Many college students can agree that obtaining a degree while keeping their sanity is an endless race. Clarion University acknowledges the struggle of college students and the community by providing a variety of services, including meditation sessions. The sessions are every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Becht 411 or 417—depending on the number of people.
Director of University Advising Services Center Joseph Croskey leads the sessions to help students with stress relief and teach how to be present in the moment.
Croskey has led a variety of meditation styles. “We come in and meditate. One time we did a coloring meditation; another time we did an eating meditation. Sometimes we do the typical meditation, we don’t sit on the floor with our legs cross because that’s a cultural thing and a good way to meditate, but we sit in chairs and come [regularly] without any expectations,” said Croskey.
The process continues to help students by cleansing their thoughts with positivity. He said, “You’re not coming to empty your mind of thoughts; you’re coming to focus your mind on different sensations, like sound, or focus on your breath and sensations of touch.”
Staying in the moment can be hectic when many students are worried about the next test, but the session reminds them that this moment is the only present time we have.
Croskey said, “With mindfulness, we remember that we are here now. Yes that event happened. There are two sides to every story and another perspective that you should be aware of and yours is not the only one. You allow those thoughts to just be thoughts and all there is is this moment.”
Croskey’s background in meditation started individually when he would meditate in Christian form by praying. Croskey learned an Eastern type of meditation based on Buddhist lineage by attending a 10-day silent retreat.
Afterward, Croskey completed a program developed at Google called the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute to lead meditations and teach people how mindfulness impacts emotional intelligence.
Croskey said, “Emotional intelligence has a range of skills from self-awareness to your ability to interact with social competency and lead other people.”
He went on to explain, “I saw a research report in 2010 by Dr. Hall that said these students practice meditation for this period of time and these students didn’t. The ones who did at the end of the semester had better grades. I confirm what Dr. Hall did, that practicing meditation for a certain period of time, your grades are going to be better at the end of the semester, you’re going to feel more comfortable here, and you’re going to be more involved in organizations.”
Although the meditation sessions started in Ralston, the university continues the sessions in Becht. Everyone is invited to attend and participate in the sessions.
Croskey concluded, “Practice being present for a couple times a day and see where that takes you. That’s all an experiment!”