Rooks experiment with meditation
Published: Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 21:10
Norwich University has received a $40,000 grant from Foundations of America to conduct a study on how to lower stress among rooks. One rook platoon is using Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day, every day, to see if meditating helps, according to Dr. Peg Meyer, director of academic achievement and educational effectiveness.
"The big thing about the TM practice is that it is an individual tool, people will say, ‘What about a team performance or a platoon performance' but it is really about what it does for you," said Shelby Wallace, the director for student success. "I have been TM'ing for almost a year now this December, and it has definitely helped with a level of prioritization."
"I can handle situations in a more effective way, and reduce my stress, so I have seen a lot of positive results in a personal and professional way," said Wallace.
Last February, Norwich conducted a study with the men's lacrosse team to test TM.
"The spring study was more or less an intro for the university to take a cross section of students, staff and faculty who were trained, as well to learn a little more about the TM practice to understand if this was something that we wanted to do," said Wallace.
After seeing good results, Meyer, Wallace and President Richard W. Schneider went to New York to meet with the David Lynch Foundation to get trained in TM and to see its effects firsthand.
After receiving the grant, Norwich sent out emails to the rooks of 4th Company, 3rd Platoon, asking if they would participate.
Twenty-eight rooks volunteered.
"I received an email, I volunteered, and now I am apart of this great study," said Frank Ruscito, an 18-year-old freshman study of war and peace major from Rome, N.Y. "I feel it has worked better than I expected."
"I see other people falling asleep (in class), and I am energized and focused," Ruscito said. "I'm doing much better in my classes than I expected."
The 4-3 platoon cadre are trained in TM and do it with the platoon, as well as by themselves when needed to. The rooks are free to meditate whenever they please as well. The platoon meditates at 0800 and between 1620 and 1630 as a platoon.
"My stress levels are down. As far as academics, everything seems to be clicking very well," said Scott Heimann, a 18-year-old freshman computer security major from Colorado Springs, Colo. "I do believe with the help of the TM, my rookie knowledge is sticking very well." Heimann added, "I strongly believe that I will continue TM after rookdom."
"It has helped me with my academics tremendously. I feel more alert, I can focus better on my homework," said Timothy Hunter, a 18-year-old freshman biology major from Stratham, N.H. Hunter also described how the effects of the TM helped him with his rookie knowledge, and how it relieved the stresses of balancing the rook environment and school work.
All the rooks who were interviewed said TM should be done by everyone; and that they will continue doing TM.
"I feel more organized, I feel I have more energy, I'm more productive, and it helps relieve stress," said Madison Dupouy, a 22-year-old senior physics major from Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Dupouy went to a dinner for people interested in this new study. After discovering that TM actually helped him with his academics, his stress and his energy level, Dupouy decided to get involved as one of the cadet officers who will oversee the study.
"I have always been interested in meditation," said Brandon Jennings, a 21-year-old senior history major from Gales Ferry, Conn. Jennings found out about the study, and when he tried it for himself he noticed an improvement in his energy levels, organization habits and his academics.
"I took 23 credits with two seminar classes last semester, and I got a 3.407 GPA for the semester," said Jennings. These good results got him interested in being a part of the study, and he became one of the officers in charge.