Shenika Lamande is a senior at Suncoast and the founding co-president of the club “WeConnecT”, which aims to help students in all types of situations. The club mainly focuses on stress, personal and organizational management, and includes opportunity to receive advice from others and voice personal opinions and concerns. The club itself is open minded and welcoming to all students, and it was inspired by Lamande’s personal experiences.
“What inspired me was my troubles with my economics class. I didn’t get the concept and I was mentally frustrated,” Lamande recalled. She remembered feeling outcasted and alone, until one day her economics teacher, Mrs. Tazeen Rashid, reached out to her. “I let everything out and she told me what I needed to work on,” Lamande said. From that day forward, they worked together on Lamande’s needs and struggles.
The accepting support that Lamande received was different than any other situation that she had experienced in a classroom setting, which was what made it so special. She now wants to take the support that she received and make it available to every student at Suncoast.
“My goal for my club is to help people who are going through the same situation I went through even if it’s not based on education,” Shenika said. This is why the club has the different segments to deal with stress, personal and organizational issues, which are all important things to manage for success at Suncoast.
She made sure to include a stress aspect was included in the club because of Suncoast’s rigorous work and high expectations, which can often leave students feeling stressed. According to the American Psychology Association, stress is common among teenagers today and it can cause issues such as lack of sleep, more procrastination, anxiety and negative thoughts. If left alone, it can develop into chronic and even worse issues like high blood pressure, depression and even a weakened immune system. This is why it is extremely important to stay organized, both with school and one’s self, to manage the work properly.
“School can be part of the reason why students have mental health issues, but it is all because they need to work more at balancing their time, being open minded and being inquirers,” Lamande commented. Her club focuses on strengthening these skills which can be a step in the right direction to alleviate stress.