Adventures Are the Best Way to Learn

Adventures+Are+the+Best+Way+to+Learn

Andrea Mocevic

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature,” said Henry David Thoreau.

Sometimes, school can get a little stressful; especially when it’s the end of the semester. Those five-minute breaks from rolling the desk chair a foot away and throwing a tennis ball up and down aren’t helping. However, spending time in nature will benefit all students to destress fully.

There’s definitely a nostalgia for summer break. I would be sitting outside in my hammock, listening to some Jack Johnson and reading some good books. As soon as school starts back up, students at Grandview are in a whirlwind of anxiety and stress. For any student, walking into the library during off periods and lunches is a nightmare. It does little to soothe anxiety levels when all you can see is groups of other people barely studying and many people just shouting or laughing with their friends.

However, there is a solution. Students should be able to have more days throughout the school year to go outside. For instance, some teachers allow students to have 10 minute breaks whenever the lectures are long. But what would be even more efficient would be taking that 10 minute break and using it to be outside. Nonetheless, if Grandview had an outside area such as a gazebo or outdoor patio with places to sit in the sun and do some homework, it would be something that the students would greatly benefit from.

Moreover, building an area such as this would also solve the landscaping problem we all notice on school grounds.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that green spaces can boost cognitive outcomes in children—in part by protecting their brains from air pollutants.

“Just taking a 10-minute break in between classes and let students go out and meet other kids from other classes would help you interact with other kids from other classes rather than staying with the same people all day. We need to break away from a routine and structure,” said  junior Rachel Anderson.

The older we get, the more stress we deal with, even if “you still feel like a kid… you can’t be one,” said Anderson.

“Extracurricular activities like hanging out with friends leaves me little time to do things for myself because of school. Even if I do have time, I get so drained from all of the work that I did,” said Senior Fiona Mauala

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that green spaces can boost cognitive outcomes in children—in part by protecting their brains from air pollutants.

I spend a majority of my time outdoors. I will be hiking, skiing and rock climbing yet I’m vitamin D deficient because I am inside for too long during the school year and don’t have time to spend outside.

Studies show that Vitamin D deficiency being linked to depression, but the answers are still unknown. “A systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 studies with a total of 31,424 participants revealed an association between vitamin D levels and depression,” said researchers at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, St Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

“Vitamin D may have an as-yet-unproven effect on mood, and its deficiency may exacerbate depression,” said Sonal Pathak, MD, an endocrinologist at Bayhealth Medical Center. By knowing this correlation, medical personnel will have a way of handling depression. Plus, students and staff will gain more understanding of student behavior.

“Stress has increased as we are closer to having to be on our own in new a environment for college. Getting ready and applying for this adds a lot of work to get things done by their deadlines,” said senior Ryan Hostetter. Hostetter also insisted that the school should make vacations and breaks completely free to “effectively distress.” Along with this, trade schools or people in the workforce deserve to be off more to be with family and have time for themselves.

Rob Jordan, a writer for Stanford News compiled research with mental health and time spent outdoors. “Nature effect might have something to do with reducing rumination, a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought that is associated with heightened risk for depression and other mental illnesses,”  said Stanford University.

By finding a way for students to be outside during the school week, we can help ease the pressure of exams or other school-related stressors.

“It would help a lot because we are breaking up the constant hammering of studying and working indoors and fresh air or changes of scenery and nature are truly calming. No matter what problems anyone has. The outdoors and nature will always be reliably tranquil,” said Hostetter

One way the school could approach this change is by building a garden for students.  If Grandview teamed up with the Horticulture club, students could volunteer and create a “zen garden” which would not only bring peace among students, but release a welcoming vibe to Grandview for years to come. Also, It would encourage students to spend time outdoors and take their anxiety out the door and work in a relaxed space and get some Vitamin D.

However, this idea is not new. In fact, when I was in preschool, we had this day dedicated to planting a garden at school. The garden already had trees, and a path and all the students had to do was plant flowers or vegetation.

If we did this at Grandview, Many students throughout the year would spend their time in that garden sitting on benches reading, studying or meeting new people rather than inside a crowded library full of anxiety and disorder.

Recently, an extensive study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

involved 2,623 school children and found that the children who had more vegetation around their schools showed more progress in working memory and attention over the course of a year.

Overall, being outdoors should be organic, but in today’s age, many desire the urban setting but don’t realize the downsides of living in the city that comes with depression and anxiety. Plus, the disconnection from nature will lead a 40 percent higher chance of mood disorders. In the end, cities were built by people while nature was made for people.