After an anxiety-filled year for college students following the COVID-19 pandemic, a meditation class may be the best course of action.
Approximately 66% of college students experienced overwhelming anxiety this last year, according to a National College Health Assessment. With the normal stress of college life, joining the Theory and Practice of Meditation class taught by Cardin Martin, an adjunct instructor at Salt Lake Community College, may be the ticket for students to relax while returning to campus.
According to Martin, who also teaches yoga, laughter yoga and tai chi, the class helps students de-stress from class as well as the everyday stressors in life. Offered both online and in person, meditation may not seem like a feasible online course, but Martin said both platforms offer benefits.
“When taking this class online, participants get to experience meditation in the comfort of their own home and become accustomed to meditating in their own space,” she explained. “This could mean that they begin to meditate on their own, on a daily basis, rather than waiting to be in the classroom together to begin their practice. When taking this class in person, we have a few different modalities available to us that aren’t as effectively done online.”
Sasha Everingham, a first-year student and theology major, believes meditation is a great class for beginners.
“Being able to slow down and learn how to live in the moment is critical,” Everingham said. “If we continue to wait until the right time to have a life worth living, we could be waiting indefinitely. So, I think these skills are needed.”
Everingham decided to take the class to learn more about the religious aspect of meditation since she is specializing in Eastern religion. Although, anyone from any religious or non-religious background can benefit from the class.
“I think that this [religious] view was more prevalent in the past,” Martin said. “In the last five years or so, meditation and mindfulness have become fairly mainstream and very accessible to all different walks of life.”
SLCC offers meditation as a life wellness (LW) general education credit, no prerequisite required. Students learn stress reduction and emotional regulation tools. These are skills that can be applied to all aspects of life, in and out of the classroom. Students of all levels are encouraged to learn the basics of meditation.
Some students may claim that they “can’t meditate,” but, Martin remarked, the only way to find out is to try.
“Approach it as your own scientist,” she said. “Take the course, give it the full semester and do your best each time to find what does work for you and continue with that. Be willing to ask questions and participate with open curiosity.”