Mindful Mondays bring meditation and intention to students
Academic advisers Marianne Norman and Alicia Mandac want to help students change their response to stress and anxiety by incorporating mindfulness into their lives through a new program called Mindful Mondays.
Mindful Mondays are weekly sessions that focus on well-being, self-care and mindfulness. The sessions are tailored to meet the needs of AU students. They include breathing techniques, discussions of mindfulness, meditation, experiential strategies and activities, such as writing thank you cards to express gratitude.
Norman, the director of undergraduate advising for the School of International Service, and Mandac, a senior academic counselor in the College of Arts and Sciences, said they came up with the idea of Mindful Mondays over a meal at Cava.
“We’re in academic advising roles, and so we really get to see students every day, one on one, and we get to see the stress that students are under, the expectations that students set for themselves,” Norman said.
Through Mindful Mondays, Norman and Mandac have created a welcoming, open setting for students to start their week off on a positive note. Their goal is to bring the world of health coaching to students in a way that is easy for them to incorporate into their daily lives.
Lindsay Petelinkar, a freshman in SIS who attended a session, said the Mindful Monday workshop gave her perspective on her life as a student.
“It’s a good way to just get out of the whole University campus setting,” Petelinkar said. “[To] think about yourself and realize that just one test or one essay or one exam isn’t going to ruin your life.”
Being academic advisers and having backgrounds in health advising, both Norman and Mandac bring their prior experience working with students to their Mindful Mondays sessions.
“The perspectives they bring to college impact how they view their college experience, what they want to get out of their college experience, what they think their college experience should be and how that translates to their performance in the classroom…and what kind of community member they are here are AU,” Mandac said.
Mindful Mondays are much broader than just meditation, according to Norman. Each week has a new focus, and every session welcomes drop-ins as well as students who come on a weekly basis.
Sessions are held each Monday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Hughes Formal Lounge, and Norman and Mandac will host an extra session on Dec. 9 to assist with the stressors that often emerge during finals week.