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Campus Life: Discovering Oneself Through the Peace and Mindfulness Forum

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By Nerea Romero | rnerea@radford.edu

Being at university is not an easy job, especially if you’re a first-year student. Some of us do not even know how to fry an egg or do our laundry. However, most students enjoy the challenge of learning these skills, and discovering oneself through their time here.

There are times in which students can feel lost or anxious about an assignment. Perhaps there are times in which it is overwhelming. That is why Radford University promotes the technique of mindfulness.

As defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Mindfulness is “The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”

During the event of the Peace and Mindfulness Forum, there were different speeches about various people and how they look deeply into the field of mindfulness. Surprisingly, the room was full, and all the seats were taken, so some of the attendees had to stand in the back.

Each of the people who were on the hot spot expressing their ideas about this topic was incredibly open-hearted.

During the event, Alan Forrest, faculty advisor of the mindfulness club and the facilitator of the event, was explaining that peace for him was “A state of being, of calm, tranquillity, a sense of connection to others and all living beings. Peace is connection and heartfulness.”

Each speech was full of personal and inspirational stories. One of them, Radford senior Andrew Kane said that Mindfulness made a considerable impact on his lifestyle. When he was a freshman, he thought about leaving the university. He then took the course of mindfulness without considering what could it bring.

He thanks his tutors, Forrest, and Angela Cardenas, an Adjunct in the Department of Counselor Education and a Mindfulness teacher, who are still teaching this subject.

“Without their help, I would have left college. They saved my life,” said Kane.

I felt immensely thoughtful during the whole event.

All of the speakers encourage the public to show their emotions at that moment. There were in-depth topics exposed such as getting parental approval and being aware of how we are feeling in each moment.

A few words from a speaker got peoples attention, “See, touch and go.”

We have to be aware of the feelings that our self is trying to tell us. Being aware is essential, even if it is an uncomfortable emotion such as a stomach-ache.

The speakers also talked about the act of letting go.

Stay calm being aware of this feeling. There is a high number of people who focus their attention into other facts which are not that important. In the end, the fundamental thing is to treat ourselves right.

As a beginner in American Sign Language (ASL), I appreciated that the event had a Child of deaf adult (CODA) translating the presentations of the speakers. In my opinion, it was an inclusive event to make everyone enjoy their valuable time.

Radford University is preparing new retreats that every student of the university can experience. Both senior student speakers at the event, Hannah Secrist and Kane created the mindfulness club at Radford.

The club meets on Wednesday’s at 5:15 in studio 117 in the Wellness Center. There are also several classes in the Center which provide strategies to follow mindfulness.

Towards the end of the event, Forrest proposed three tips to start being mindful: “Be, Breath and Awaken.”

This event made people reflect on their lives.

Sometimes we want to avoid our feelings because we are afraid of them. Just take a breath and think about life. Finding your peace is being mindful. Having a beginner mind is essential. Never stop learning. Usually, we are cognizant without knowing that we are.

As said by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change we want to see in the world.”

Photo Credit: (Sean Stratton on Unsplash; Mitchell Griest on Unsplash)

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