Mercy Mester and Mental Health


Lucy Ke

Mercy Mester was a blast! Students enjoyed the three days as they attended educational and entertaining classes while participating with their classmates in community-bonding activities. Two of the courses I attended included “Journaling: Creativity and the Artist’s Way,” led by Mrs. Steiert, and “Brain and Behavior,” with Mrs. Merrill. These classes, along with the service activities during the rotation periods, really emphasized Gwynedd’s value of the mental wellbeing of the students.

The journaling class began with writing absolutely everything down. My newly decorated journal was filled with over a page of every thought that popped into my mind. I wrote without thinking too much about anything; I was simply letting my mind flow. This stream of consciousness reminded me of tasks I needed to accomplish, things that were stressing me out, and events that were exciting me. In this class, we were also given a lot of time to explore different forms of journaling- such as bullet journaling, dream journaling, habit trackers, and more. The time I spent doodling and writing was very beneficial and relaxing to my mind, and I plan on taking these stress-free habits into my daily life. Journaling is a therapeutic method of meditation that I am starting to love and enjoy.

The “Brain and Behavior” lessons introduced the psychology behind how the brain interprets many things in life. Students were introduced to different illusions, such as the white and gold/blue and black dress that confused many. They were taught that not everything the brain thinks is true. On day two of this course, an introduction to miracle berries blew my mind. This experiment involved tasting various fruits, such as strawberries, lemons, and oranges, right after dissolving a miracle berry pill on my tongue. The little tablet changes the taste buds, and the fruits (and even vinegar) I tasted afterwards were so sweet. Following this activity, students walked around the school building wearing “drunk goggles,” which are giant goggles that alter the vision to make the real world appear crooked and sideways. With the help of my classmate, I made sure not to bump into the lockers standing on either side of the hallway. It turned out to be an incredibly difficult task. Finally, the “Brain and Behavior” course ended with a peaceful meditation, with students reminiscing on their earliest childhood memories. With the lights turned off, a calm feeling was present in the quiet room as we remembered our biggest moments of fear and strongest moments of joy in our lives. It really felt like “floating on a cloud,” as the meditational guide suggested.

These Mercy Mester classes were insightful glimpses into Gwynedd’s amazing emphasis on mental health. The three days of classes gave a refreshing reset from the commotion and stress from the first semester of the 2022-2023 school year wrapping up. Students are very much looking forward to this week again next year, and they sure will take many of the lessons learned from Mercy Mester into their everyday lives!