As a Catholic institution, the University has a large number of students honoring the tradition of Lent. In the forty days leading up to Easter, Catholic individuals sacrifice a luxury, pastime, or habit that is not a necessity.
Followers truly challenge themselves by abstaining from materials or actions that are established in their daily lives such as unhealthy foods or immature tendencies. Ash Wednesday initiates Lent, and Catholics visibly display their commitment by keeping a mark of ashes on their forehead for the entire day. The campus united to begin the Lenton season.
One of the indirect benefits of Lent is that resistance to temptation is not only strengthened, but resistance to religion is weakened. The inspiration of Lent and anticipation of Easter infuses many practicing members to attend church or make wise decisions more often and even unconsciously. Catholic students and non-Catholic students alike at the University can benefit from this frame of mind.
Sacrifice is an extremely difficult concept for young adults to embody. Sacrifce involves leaving comfort zones, altering routines, ending habits and challenging commonalities. For a student with limited time and limitless expectations, change is scary.
Leaving comfort zones may mean fearlessly engaging in student organizations with no friends in the group but merely an interest to learn skills and lessons. Altering routines may mean not watching new “Modern Family” episodes every Wednesday night when re-runs are available online to view on the weekend, and the time during the week can be more effectively used studying. Ending habits may mean ending relationships—either dating or friendships—that encourage risky behavior. Challenging commonalities may mean expressing a strong stance against popular opinions on University grounds or beyond.
Sacrifice and change are scary concepts because whether or not a person is satisfied with his or her life, he or she has most likely adapted to the rewards and challenges which that lifestyle affords. Often people do not take a break in their busy schedule to even reflect on redefining characteristics of their routines, relationships or opinions.
Reflection precedes reform, which is a fitting synonym for sacrifice because often major transformations are necessary. Simply realizing that changes need to be made means concurrently accepting that previous strategies were unsuccessful or underachieving.
The pride within individuals strongly inhibits the formulation of such epiphanies. College students may be the most stubborn in their habits due to the self-applied pressure to exceed expectations. However, the University is a great platform for students to look inward and improve, and Lent is the perfect time.
Individuals participating in the tradition of Lent can challenge themselves to sacrifice more valuable fixations of their lives. Keep the soda, get rid of the swearing. And after forty days of restraint, don’t relapse on tendancies deemed negative enough to sacrifice in the name of religion. Non-Catholic students can observe their practicing classmates and be inspired to make subtle changes in their own lives.
College students have to rely on themselves. Thinking independently means independent of outside opinions, independent of the way things are and independent of the way things have always been.