Students at Drexel University often reflect on the fast-paced and stress-inducing lifestyle of the quarter system. Drexel offers many different ways to release stress during finals week, including with therapy dogs, free access to therapists and occasionally offering free snacks in the library.
Another way to reduce stress is to begin mindfulness practice before midterms and finals week begins. Meditation as a practice encourages people to focus on the present and re-center their minds. Once learned, meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time.
Meditation is often advantageous for students who often have trouble focusing on the present. Many students might latch on to things that haven’t happened yet or might think about the past, for example being overly engaging in social media and thinking about future deadlines or events or going over things that already happened. Meditation is a good way to re-center the mind which may ultimately lead to becoming a better student and person in general.
Every few months “Mindfulness & Mosaics” is offered at the Magic Gardens on South Street. Sandi Herman leads the group in sitting meditation and eventually encourages people to walk around and focus on pieces of art they like around the exhibit. The practice invokes peace and allows participants to enjoy the Magic Garden’s while closed to the general public.
On Jan. 8, Mindfulness & Mosaics, a meditation workshop in Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens took place. The cost is $8 for students and $10 for adults, the same price for general admission. The workshop takes place rain or shine because the Magic Garden’s has an indoor exhibit as well as their well-known mosaic outdoors. Ideally, the workshop is held outdoors, weather permitting. Led by Sandi Herman, who has practiced meditation since 1987. Herman is a health educator who has expertise in holistic approaches to stress reduction. She facilitates workshops on stress reduction, mindfulness, and self-care for University of Pennsylvania students and staff.
In the class I attended, most of the group had never practiced Meditation before and seemed to enjoy the quiet atmosphere. The small group included people of varying age groups, including college students visiting the Magic Garden’s for the first time with their parents, a group of Drexel students as well as groups and people on their own in their 20s to 30s. The small group explored the artwork quietly while others continued a quiet meditation.
Meditation does not require a leader or a certain time frame to be practiced. Although “Mindfulness & Mosaics” is only offered once every few months, it teaches a discipline that can be practiced for even five minutes at a time at the end of a long day. Herman emphasized that going to even one workshop is significant and can go a long way in terms of learning how to practice being present and centered.
Learning how to de-stress in a fast-paced atmosphere like the Drexel quarter system can be hard, it is important to start good habits in the first few weeks back to avoid any major anxiety and stress during midterms and finals.
Meditation is a cheap and easy way to refocus after class and is also a good way to take a break from work for a few minutes. The next “Mindfulness & Mosaics” is on March 25 and will likely be held outdoors. I encourage all students to go and experience meditation at least once!