Stress and anxiety affects everyone, especially college students preparing for finals. When it comes to tackling the workload of a 15-credit semester on top of extracurricular activities, part-time jobs and finding time to eat in a day, students are hit with worry and headache. But Tomoko Grabosky, a counselor at Shippensburg University’s counseling center, is set out to ease troubled students through meditation.
In 2009, Grabosky began the mindfulness meditation program at SU because she found it very helpful herself. “I thought it would be a really good life skill for others to have,” Grabosky said, “especially college students.”
Mindfulness mediation sessions take place at the peak of every Tuesday, as sunlight beams through the three-sided glass windows of the meditation chapel. Chairs line the full-length windows of the room, while four maroon pillows sit corner-to-corner on the floor, leaving only a rectangle of carpet in the center of the room. Behind closed doors, a chime resonates through the Spiritual Center as the clock strikes 12:15 p.m., kicking off the beginning of the meditation period.
During this time, students are encouraged to focus on themselves. “We are not trying to achieve anything,” said Grabosky. There is no goal to meditation itself. The purpose of this type of meditation specifically is to be mindful of oneself in the present moment. Grabosky explained how in this day in age, “we are always in a doing mode.” Even though meditation has no goal, it’s intent is to detract participants from thinking about anything.
Since its start, the mindfulness meditation program has gained recognition amongst SU students. Grabosky believes that students are accepting the practice more and more each year because it has become more mainstream.
After the 20-minute meditation session, participants sit down and have a glass of tea. It is during this time that they talk about their findings during their meditation, as well as things related to mindfulness.
“We are living a goal-oriented life, that is what today is like,” said Grabosky. “So, instead of doing anything or achieving anything, in this 20 minutes we are just being with our own breaths, our body and with our own mind.”