21 Weeks To Happiness


Photo by Maleah Fennessey

A poster for week 2 of the 21 Week Challenge.

Maleah Fennessey, Co-Editor

Most returning McAuliffe students will remember the 21 Day Challenge, a three-week event designed to promote happiness and well-being through the creation of healthy habits. This year, it has been extended into the 21 Week Challenge, spanning from Jan. 19 to the week of June 7.

The reasoning behind this change is simple. As our days in hybrid are shorter and we have less time to learn, it makes sense to give students more time to complete challenges. Additionally, instead of having the activities take place in class, all challenges are optional and to be completed in free time. “…also we think it stretches out our focus on mental wellness and mental health for an entire semester, which we are stoked about,” says McAuliffe principal Dr. Weiss-Wright.

The challenge was designed just last year, by a developer named Julie Adams, to increase overall wellness and positive emotions. The idea behind it is inspired by the theory that, according to Welcome To The Jungle, a career-oriented newspaper site, “… it takes 21 days of practice to implement a new habit in daily life.” Some of the more well-known challenges include making your bed, listing things you’re grateful for and interacting with four different people during the day. These, and other prompts, will continue to be part of the challenge roster. But others will be replaced with brand new ideas after analysis of student feedback, as well as to add variety and cater to COVID-specific needs.

Furthermore, it’s incredibly easy to participate. After students complete a challenge, there is another prompt requesting they post a specific photo, whether this be to the Birdwatch or hashtagged on Instagram. For example, the challenge “Let It Go,” in which students will write a note of apology or forgiveness, requires a photo of Elsa, from the movie “Frozen,” to be posted. Some other challenges allow things to be put on posters around campus. People who submit content will have the opportunity to win prizes, such as a ten dollar Coldstone gift card won last week. “…you’ve lost so much because of COVID….this is one thing that can still happen during COVID, so why not participate and give yourself something else to focus on…?” Dr. Weiss-Wright suggests. 

Even though it is very different from three-week challenges past, the 21 Week Challenge will likely be an influential and different experience. “I just think that more kids will get out of their comfort zone and do it, you guys are all too-cool middle schoolers…just make the most out of it,” Weiss-Wright ends confidently.