Alumna to lead weekly ‘Girl Talk’ on stress

Nadia Rahman

Jessica Furie ’03 led a discussion group called “Girl Talk” on March 4 which will continue to meet every Monday during activities period. Upper school dean Beth Slattery and Assistant to the Head of the Upper School Michelle Bracken initiated the discussion, which will be open to all girls after spring break.
“I think it initially came up because I was talking at a deans’ meeting about having some concern that we needed an outlet for the particular issues that girls are facing at the Upper School and at high school in general,” Slattery said. “There’s the pressure that they put on themselves, the inability to being supportive for one another versus competitive of one another. Stress for girls manifests itself differently than it manifests for boys. It in many ways manifests in less healthy ways than it does for boys; [girls] tend to internalize and feel badly of themselves, whereas boys will externalize.”
Slattery and Bracken started the discussion group to encourage girls to support and help each other with common problems in a model similar to Peer Support. They wanted the group to be led by a non-teacher so that students would feel more comfortable sharing and discussing issues, Bracken said. Furie, who had visited Peer Support in the past to talk with students and holds a doctorate in psychology, was their immediate choice.
“Jessica’s been on campus probably for three weeks to talk to deans, getting names, meeting and interacting with students,” Bracken said. “She makes connections really well with kids.”
Slattery and Bracken contacted five students to attend the first meeting but have no other recruitment plans. The current members have talked about making announcements at their class meetings to spread the word, Slattery said.