“The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will… An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.”
– William James, 1890
Reducing stress and anxiety surrounding the entire college admissions process is so important at CollegePrepExpress that it’s part of our mission statement. A highly effective and increasingly popular set of techniques to reduce tension, heighten awareness and concentration, and instill a deep sense of well-being is MINDFULNESS. Mindfulness techniques are now widely and successfully used in business, sports, health, and, slowly but surely, education. At CollegePrepExpress we seek to bring these practices to our instruction, whether it’s helping students get better grades, raise their standardized test scores, or cast themselves in the best possible light on their applications to independent schools, colleges, and graduate schools.
What is Mindfulness? Great question, glad you asked. While it often takes a whole course to learn the various techniques of mindfulness and lifetime to practice them, it can be simply defined as an awareness of one’s body sensations, one’s breath, and one’s thoughts in the present moment. That’s my own personal definition after taking classes throughout the past year, but it’s not so different from others I found on the web:
• “Mindfulness is defined as a calm awareness of one’s body functions, feelings, content of consciousness, or consciousness itself” (http://www.mindfuleducation.org/whatismindfulness.html).
• “Mindfulness is paying attention here and now with kindness and curiosity” (http://www.etni.org.il/etnirag/issue9/ellen_serfaty.htm).
The application of Mindfulness techniques in education is virtually limitless. The first fruits of Mindfulness practice are better stress management and heightened concentration, both hallmarks of excellent test-takers and of excellent students in general. Wouldn’t it be great to learn how to move past WANTING to pay attention in class to actually PAYING attention in class? to be able to quiet racing thoughts that always obtrude–often at high volume–during tests?
Take some time this summer to explore this exciting field in the context of your own education and path to the college of your dreams. Here are a few links to get you started.
- Mindfulness for Teens: Meditation Practices to Reduce Stress and Promote Well-Being (http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ginabiegel/from/evor)
- Less Homework, More Yoga, From a Principal Who Hates Stress (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/29/education/29stress.html?_r=1)
- Association for Mindfulness in Education (http://www.mindfuleducation.org/index.html)
- Mindfulness Training in Education (http://www.wisdompage.com/MindfulnessEd.html)
If any facet of the topic whets your appetite, feel free to email Mindfulness@CollegePrepExpress.com to request a 1-page fact sheet on how you can apply some simple techniques to your studying and test taking, and by all means contact CollegePrepExpress (info@CollegePrepExpress.com) to set up a one-on-one tutoring session, or enroll in one of our test prep classes where we take time to teach some of the most relevant strategies.