It’s that time of year again, the one practicing Catholics both dread and relish: Lent. To all the lay-people out there, Lent refers to the pre-Easter period, meant for prayer and penance, and traditionally means that the observer gives something up for 40 days. It is a solemn time meant to prepare the believer for the resurrection of Christ at Easter. With Ash Wednesday coming up, it may be time for both the religious and non-religious to do a little soul searching and figure out what we can live without.
Before the invention of these beautiful, little plastic earbuds, we never would have been able to experience the bliss of listening to hardcore gangster rap in the middle of a quiet lecture hall, or effortlessly tuning out awful roommates during their “me time.” But how often do we use those headphones to shut out the world? Try walking to class or doing homework — without any music.
Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t an essential part of life. Plenty of people go their whole lives without even a single cup of coffee in the morning, and they are pleasant enough. According to healthyliving.com, after abandoning caffeine, many people report feeling less irritable and a lot calmer.
Most of us spend way too much time on social media when we could be actually spending time with friends in real life. Being on the Internet can be a gilded cage — everyone feels so connected, but at the same time, spending five hours holed up in your room scrolling through Facebook can feel extremely disconnecting. Try putting Facebook on pause for a little while and see how many great opportunities open up. You may just never want to reactivate it.
This seems pretty tame, but for college students, having a dirty mouth is almost a requirement. After a while, curse words can begin to replace terms we would otherwise use that make us actually sound intelligent and it is hard to re-cultivate that vocabulary. Try giving up this vulgar vocab and see how much easier it is to converse with your grandparents.
There is nothing wrong with going out and getting loose with some friends, but after a while it can get very tedious, and if drinking is your favorite sport, very unhealthy. Take a break from it for a little while — go for a hike, hug some puppies or just cuddle up with your best friends and a movie instead. For those giving up this habit, make Mardi Gras count.
6. Sleeping in:
Hitting the snooze button is a college kid’s favorite pastime, but in those five or 10 minutes we waste kind-of-sleeping, we could be doing so much more — meditating, getting our clothes ready for work or even spending a few extra minutes in the shower may just be the thing that boosts your mood.
7. Eating on campus:
Who has time to make their food at home? According to Forbes.com, the same people who save on average $9,600 during their college career. While $10 here or there for Moe’s or Panda Express doesn’t seem like much, it adds up every week. Taking an extra five minutes and making a sandwich in the morning not only saves money in the long run, but also helps to avoid that Freshman 15.
For many of us, this is the hardest. Binge-watching obscure English dramas and Family Guy during downtime is a treasure, but when you really think about it, procrastinating on the important paper due in a week for just one more hour of entertainment ends up in unneeded stress and aggravation down the road. Giving it up for 40 days may be a huge challenge, but your grades will thank you for it.