While my dorm experience was less of the yoga mat and meditation variety (and more carryout and cramming), there is a whole new generation of students who are looking to enhance their college experience.
As Mason’s campus community continues to grow with more than 5,400 on-campus residents, so too do its offerings for Living Learning Communities (LLC).
The Mindful Living LLC, which is in its second year, is one such example. “Living Learning Communities are really important for students that need that extra bit of structure, and who need a smaller community within the huge Mason community,” says Mindful Living LLC director Stacey Guenther.
“The Mindful Living LLC really concentrates on helping students figure out what they’re good at, what makes their heart sing, and what feeds their soul,” she says.
By delving into these topics, Guenther says students are better equipped to make life decisions like choosing a major and picking a career path. “[This LLC] is about exploring different ways of figuring out what’s important to you, and who you really are, so that you can make those decisions easily when the time comes.”
Members of the LLC participate in regular group activities, which last year included classes on meditation, tai chi, aikido, laughter yoga, and chakras. They also take a one-credit course each semester, for which class projects have included a one-week technology detox and daily journaling.
The course work and programming has an added emphasis on stress reduction, something that sophomore, and second-year Mindful Living LLC member, Marriah Humphrey appreciates. “The practice of mindful living has made me more conscious of the choices I make—from what I eat to the classes I take,” she says. “And focusing on the present moment has helped me through some tough situations.”
This year, 40 students have signed up to participate in the Mindful Living LLC, filling an entire floor of Piedmont Residence Hall. “There’s a good number of students who are not only open to this—but who crave it and embrace it,” says Guenther.