Following the Vidyarthi Shibir held earlier this year for GCSE and A Level students, a three-day education seminar was organised for university students from 21 September to 23 September 2012 at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Leicester in the presence of senior sadhus from India, including Narendraprasad Swami (Acharya Swami) and Shrutiprakash Swami.
The theme ‘Vidya Vinayena Shobhate’ [Knowledge is adorned by humility] remained consistent with the previous event, with the programme tailored to address the needs of degree students.
The shibir began with group activities and an interview of academically successful students. The panellists shared their experiences of a disciplined lifestyle in helping to focus one’s mind and maximising learning potential.
Acharya Swami spoke of the spiritual learning and wisdom found in the Vachanamrut, highlighting disciplines and behaviours that are particularly beneficial to students. As a follow-up exercise, delegates were presented with a number of scenarios that can distract university students from their studies, which they then discussed ways to overcome.
During the second day, a structured workshop provided key skills required during the various stages of a degree course, with advice on study techniques and exam preparation offered in conjunction with practical guidance on work experience, career planning and also financial budgeting. A basic cooking class was also part of the holistic learning experience. Later, a group project enabled the attendees to improve their problem-solving and presentation skills while the recreational activities provided another opportunity for team-building.
Shukmuni Swami elaborated upon the importance of attaching oneself to the Guru and highlighted the universal connectivity that Swamishri has developed with people from all walks of life – another useful characteristic for succeeding both academically and professionally.
The final morning concluded with a series of speeches by sadhus. They related the success that Pramukh Swami Maharaj and his spiritual predecessors have achieved amid acute hardships to the challenges that students face today, and how, in turn, they too can contribute to society by cultivating the Gurus’ values and work ethic.
The inspiring three-day event motivated the students to excel at university while equipping them with the tools and techniques to better realise their potential during one of the most formative periods of their life.