Collège Champittet
31 May, 2023

Wellbeing and mental strength


Dear Champiteans,

My colleagues and I voted on what we thought was the most promising theme for the next school year: wellbeing and mental strength. The two go hand in hand. A student who feels good learns better and increases his/her self-confidence. Why this theme? The entire educational world has noted a deterioration in the average psychological balance of young people: the need for support, psychological assistance, and sometimes even psychiatric care, is increasing substantially.

The most immediate culprit was confinement during the acute period of the Covid pandemic. The absence of social connections, of play, of face-to-face interaction, weighed heavily on the minds of our children. This diagnosis reinforces my view that school, even before being a place of learning, is a place of integration into social life.

However, it also seems clear that Covid has only accelerated a deeper trend. Our generation needs to understand how difficult it is for teenagers to grow up in a world where they zap from fake news to deep fakes, measure their social success by the number of "likes" on their social network posts, engage in dialogue in the grey area between the spoken and the written word via instant messaging, and have access to hypersexualised content. Not only do they risk losing their bearings, but the exponential acceleration of content distribution no longer allows time for digestion and reflection.

We believe that solutions exist: defining moments of calm and reflection in the day, reconnecting with nature whose slow rhythm counterbalances the tumult of the digital world, limiting the use of social networks, favouring dialogue and authentic exchanges, showing kindness and gratitude, carrying out positive experiences at school, surpassing oneself, and cultivating one's passions. We also need to empower students and engage them in the life of the school: because the feeling of being able to make a difference by taking action strengthens the spirit. The pupil is no longer a victim, he/she is in control of his/her life path.

Let us end by quoting the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley: "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul".