Is Being Mindful Important In College?
Updated August 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers
Mindfulness, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” College is a pivotal stage in someone’s life, no matter the age or gender of the student. A lot of the time, people in college go through good times as well as bad times. Sometimes, college itself is the time with the highest points in life and the lowest points in life. With all of the growth that can happen in college, being mindful is incredibly important. When you are mindful of creating great experiences and maximizing your opportunity to grow, college can be filled with some of the greatest memories. So, what does being mindful look like?
What Does Being Mindful Look Like?
Practicing mindfulness can be very different for many people. For some, they prefer to practice mindfulness by keeping a gratitude journal. For others, they practice mindfulness meditation. This is where they meditate to bring them total awareness of their current situation and appreciate the present. No matter what mindfulness practice one prefers to do, it should help bring them back to the present moment. It should help them live in the now and slow down their mind. This can be incredibly difficult for anyone, but especially those who live the busy college student life. This is why being mindful in college is vital.
Why Being Mindful Is Important In College
Practicing mindfulness is all about personal growth and bettering your everyday life through self-awareness. Perhaps college is the best time of life to cultivate mindfulness. Your late teens and early twenties are a time of intense personal development. This is when you develop your own opinions, ideas, and beliefs. So, being mindful during your college career can be incredibly beneficial for your personal development. Doing mindfulness activities, such as mindfulness meditation, can help you become a better person and have a much happier mentality.
Being Mindful Of What You Do In The Future
Knowing what you want to do in the future can expand your growth opportunities in college. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about one-third of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree change their major. If you are one of the students who decide not to pursue a specific major, don’t worry. Staying mindful of what you are studying and what you will be doing in the future is incredibly helpful. When you are mindful of your future, you can help ensure you love your career one day. So, as you are taking your classes, consider, “Do I truly want to do this one day?”
College is an expensive endeavor. Wasting time or money in college can happen if you don’t stay in touch with your thoughts, goals, and the overall reason you are attending college in the first place. You need to be mindful and intentional about doing the best you can in your classes. Being intentional with how you spend your time and your major in college will likely help you be happier with your future career.
Being Mindful Of What You Ask For
When in college, it’s important to ask for help more than you give it. Whether this is asking your professor for bonus points on a difficult assignment or your parents for extra spending money, college can be a very humbling time of life. You may have to ask your teacher to extend the deadline for an important project. Or, you may ask your boss for a raise or more shifts. But, when practicing mindfulness, it is important to consider what you are giving. It can be easy in life to forget to give when you feel like you always need something. After all, the broke college student stereotype is popular for a reason. However, it is possible to give to others just as much as you ask for things.
When you practice mindfulness or are doing mindfulness meditation, consider the people around you. Do the people in your life have hardships and difficulties? Can you help a classmate who is struggling to get by when you understand the topic? Chances are, there are many opportunities for you to help someone in your life as a college student. Remember, in college, everyone is in a difficult life phase and is enduring tremendous stress. It is normal, and even healthy to lean on others when you are going through a stressful time. But, be mindful of how often you are asking for help and giving others help in return.
Being Mindful Of What You Commit To
On the other hand, you may say yes to everything you are asked of. In college, it is incredibly easy to commit to too many things. There are usually hundreds of organizations you can join in college that require a serious time commitment. Are you overcommitting yourself to things? Have you signed up for more than you can bear? It is vital to know what your limits are and what you can handle. You may get caught up in the social aspect of college and be afraid to tell people “no” even when you want to. Overcommitting yourself could cause you to feel overwhelmed. So, when trying to practice mindfulness, consider what you enjoy doing. Consider what gives you the biggest return on the time you invest. This can help you feel more on top of your daily routine and feel more stable with your schedule.
Being Mindful Of What You Say
With everyone’s experiences in college being very different, it could be important to read into the context clues of how someone is doing before you say anything. For example, if your friend studied all night for an exam and did not score as well as they would have liked on it, but you scored an ‘A’ on the exam, it is likely best to comfort them. Doing so can make your friend feel worse. Not being mindful and accidentally gloating about your victory at the expense of your friend’s feelings at that moment is not respectful. Wouldn’t you want someone to be mindful of your circumstances or feelings as well? If you are in college, you are likely aware of how frequent mental breakdowns are. Stress and competitiveness are incredibly overwhelming for people. So, being mindful of how others are feeling can help brighten someone’s day, rather than putting more stress or negative emotions on them.
The tone of voice or word choice can also send mixed messages to people. Someone could misunderstand what you said or be distracted by the non-verbal cues you are giving off. Or, it could be the other way around, and you could be on the receiving end of this. Being intentional with your words to communicate is essential to maintaining relationships and getting your point off clearly. You have probably heard the saying, “If you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.” That may just seem like something that you heard in elementary school, but it carries over to college-aged young adults as well. Negative comments, intention or not, get under people’s skin and can stick with them for a lifetime. Wouldn’t you want to brighten someone’s day and not be the person that hindered their joy? Practicing mindfulness can help you tremendously with your communication skills.
Being Mindful Of Who You Spend Your Time With
It is important to be mindful of who you hang out with or who you choose to date in college. This is a time in which you figure out what you want to do with your future. It is important to build connections with people. With that being said, it is also important to stay true to your roots. Being around the wrong people can cause you to change who you are mindless. Your inner circle of friends in college is vital. This is because when you spend a significant amount of time with people, you all eventually become similar. You each adopt different characteristics from the people in the friend group. You can, unfortunately, lose yourself in this process. Losing yourself could mean that you start taking part in things that you previously would not have.
It is key to stay mindful of who you are as an individual and to stay mindful of your morals, visions, and passions. Choosing the wrong set of people to spend your time with can make you, but it can also break you. Good people help you grow and support you on the path that you want to be on. Or they might notice that you are straying off the path and help you get back on the right track. On another note, negative people, or at least bad people for you specifically, can tempt you to do things out of peer pressure or false motives. So, when practicing mindfulness meditation, consider how your friends are affecting you.
Being Mindful With How You Spend Your Time
The beginning of college may seem like a free for all or a sweet taste of freedom for people when compared to living at home with stricter rules. This is where self-discipline and being mindful of time become highly crucial to student success. It might be fun to stay up all night playing video games or watching Netflix and hanging out with friends. There is nothing wrong with these things. But, when they start affecting your sleep schedule, your productivity, or your bank account, it might be time for a priority check. Time is something that you will never get back. It is true; you will not be in college forever and probably want to have some fun along the way. But it is possible to have fun, manage your time well, and stay mindful in the process.
Being Mindful Of How You Spend Your Money
Being intentional and aware of how you spend your money is highly crucial for your future. Your spending and saving habits that you start while in college can crossover into your adult life. As you likely know, college is expensive. Whether it be tuition or living expenses, you cannot argue that college is not economic stress or investment, because it is. It can be easy to spend your money on temporary happiness or on something that is a need instead of a want. So, be mindful of how you spend your money. Ensure the ways you spend your money are an investment in yourself and your long-term happiness.
Being Mindful Of What You Post
Social media and networking are very popular in today’s day in age. It is a reflection of who you are and how you want to present yourself to the worldwide web. It can be a fun space of expression or a cool place to communicate with people from your hometown. So, why is it important to be mindful of the content that you post? It is important because people can misunderstand what you meant by your post and use it against you. One of the main purposes of college is to learn about a field you are interested in and learn tools to help you be successful in your career. People also go to college to get a job. Employers these days often look at the social media of the people that are in candidacy to work for their company. Whether it be Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or another app, what you post is out in the world forever for recruiters to see. You would not want one tweet to prevent you from obtaining that dream job that you worked so hard for over the past four years at college. So, be aware of how a future employer can see your social media profiles.
Consider Going To Counseling When You Are Struggling
A critical part of being mindful is aware of your mental health. According to an article by Healthline, one in three college students struggle with some form of mental health concern. Whether the concern is caused by overwhelming anxiety, depression, or simply feeling down because they are homesick, this is a real concern. Unfortunately, many student health centers cannot take on the capacity of one-third of their student body attending on-campus counseling. This is why online counseling services, such as BetterHelp, are incredibly helpful for college students. Whether if you are in your college town or are visiting home for winter break, you will have access to your counselor at all times. Online counseling can be a critical resource in college.
When you are practicing mindfulness, consider your mental health condition. How you feel mentally is very important, especially in college. Moving to a new area without your friends and family around can be incredibly isolating. So, consider how you are feeling and be open to the idea of seeking counseling if needed.
Being Mindful In College
To answer this important question, yes, being mindful in college is incredibly important. College should not be a time of judgement and selfishness. It should be a time of personal growth, development, learning, and being an asset to wherever you are placed. Acting mindfully can help you in dozens of ways in college. Therefore, do the best that you can with each day and stay mindful of both the little things and the big things.