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10 Tips to Prepare Yourself for Graduation Day

10 Tips to Prepare Yourself for Graduation Day

Graduation day is an exciting time, but you want to make sure you plan ahead so you can truly enjoy it. Here are ten tips to make your graduation day go smoothly!

1. Keep up with your schoolwork

First things first, if you want to enjoy your big graduation day, make sure you do the work to get there! It’s easy to get caught up in college applications or just celebrating your senior year with friends, but make sure you’re still doing your schoolwork and keeping your grades up.

If you need motivation or a helping hand, you can look to parents, teachers, or your guidance counselor for advice and assistance. Plus, there are tons of great organizations devoted to helping students reach their dream of graduating and heading to a better college! Here’s an example of heart-touching story of Christopher Yanov who helped many such students get scholarships and transformed their lives. You can’t expect a better helping hand than this.

2. Plan for the future

Though it may sometimes seem like high school is going to last forever, senior year will be over before you know it and you need to have a plan for life after graduation.  Whether that means going off to college, joining the workforce or travelling the world, you need to start planning for it before graduation.

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If you are headed to college, make sure you have your finances in order, too, from filling out FAFSA to applying for scholarships. Last year, in 2015, these 7 students cracked Gates Scholarships of more than $500,000 each. When things are already planned out, you will feel way better, when you walk across that stage to get your diploma as you have done everything to make sure your college dream can become a reality!

3. Create a schedule

From dealing with college applications to planning the day of your graduation, you have a lot of things to organize during your senior year. To make sure you stay on track, draw up a schedule for yourself.  If you have scholarship or school application deadlines, add them to your calendar.

If you need to request graduation tickets or order your cap and gown by a particular time, put those on the calendar too. Even for things that might not have specific deadlines, it’s a good idea to come up with some dates to aim for, just to keep yourself on track. If you do everything on your calendar in time, your graduation day will be a piece of cake!

4. Get senior pictures

Senior pictures aren’t just for the yearbook, they’re the photos your parents will frame and you’ll want to give copies of to your friends. Lots of people choose to go to a professional photographer to do a special photo shoot for their senior year. You can take formal pictures as well as more casual ones like snaps of you doing your favorite activity, from football to ballet to hanging out with your family dog.

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Just be sure to schedule your photos early, because lots of other people will want to take their senior pictures around the same time. Plus, you need to make sure you get them in time to get them in the yearbook and have copies ready to share with friends.

5. Send announcements

It’s a tradition to send graduation announcements out a few months before the big day to let everyone, from your grandparents to your neighbors, know about the big day. It’s basically a formal way for your parents to brag about you. You’ll want to order invitations in advance to make sure you have time to send them out well in advance of your actual graduation day.

6. Invite friends and relatives

For an occasion as important as graduation, you want to have your closest friends and family in attendance. Schools often have a policy where they reserve a couple of tickets for each student right off the bat, but you may be able to request a few additional tickets if you get around to it early enough. Once you’ve made sure there will be seats available go ahead and invite your friends and relatives.

7. Order your cap and gown

Every graduation picture you see features happy students properly wearing gowns and tossing their caps into the air. If you want to be one of them, though, you have to remember to order your cap and gown in time for the ceremony. Usually a salesperson will come to your school with order forms or you’ll receive information from the school about how to order them online.

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This can also be a good time to get a class ring or any other graduation paraphernalia you might want. Or, if the cost of the cap and gown are a little steep for you, there are also options to rent or buy used.

8. Pick your outfit

While it’s not quite prom, graduation is still an important event and one definitely worth dressing up for! You’ll be walking across a stage, having your picture taken and spending time with all of your closest friends and family, so you want to find a nice looking outfit for the occasion.

Guys usually wear a suit or nice pants with a shirt, and girls usually opt for a nice dress, though, of course, you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Also, be sure to plan ahead for the weather – graduation can be really hot, especially if it is an outdoor ceremony, so try to pick something light.

9. Get gifts for teachers

Yes, graduation is supposed to be about celebrating all of your hard work, but it’s also a time to recognize your teachers for helping you along the way. Usually the last day or so of classes is a good time to give something to teachers to show your appreciation.

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If you’re strapped for cash, you can just write a nice card to a few of your favorite teachers or bake them some cookies!  Just be sure to think about it in advance or before you know it you’ll be done with classes and it will be too late!

10. Plan your celebration!

Whether you just want to go out for a nice dinner with your family after the ceremony or you want a graduation party full of friends (or both!), be sure you make your plans in advance. Since there will likely be a lot of people planning graduation celebrations around the same time, you’ll need to start planning early.

If you want a graduation party, plan it for a weekend before or after graduation—people will have too much going on during graduation weekend itself! For getting dinner the night of graduation, remember that most other graduates will have the same idea, so you want to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant before it’s all filled up!

Graduation is an important and exciting day – just be sure to get ready for it in advance so you can enjoy it, when the day comes. After all, you are marking the end of over a decade of grade school – that’s going to take some celebrating!

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on August 13, 2020

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

12 Benefits of Meditation That Improve Your Body And Mind

As a mediation teacher, I am constantly confronted with these two questions regarding the benefits of meditation:

1. Why can’t I enjoy the benefits of meditation continuously?

I ask back: Is it maybe because you see mediation as a technique, performance, or some exclusive activity? The answer is: yes!

Or, because your mind is constantly evolving on the past negative attachments and traditional habits? After careful thinking they answer: yes, probably!

Although meditation is very simple and challenging at the same time, in the above mentioned case, it’s not easy to benefit from meditation, especially when approached with the idea that it has to be learned, studied, or applied. Meditation is to be seen as a natural, mental cleansing process that happens on a basis of awareness on a moment-to-moment experience. When that takes place, the benefits of meditation are continuous.

2. What is the purpose of meditation?

The purpose of meditation is to accomplish a level of consciousness for mastering the mind and uniting with the finest, deepest, and subtlest part of yourself as a being.

It is a conscious process of observation of the mind—helping the meditator to understand the structure of its mind and the quality of its content. During this process, countless benefits of a physical, mental, and spiritual/philosophical nature arise for the meditator.

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Meditation as a Fixer and Benefactor

In this article we’ll have a look at the primary and the ultimate benefits of mediation, which improve your body and mind at the same time. For the sake of clarity, readability, and tangible experience, I have separated the benefits into three groups.

You can change just about anything you don’t like about yourself (psychologically, as well as physically) through meditation. However, this is only possible with a specific approach, when your brain allows the benefits of meditation to do their work.

This means not to interrupt the benefit with other thoughts, but to let their effect implement itself in your body and mind. This approach is crucial.

The following exercises will make you feel the benefits of meditation instantly, but the continuity of the benefits of meditation on your body and mind depend on the discipline of your brain, how you manage external stimuli and your thoughts.

Less Physical, More Psychological

Even though the practice of meditation is more psychological and less physical, the first benefit we’re going to experience is both physical as well as mental.

This benefit happens literally immediately, right at the moment of meditation. It is the essence of mediation basically.

The First Benefit of Meditation

The first benefit of meditation is twofold:

  1. Improving inward attention (sharpening the mind)
  2. Relaxation of the body

Let’s do it right now. This benefit consists of only one step, and it is very simple to perform. It goes like this:

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Sit still and pay attention to your exhalation.

That’s it! Technically, the whole journey into the world of mediation begins here and nowhere else. And right here, you benefit from this step in the following way:

When you pay attention to the flow of your exhalation (gentle, deep, effortless exhalation), your body begins with the process of relaxation instantly (your heart rate slows down, your nervous system calms, and tension in your muscles is relieved).

When the nervous system calms, your mind calms down, and, more specifically, less thoughts are produced by your mind. How, exactly? By applying one of the most valuable mental skills—attention—the mind follows the breathing and has no space and time to generate any other thoughts. Only when the attention goes off the breath, other thoughts are constructed, and the mind is accelerating with thought production again.

Keeping the First Benefit Effective and Ongoing

Here you apply the approach of not letting the relaxation and attention process get interrupted; rather let the effects of these benefits implant in your body and mind as deeply as possible.

This is to say, the instant relaxation and inward attention happen at the same time when you follow the flow of your breath. Repeating this process—creating a constant rhythm out of the breathing and the attention—you create a process of meditation.

Keep your attention on the flow of your breath and see how the calmness of body and mind begin to rule your present moment. The longer you stay connected to your breathing, the stronger you’ll feel the benefit. Start with 3-5 minutes at a time without doing anything else, and increase to 10-20 minutes and onwards.

Can you think of a better, simpler and quicker exercise that can relax the body and improve attention in this way, at this speed?

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This benefit takes you to the second one.

The Second Benefit of Meditation

While still working with the first benefit of mediation, you slowly start to see the second benefit of mediation, which is fourfold. I call it the major value of mediation:

  1. Energy (physical and mental strength)
  2. Observance
  3. Peacefulness (stillness, and space of mind for deeper observation)
  4. Patience

Peacefulness is the source of a blissful life. The energy is the fuel to express that blissfulness. Whatever we want to accomplish in life we need: 1) Physical and mental strength, 2) Observance of that energy, 3) Peacefulness—the calmness and stillness that creates space for freedom of being and creative thinking, and 4) Patience for the process of accomplishment.

You can only get creative in thinking and boosted with physical and mental energy when you get in touch with the deepest levels of yourself—when you harmonize your mental and physiological activities. How do you do that? Let’s try it right now:

This step involves the observation of the two separate movements of your breath. After paying attention on your exhalation, you have prepared your body and mind to really see and feel what true peacefulness and true energy means.

1. Energy

Keep your attention on your inhalation (inhaling gently, deeply and lightly) and feel the new energy (new oxygen) flowing in your body. The inhalation is the symbol for aliveness and vitality. It is the the primary act that connects the baby’s body with the outside world after coming out of the womb[1]. Each inhalation is a new opportunity for your body to revive, regenerate, and renew itself.

2. Observance

The observance comes during the process of meditation, enabling you to see the physiological benefits of introducing new energy to your body. Use that benefit by utilizing its effects, and create deeper observation into yourself. With every single inhalation, this observation will enable you to generate even more energy, mentally and physically.

3. Peacefulness

Keep your attention on your exhalation, and feel how, out of the relaxation, peacefulness is spreading throughout your whole body. The exhalation is the symbol for relaxation and peacefulness. Only through meditation can you realize what absolute peacefulness means.

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4. Patience

The meditation delivers the previous benefits to you immediately and opens up the possibility for many other benefits and great virtues. A specific one to mention, which is essential for reaching the ultimate benefits of meditation, is patience. If you have experienced the aforementioned benefits, it means that you have invested a certain amount of patience into mastering yourself and your mind.

The Ultimate Benefits of Meditation

Patience is a key quality when it comes to the ultimate benefits of meditation.

Since the mind is the tool that reveals everything, mediation is the method for the proper utility of the tool.

The above mentioned benefits of mediation lead to the ultimate benefits of mediation—qualities that depict what makes a human being human. As you dwell in a meditative state of being, the following benefits begin to emanate:

  • Diligence: the persistence for righteous effort to reach an intrinsic value; inner strength.
  • Temperance: to express self-control and show excellence in managing the physio-biological and mental necessities
  • Courage: using righteous effort and braveness to look into the weaknesses of yourself and at the hardship of your life, endure it and patiently overcome the obstacles
  • Loving kindness and Compassion – a capacity to care, understand, and tolerate other people’s state of being, wishing them freedom from suffering.
  • Wisdom: the moment when you feel that mediation gives you the feeling and the knowledge that what you do relating to life and practical affairs is just.
  • Equanimity: that puts you in a state of composure, and you experience an ongoing blissful state of being.

These are the 6 ultimate benefits of meditation that put your body and mind in a state of health and balance.

Final Thoughts

Mediation exists to put order in your mind and awaken the best of you, to reconnect you to your goodness and your inborn intelligent capabilities.

Meditation is the window to your true Self. It gives you a panoramic view of your heart’s greatness. It shows you the true meaning of love, freeing you from the dungeons of ignorance and despair. The power of meditation dismantles the evil that’s trying to cloud the beauty of your heart.

Your heart, body, and soul are the bridge over which the challenges of life frequently carry their heavy load. Meditation is the support of that bridge. Make use of that support.

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Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Medline Plus: Changes in the newborn at birth

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