By: MaxWell Gawlick, Peak Associate
Every exhausted student has heard the typical “You just need to sleep more!” from people who have left and forgotten what university life is really like. SFU does recognize that mental health is important and has released an alternative guide to maintaining your mental health that doesn’t involve shutting down the school when it snows: meditation.
Unlike typical meditation strategies, this guide doesn’t ask you to find your “happy place.” Instead, it’s asking you to think of your school life as it could be, replacing all the negative aspects of each day with the best possible ones.
The following are examples of scenarios reported by student participants in a beta test, compiled by research experts to aid students in meditation goals.
Tracy, first-year undeclared major: “In my pretend-SFU, I just kind of like, walked around the campus and looked at stuff. Um, the ivy on the side of the library was really pretty — it’s like the only colour other than grey on campus. Oh, there were also some people stopping students for donations. The initiative made me happy, but thankfully I managed to avoid them. I got distracted on my walk and forgot about my class, but there was also a room change today so they didn’t dock anyone marks. I didn’t know about the room change, but nobody has to know that.”
Donna, fourth-year English major: “I made it to tutorial punctually in my meditation session, not a second late nor a second wasted. The TA announced that the midterm exam will be challenging, but it’s on a poem I know really well, so I’m going to ace it. Then we’ll see who Karen thinks is smarter. They ended tutorial 57 minutes early as they had an engagement. I was famished and decided to treat myself; I purchased a coffee from the nearby proprietor. It warmed my fingers perfectly, warding off the cold of these dreary winter months. In lecture, the professor noted that the author of the text has been found to have falsified some information, so there shan’t be any further readings for the rest of the semester. Class is cancelled until the syllabus can be amended.”
Chad, seventh-year “athletics major”: “The construction was all finished. The new Student Union Building looked fine, but I was more occupied with the new stadium. They finally fixed that thing with the lights. More equipment too. Yeah, it was pretty cool. I checked my phone to see if I had slept through to 2035 and found that I was still half an hour early for class. I figured it was probably enough time for a couple laps. Before I knew it, the whole day was gone. But they didn’t really do anything in class.”
Maggie, second-year health sciences major: “I imagined waking up 15 minutes before my blaring alarm and having a shower I usually don’t have time for. I had a healthy, balanced breakfast — my eggs just firm enough, the toast darkly browned but not burnt — and I felt healthy and revitalized. Also, I remembered to pack the notebook I always forget.”
Despite the initial promising results, follow-up surveys were less encouraging. Results show a decrease in levels of happiness in the days following meditation. Participants agreed that their imaginary SFU was so much better than reality that they were depressed upon their return to the loud jack-hammering and jarring concrete-drilling consuming the campus. Further research is required to interpret this data.
SFU currently maintains their position that it is a beneficial exercise.