Some University of Miami School of Law students and faculty members have found a way to stay focused and centered before they begin their busy week. On Monday mornings, they take the Mindful Walk Around the Lake.
“First and foremost, I enjoy walking around this beautiful campus and taking stock of the world to give us more perspective,” said Janet Stearns, dean of students at the law school and the leader of the weekly event. “If we can continue to introduce more balance and perspective into the law school experience, we’ll have happier and more successful students who will ultimately be happier and more successful lawyers.”
The walk begins at 8 a.m. If it’s just drizzling, Stearns will usually try to walk, but if it’s pouring, then they don’t go. The size of the group varies from week to week, from just a handful of walkers to dozens, she said.
“It’s a great way to start off a Monday morning in a relaxed state, especially before a busy week,” said Stephanie Rosendorf, a first-year law student.
The walk around Lake Osceola begins at the law school courtyard, then past the music school, toward the freshman towers, and then around the lake and over the bridge leading to the University Center. The last part brings everyone through the heart of campus and back to the law school. The walk takes about 30 minutes to complete.
The walk is part of a group of programs at the law school designed to keep students healthy, happy and focused, collectively called the Mindfulness in Law Program. The program includes workshops on balancing one’s life and seminars for law students on exercise, sleep and food.
“There’s something to be said for being outdoors, and the ‘ground beneath my feet’ experience,” said Scott Rogers, the program’s director. “It always brings out different things for different people.”
Aside from fostering mindfulness, the walk has other benefits.
“One of the reasons for the walk is that a little bit of exercise can help with memory retention,” Stearns said. “It’s obviously not all about going to the gym, but I’d like to see more research done on the subject. It’s one of the things we’ve talked about on the walks.”
The Mindful Walk Around the Lake is in its third year and will continue to be open to all students, including law, graduate and undergraduate.
For more information visit miamimindfulness.org for more information on the Mindful Walk around the Lake and the Mindfulness in Law Program.