The Mindful Living Learning Community

Some thoughts from first-year Students

The Mindful Living Learning Community
Student from the 2013 Mindful Living LLC

Hannah LaClaire

One does not find a community like the Mindful Living LLC every day. The people are incredible, and the program is fantastic, and I cannot imagine what my freshman experience would have been like without it.

Before coming to George Mason and being in the Mindful Living LLC, I had never meditated before, and quite frankly it was a process that I had written off as being for hippies. I did not need to be "one with the universe," which was what I interpreted it to mean. I have never been so wrong. Through the process of mindful living I have discovered the numerous benefits of meditation, including, but not limited to, stress relief, relaxation, optimism, and even peace of mind.

Along with meditation, the Mindful Living community also partakes in a multitude of mindfulness practices, such as yoga, journaling, the art of letting go, and working with other creative outlets like music and art. I have really enjoyed these experiences, and they have helped me to get in touch with who I am as an individual: discover my strengths and what makes me happy.

The individuals who make up the community are just as beneficial to me as the Mindful Living program. I love being around such inspirational, like-minded people: I do not know of any other floor as tight-knit and familial as ours. Everyone is passionate and loving, and we all support one another. It does not matter that we are all in different grade levels or come from different walks of life—we are all “mindful livers.”

I look forward to being in the program for the next three years of my college career.

Laurel Mahoney

When I was first applying to George Mason University, the number one that was holding me back was the fact that it was so large. I wanted to be able to make friends, so my sister told me to join a Living Learning Community. She described it as a place that makes the school feel smaller, because you can actually get to know a group of people. After doing some research and looking at all of the LLCs available at Mason, I chose the Mindful Living LLC as my top pick. Since coming to Mason, I am appreciative every day that I made that decision.

The Mindful Living LLC is a place were I can fully be myself and be accepted by everyone around me. The group in this dorm is made up of some of the kindest and most accepting people I have ever met. I'm a shy person when it comes to meeting new people, so at first it was hard to put myself out there, but everyone made it very easy for me to be me.

The LLC’s Fall Retreat helped me to make great friends, let go of the past, and just be at peace. On the trip, I did yoga for the first time and that has opened a door for me to find a way to be more at peace and calm throughout my daily life. Mindful Living has not only impacted my social life, but also my mental well-being. When I have a problem or a lot of work to do, I normally stress myself out so much that it is unhealthy, but after learning more about meditation and finding inner peace, I find that I am less stressed in my day to day life.

Mindful Living also helped with my homesickness. When I first got to Mason, I missed home to the point of crying every day. I almost considered leaving the LLC and living at home to commute to Mason instead, but I listened to my sister's advice and I gave the adjustment more time. I got to know more people in my community and through that I found out that some people were going through exactly the same experience. I can count on these people whenever I need to talk about missing home. I am so grateful that I joined the Mindful Living LLC and found a "family" that accepts me. This community has helped me be more positive in my life here at Mason, and now all I can hope to do is to give back and help others in the same way.

Jenny Fotang

I knew joining a LLC would give me a different first year experience, and I am more than satisfied that I was accepted into the Mindful Living LLC I. It is the only campus residence community that promotes well-being. You live in an environment where you, as well as others around you, are enveloped in positivity.

Attending regular floor meetings and numerous events with the floor—such as the Mindful Retreat and George Mason basketball games—creates unexpected bonds and countless memories. It's good to know you have an entire floor of people rooting for you in whatever you do, and supporting you in times of need. Also, as a first year student, being in a residence hall with upperclassmen—whom are very involved—has been very beneficial. They give me an insight into all Mason has to offer, whether information on where I can grab the best food on campus or how to proceed in joining a specific club.

As for the Mindful Living class, it is not very often that college students are given the opportunity to meditate and wind down once a week—for college credit! Coming into this LLC, I didn’t fully grasp the meaning of mindful living. Now, I look forward to my weekly class in order to become more in tune with myself, with the opportunity to detoxify my body and become fully aware of my presence.

As an added bonus, the secondary common room we have on our floor provides a sanctuary in which we can meditate at any time. I see this as very important because college students tend to constantly be. This room provides peace of mind, an escape from classes, school activities, social media, and electronics.

Although I've only reached the half point for the 1st semester, I have already learned many things from the Mindful LLC. Each lesson has helped me to grow, be more self-aware and better my future by picking up new good habits and getting rid of bad ones. Mindfulness is a lifestyle—it's the way we live. I've become more conscious each day of the little decisions I have to make, and I choose to be positive and live a "mindful life."

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