Quite a lot has unfolded in this new year, and with the inauguration of a hopefully better president, it is understandable for us to need a moment of peace as we approach the middle of the quarter. Since spring 2020, Ruby Hansra, faculty counselor and Sharon Spence-Wilcox, faculty librarian have been hosting online meditation sessions for students via Zoom. This is a great opportunity for students to catch a breath and recollect their thoughts. In a Q&A session with Hansra, I was able to accumulate answers for some questions about this session.
AS: What inspired you to start Mindful Meditation?
RH: This college wide Mindful Meditation effort was started by Kelli Murphy in 2012, long before I came to SCC. She was a Wellness instructor in the PE department until just last quarter, when her department was eliminated. She started this mindful meditation program by volunteering her time. Kelli’s departure was a great loss to the Mindfulness Team. As a counselor, I saw the increased need for stress-relief, healing and connection among our students, even before the pandemic began. I have been researching the overwhelming positive effects of mindfulness for some time. Thus, I wanted to be a part of offering these group mindful sessions in addition to my individual appointments with students.
AS: What have you learned from leading these sessions?
RH: I’ve learned how much our students need stress relief, healthy connections to others and themselves, as well as time for healing and joy.
AS: What usually is the agenda during these sessions?
RH: We start each session with a warm welcome, then we begin the guided meditation. The entire session lasts 20 minutes. Participants do not need any experience with mindfulness, as Sharon Spence-Wilcox, the other mindful leader, or I will guide you. Sometimes we use visuals, sound, breathing, focusing inward or outward, quotes and reflections, as well as mind-body connection skills, etc.
AS: How else have you or the school addressed the mental health of students since operations switched to remote learning?
RH: The counseling department has made a concerted effort to offer several initiatives, including workshops on the topics of understanding power and how to build trust, self-care, organization, time management, stress management, test preparation and staying on course to success. Counselors also teach human development credit courses and are currently revising and devising a college success course to support newer students in their first year of college. Over the summer quarter, counselors led a black identifying student support group. Counselors also conduct classroom visits introducing our services and how to access counseling. Counselors at SCC provide personal counseling, crisis counseling, as well as general career and academic counseling.
AS: Lastly, can you give a statement on what you wish for students to achieve from these sessions?
RH: I would like every student to remind themselves that they are brilliant, resilient and capable. And that they, as much as anyone in the universe, deserve their own love and acceptance.
After our mindful meditation session, I hope students notice feelings of connection to others and themselves, a boost in confidence, and decreased stress. Research has shown that today’s young adults are the loneliest generation we have ever had, even before the pandemic, thus this need for connection is doubly important.
Mindfulness helps us understand that all things deserve care — that when you relate to all things with kindness, you are relating to yourself with kindness. Any gesture of gentleness and honesty toward yourself will affect how you experience our world.
Please join us for a session whenever you can make it.
Free Weekly Mindful Meditation Sessions:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, from 12:10 – 12:30pm | January 12 – March 17
Meeting Room URL: https://tinyurl.com/yyx4eh9n
Meeting ID: 994 361 6626
You can learn more about Central’s services here and students can book an appointment with a counselor by email Counseling.Central@seattlecolleges.edu or phone 206-934-5407.