McNamara said. [This week] is just a way to try and remind everyone to take a moment to have some fun.”

This year’s activities consisted of providing cake, stress balls, and fidgets during lunches, holding Highlander Time Flex outdoors, having therapy dog visits, participating in a wheel of futures game, and passing out snow cones.

“The Leadership Class, Ms. Sobota, and Student Services all discussed what they wanted to do and tried to come up with some different ideas,” McNamara said.

Some of the days such as “Stress Freeze” in which the snow cones were given out and “Doggy De-Stress” in which the therapy dogs had come in for visits had already wielded positive reactions from previous years and had a history of being included in the lineup of activities.

“My favorite thing about Laugh More, Stress Less Week is always the therapy dogs because they’re so cute,” junior Isabella Yawata said.

However, there were also multiple new themes and events that were present on this year’s schedule such as “Exams are a Piece of Cake”.

“This year, leadership did a Pi Day on March 14th where they gave out pies during the lunches and that seemed to be huge,” McNamara said. “So we were like, what about [having] cake [for one of the activities]? Everyone wants cake. We were just trying to pull in things that we thought the kids would find fun.”

Overall, this year’s Laugh More, Stress Less Week was a hit as students took the time to appreciate the thought and consideration of the school staff in organizing such initiatives.

“I appreciate how all the teachers are really caring and showing their support for the students who are trying to study and do well on all their exams,” junior Kylie Nguyen said. “They’re really understanding about all the stuff that we have to do and I feel like that’s just great. In general, them showing up for us is really awesome.”

As the week has come to a conclusion, administration hopes that students will be able to properly manage the pressures of exam season while also prioritizing their mental well-being.

“[We want students to know that] even though exams are coming up, it’s okay to always take time for yourself to relax a little bit,” McNamara said. “Everyone will do great, just also take time to have a little fun even when you have exams going on.”