How FMP deals with stress

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How FMP deals with stress

Rebecca Lockman stressing over her upcoming medterms. Photo taken by Danielle Parran.

Rebecca Lockman stressing over her upcoming medterms. Photo taken by Danielle Parran.

Rebecca Lockman stressing over her upcoming medterms. Photo taken by Danielle Parran.

Rebecca Lockman stressing over her upcoming medterms. Photo taken by Danielle Parran.

Danielle Parran, Contributing Writer

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The transition from middle school to high school can be very difficult for some students. At Solon High School (SHS), there is a program that has been helping all incoming freshmen for more than the last 15 years called Freshman Mentoring Program (FMP).

Ann Trocchio, a guidance counselor at SHS, started this program when she first started working in the Solon Schools system. Today it is run by Cynthia Russell, another guidance counselor at SHS.

“One of the things that were  deemed important by [SHS Principal Erin Short] was to set the tone for how things would be for freshmen,”  Russell said. “And that was going to be done through FMP.”

One thing the program does is enable students to become familiar with the high school setting by addressing topics they think are important to the students. Such as stress, a famous word in every high schoolers vocabulary.

Throughout the year, FMP holds a total of six sessions. In each session the freshmen are divided and grouped based on who their guidance counselor is and  then greeted by two to three mentors to discuss certain topics. The mentors are upperclassmen that have already experienced the program. Each session includes important social issues relating to SHS. Some of these topics include stress and how to manage it, race, ethnicity and bullying. The topic found most important by many students is stress.

Freshmans, Ava Maersch and Jack Riley both agree that FMP has taught them ways to help manage their stress more than anything else.

“I related to stress for grades; that would help me,”  Ava Maersch said. “But other stress in school like being scared of getting bullied, I wouldn’t really benefit from learning how to deal with that because I don’t really deal with stress from bullying.”

Last year, Courier memebers, Megan Lebowitz and Mayah Duplik wrote an article on  how stress students at SHS. With this, the Courier surveyed around 400 students to see how stressed high schoolers really are. “ On a scale from one (not stressed) to 10 (extremely stressed), 53.9 percent of students ranked their daily stress level as a seven, eight or nine. When asked how much school contributes to their stress on a scale from one (not at all) to 10 (a lot), 73.8 percent of students reported a seven through 10.Today, most of the pressure and stress comes from schools, teacher, parents and colleges, as today’s world is much more competitive than it was 20 years ago.

“We surveyed the students at the mindfulness session, and stress resulting from parent pressure and school stressors was a big thing so we have to know how to manage it,” Russell said.

To help with all this stress, FMP takes some extra steps by teaching them breathing tactics, providing them with videos on stress and talking with their mentors about their stressors.

One of the breathing methods taught is the “four, seven, eight breathing.” This is where an individual inhales for four seconds, holds for seven, and exhales for eight. Students are able to practice this during the session and decide if it would help them reduce their stress levels.

Furthermore, videos are shown during the session. The videos shown display different breathing methods while others teach  students about stress, what it is and why we have it. The message is to portray that anyone and everyone is stressed and it’s okay to be. Those are the commonly taught methods for reducing stress during the program.

“Some of the things are useful some aren’t,” Jack Riley said. “Some of the tactics to study or taking care of pressure are really useful.”

As many students in high school, stress from just school seems to be a topic most worry about. More students, especially upperclassmen, benefit from the stress session versus other sessions.

“Yes, freshen year and now it helped me be less stressed out about everything,”  said Savannah Loeschen a Sophomore at SHS.

FMP strides to not only teach and help freshmen but to take the things that they learned in the program and apply it into the future. With that, the program wants all students to experience academic success and adjust well socially as the high school atmosphere is fairly new to students.

Both Maersch and Riley say without FMP they don’t believe they would be as successful with learning how to deal and manage stress.

“[We are] definitely more prepared with it,” both Freshmen said.

Overall FMP has been focusing on providing students with the right tools they need to be successful at SHS. As their common goal is “WE>ME.” At SHS, everyone is all about helping others as a team. Working together is greater then doing something alone.  

“Our main focus this year as a school, administration, counselors, and teachers is that we are all in this together,” Russell said.

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