Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Updated: Apr 24
Cecilia Nam, a high school senior officially committed to Northwestern University's Class of 2025! When I was younger, I hated studying more than anything because all I could ever think about was how boring it was, what to eat for lunch, what Tiktok videos I wanted to watch, etc. I would think about literally everything other than the topic that I was studying. I could never concentrate because I would always be thinking about other things irrelevant to what I was doing, and as a result, I received bad grades, which would smash any trace of motivation that I previously felt, and this entire cycle would repeat over and over again. In middle school, I slept through all my classes, and I was incapable of paying attention to lectures. I never improved on the piano, even though I had been receiving lessons since the age of five because I could never focus on the music; I was always thinking about everything else. I had too many thoughts that were running around my head that I couldn’t concentrate on anything, whether that be academic studies or musical studies.
One day, my mom asked me if I wanted to go to this meditation center with her. She said that it would help my concentration problems, and at that time, I was skeptical whether meditation could actually increase my concentration and fix these problems I had been experiencing. Grudgingly, I followed her to the meditation center. There, I learned how to discard all of these distractive thoughts. I learned that humans are incomplete because we live inside of our illusionary mind worlds, which are fake. We take all these pictures with our five senses - everything we see, smell, hear, taste/say, and touch are stored into our brain, just like a living, breathing camera. All of these pictures that we take are overlapping the real world. Because we take these fake pictures of our illusionary lives, we always have so many thoughts that are constantly running through our heads, which makes it so difficult to concentrate. In order to become complete, we must discard all of our karma, habits, and body to become the universe and live in the real world. At this meditation center, I learned how to throw away these minds to become the universe mind, so naturally, I no longer had any clutter inside of my brain. I was finally able to focus on my daily activities because I no longer had all of these irrelevant and distractive thoughts running through my head 24/7. As a result, I was able to concentrate on my schoolwork and musical studies because instead of thinking about dinner and Tiktok videos and my friends while studying, I could finally keep my focus on the topic at hand. Before doing this meditation, I was unable to understand my easy middle school science textbook even after reading it numerous times. Now, after completing this meditation practice, I can easily read my AP College Level Biology textbook once and fully comprehend what I read.
I am now a senior in high school, and meditation has really changed my life. Before meditation, my concentration and focus problems were so severe that I could have never dreamed of excelling at the piano or in my studies. Thanks to this meditation method, I have an extremely strong concentration, and I excel in both piano and my school studies. While in the past, I couldn’t even read the sheet music because I couldn’t concentrate, now, I am a paid piano accompanist with 20 regular clients and between 30-40 seasonal/one-time clients, a pianist in my competitive high school’s highest levels of both wind ensemble and orchestra, and a competitive soloist with numerous local, state, and regional awards, such as the Midwest Chopin Youth Piano Competition Finalist, Illinois Music Association Senior Level Piano Competition First Place both 2018 and 2019 consecutively, Granquist Geneva Competition Olympic First Place 2019, and many more. Even though I go to a competitive high school, I am in the top 5% of my class with a GPA of 4.5. I’ll be graduating on the High Honor Roll with 12 APs. I’ve gotten a 1540 SAT score from one sitting, with a perfect score in math, and I’ve received many national honors, such as the AP scholar with Honors, Questbridge National College Match Finalist, and a Coca Cola Scholars Foundation Semifinalist. I applied to 17 T-20 universities and 2 safeties, and I’m waiting to hear back from the T-20 schools in late March, but I got into both of my safety schools (University of Illinois at Chicago Honors College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) with four-year full-ride scholarships.
So the skepticism I felt towards meditation back when my mom first asked me to join her about whether it could really change my life by fixing my concentration problems back was unnecessary - if I had known five years ago that this meditation method would really change my life so drastically by fixing these concentration and focus problems, then I wouldn’t have even hesitated to start. So if you’re reading this and wondering how to improve your concentration and you feel skeptical or hesitant, please trust me and just go for it. I am so unbelievably thankful to this meditation method for kick starting my life, and I’m the happiest I have ever been. I hope that whoever is reading this is able to experience all of these benefits of meditation.
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