The AP Stylebook defines Lent as “the 40-day Lenten period for penance, suggested by Christ’s 40 days in the desert,” but to University of Maryland students, its definition sounds more similar to “the time of the year when you give up things to show your spiritual discipline or to exercise self-control.”
From becoming a more dedicated student to cutting out chewing gum, students campus-wide have found many ways to better themselves through making sacrifices.
But no matter how different these sacrifices are from one another, they essentially garner the same reaction from students who are not observing this holiday: “Damn, how are these people so dedicated and where can I get some of this dedication?”
This brings us to another element of Lent: the possibility of caving. Though students embarked on this journey of spiritual and physical betterment with a steadfast mindset and a pantry rid of chocolate, who—if anybody—has caved yet?
“My goal for Lent was to go to mass twice a week, but I haven’t been able to do that so far due to homework and being sick.”
“I gave up candy and ice cream for Lent, and it’s not too bad so far. It is annoying though when my friends can all have stuff that I can’t.”
“I gave up chewing tobacco for Lent, and it’s going well. Haven’t used it since.”
“I haven’t been chewing gum for Lent. I was chewing so much gum that my jaw started to make a cracking sound whenever I would eat anything. That kind of told me that gum would be the best thing for me to give up.”
“I am trying to get involved with volunteer work more. I didn’t do anything last semester, so I signed up to start volunteering with this charity. The first time that I am actually volunteering there is this weekend, so I’m excited.”
“Growing up Catholic, I gave up meat on Fridays. So on Fridays, my family and I would eat fish sticks and tater tots because my mom didn’t know what else to make. Now, since I’m a vegetarian, I gave up skipping class. I haven’t skipped a class yet.”
“I gave up drinking soda for Lent, and so far I have yet to cave. It’s only annoying when I go out to dinner because I was so used to ordering soda. I’m not even doing any diet sodas. Now, I just keep it healthy and get water with lemon.”
“I did give up chocolate. I was doing well with it until last night when I just couldn’t take it anymore and had some candy that my friends were eating on the snow day.”
Some have failed while others are succeeding in their quests for a 40-day period of penance.
Notably, there are two things missing from this list: ramen noodles and granola bars. Why? Because even in their religious devotion, these students can recognize it would be best not to mess with the two food items that keep them alive.
Whether or not these students succeed or fail in their Lenten quests, it’s pretty admirable that they even attempted to forfeit something like chocolate for 40 days.
To even think of that idea is superhuman.