By Molly Cline
How can students survive final exams? One way is by being mindful. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present, being self-aware of what we are doing and where we are and not being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what goes on around us.
Final exams are a hard time for everyone. Maybe someone is trying really hard to get an A or working just to pass the class. Either way, it is stressful and overwhelming for most people. It’s important to study and be prepared for finals, but it is also important to be mindful and to really focus on oneself during this difficult time. Worrying about everything all at once will only add stress to the mix and will not help students do well on their exams.
Fortunately for University of Illinois students, Spurlock Museum offers mindful meditation classes. Every Friday from 11:30-12:00 p.m., these classes are held for free in Spurlock’s Knight Auditorium, located at 600 S. Gregory Street in Urbana. The instructor, Mary Wolters, helps participants engage mindfully and focus on their breathing. There is no registration process: Just show up for the class. Students may attend as many or as few classes as they would like. While the classes are free, donations to support the programs are also accepted.
If the 11:30-12:00 time slot doesn’t work, practicing mindfulness at home is also possible. You only need a little bit of time and space. Here are some steps to practice mindfulness in the comfort of your own home.
1.) Observe the present moment. Pay attention to what is going on in the exact moment, without judgment.
2.) If there are judgments, make a mental note of them and let go of them.
3.) Once that is done, go back to observing the present moment. If your mind gets carried away in thought, go back to focusing on what is happening at the exact moment. Mindfulness is a process of going back to the present again and again.
4.) Don’t judge yourself for thinking about other things, just recognize that it is happening and go back to the present thought.
It might be hard at first to practice mindfulness at first, but the longer one practices, the easier it will become. Focusing on one thing at a time can really help when it comes to final exams.