The New Bi-Om Chemistry

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Breaking News: College is stressful. Most of us balance a full tine academic schedule with a part time job which totals roughly fifty hours of work and school a week. That’s not even counting all the time just commuting to and fro! So how can NYIT students distress from the rigors of school and work?

Take an Organic Chemistry course with Laura Friedland. That’s right, organic chemistry: one of the toughest classes in any curriculum. But Prof. Friedland has found a way to help her students manage the anxiety and tension associated with not only her class, but their busy, overscheduled lives. And it’s something that can help you, too, even if you have no intention of ever grappling with organic chemistry. Recently, she started doing something no other professor has thought of here at NYIT; incorporating yoga exercise into her curriculum. It might sound crazy, but the brain absorbs twice as much information when the body is free from anxiety and distressing thoughts.

Laura decided that every few weeks she was going to take the first twenty minutes of her course and bring it a certified yoga instructor to guide the class through some releasing stretches and meditation. Lenora Gim, a friend of Prof. Friedland led the class through a wonderfully relaxing meditation sequence that involved walking through a forest. While the class is in deep meditation, Laura walks around the class with various essential oils that both relax the students and place them in a wonderful forest environment that goes along with the meditation. “I wanted to give the students a place and time to relax,” she explains, especially with a class like this the material is so difficult.’

The classroom is transformed into a tranquil, candle lit, wide open studio, and green tea is served at the end Laura was incredibly sweet and very welcoming to me when I asked to sit in on her class. She cares about the well-being of her students and she is adamant that they succeed. When students were surveyed about her class they had nothing but good things to say. “I can honestly say that she was by far my favorite teacher this semester. She made sure to be available to students for help especially around test time. I would highly recommend her!” “I completely loved the yoga and candy  they give out occasionally. It keeps the class involved.”

It’s a wonderful thing to see a professor dedicated to improving the mental clarity of their students. Sometimes we place too much emphasis on the rate information is absorbed and processed and not enough on the organ we use to cultivate this extraordinary amount of work. It is without a doubt that Laura’s practice has improved the mindset of her students. I believe that her practice should be implemented throughout the school.

Lenora Gim’s Guide to Relaxation:

  • Deep Breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth while making a slight hissing noise in the back of your throat. This relaxes the muscles and calms the nervous.
  • Posture is important. Sit cross legged with your spine elongated and straight up as if someone was pulling a string on top of your head. Aligning the spine allows the body to breathe properly and aids in things such as digestion and muscle tension
  • Meditation. Pick a serene place you want to visit in your mind, remind yourself that you can revisit that place anytime you want and you will always feel protected there. This helps with all kinds of anxiety.
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