by Anna Maria Mikolajczak 

Throughout the pandemic and into the new school year, Mizzou has offered a safe space for students who need a break from the hassle of day-to-day learning. The Wellness Center’s noontime meditations are offered as a place for students to tune in from anywhere on campus and spend some time focusing on themselves and their mental health. Hosted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at noon on Zoom, the program is accessible to all students by the mere click of a link. 

The sessions are hosted online and have a theme every week. The theme for the September 9 session was self-compassion. Freshman and computer science major Silas Smith attended one of these sessions and said he enjoyed the message, which focused on positivity and not feeling shameful upon making mistakes. According to Smith, he left the session feeling calmer and more peaceful. In his busy week, he says, it was refreshing to have designated time to just focus on himself. He hopes more people will look into these meditations and warns prospective participants to not go into the session with high expectations at risk of ruining the experience;  “it’s basically introspective therapy for yourself,” says Smith.

Andrea Kimura, who hosts the meditations, has been a health educator in the Mizzou community since 2013. Her experience and hard work helped her set up Noontime Meditations in Mizzou’s wellness center. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the sessions, previously face-to-face, have had to move online. According to Kimura, there were formerly multiple practitioners who gave their own individual spin on their sessions so that students were ensured a variety of instructors. There were also spaces for students to practice meditation, different types of yoga or even therapy workshops. Since moving online, Kimura says, the variety of activities that can be dones has been more limited, but she hopes in the future to regain a physical space so students can once again attend in person. Her favorite part about running the sessions, she says, is seeing how she helps out the students and staff around her as well as being able to connect with all of them. 

Kimura ensures to shape the sessions around a student’s academic calendar and hope by looking through the lens of the students and staff to provide an area of healing for the university. Kimura brings forward the idea that when one person is feeling better it can improve the entire community in a sort of ripple effect. Their gratitude extends and helps others, who then go forward and have the same effect on more individuals, therefore helping a good part of the community.
The noontime mediation sessions are hosted at noon via Zoom, and more information can be found on MU Info.

Edited by Ryan Cohen

About Wagner, Cara (MU-Student)

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