Weeks before Easter Sunday came and went, I caught myself daydreaming about the holiday. While you may think that these daydreams consisted of marshmallow Peeps, pastel colored dresses and Easter egg hunts, you are wrong. In fact, the main thing I was looking forward to this past weekend, (besides maybe those chocolate covered eggs), was coffee. Warm, rich and most importantly caffeinated, coffee.
Like many other people, six weeks ago I decided to jump on the lent bandwagon. Although I am not Catholic, I found the challenge of giving something up for six weeks as an exciting and empowering experience. Given that I am a person who needs at least two cups of joe to get out of bed, I knew that giving up coffee would be the ultimate test of my willpower.
Within the first few hours of my coffee fast I struggled just to keep my eyes open. At the same time, my head was pounding, aching for it’s usual caffeine fix. To make matters worse, I had to walk by Jittery Joes to get to my 9 a.m. class. I have never been so tortured by such a warm and welcoming place; the hum of brewing Arabica beans and the delicious smell of roasting coffee were enough to put me over the edge.
Fortunately, as my coffee-free days drug on, I became more and more used to life without it. In fact, I started sleeping better and felt liberated without my dependence on it. Besides, there could be much harder things to give up for six weeks, right? Perhaps something like Facebook? Or maybe, makeup?
Those are exactly what Caroline Brown and Victoria Vasquez, two sophomores here at UGA, decided to give up for lent. When Caroline was deciding what to give up this year, she knew she wanted it to be a real sacrifice. This sacrifice proved to be life without Facebook. With Facebook such a part of her daily life, its absence greatly impacted her routine. Like many of us, Caroline was used to checking her account every day, multiple times a day; scanning pictures, reading posts and enjoying procrastination at it’s finest.
“I’ve felt really out of the loop in some aspects, but in a way it has also been very refreshing knowing that I have zero access to it,” she said about her experience.
Although she admits that it took much of her will power to resist her Facebook, she never logged on to her account. Even when she received important messages on her account, she refused to respond through Facebook.
“I have [had] to find other ways to communicate with people. For example, a high school girl e-mailed me about visiting Athens because she is considering UGA. I had to track down her cell number and text her back. It was a hassle considering I normally would just type up a response on Facebook”.
Despite all of the drawbacks of a Facebook free life, she learned a lot of valuable lessons. With its absence, Caroline realized the amount of time she spent using it and how much more she could be getting done. Without the distraction of the “News Feed” she wasted less time and became more productive. Although she enjoyed catching up on her account this past Sunday, she hopes that this experience has trained her to depend on Facebook less.
For Victoria Vasquez, giving up something for lent was a new challenge. By giving up make-up for six weeks she hoped to do more than just test the strength of her will power.
“I’ve been battling with an immense amount of insecurities, and have been trying to combat those problems this semester. I felt that giving up makeup was kind of part-self experiment/part self-challenge for myself to discover my true beauty,” she said about her experience.
Before Lent, Victoria woke up every day and put on make-up before class. Without it she enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in a little bit more before going to class. Although she says that her make-up free mornings felt awkward, it was refreshing for her to have more free time. Nonetheless, make-up free life was a challenge.
“It has been extremely difficult, because I have relied so heavily on makeup in the past, but it has also been extremely rewarding. I have learned so much about myself and what I find beautiful, and for that, there is nothing better.”
For Victoria, her clean-faced experiment ended up teaching her more than she could have imagined. Not only did many boys tell her that they didn’t notice any difference in her appearance, but she learned something more valuable about herself.
“For the longest time I thought that I was not beautiful without a smoky eye. Instead, I learned that sometimes a smoky eye really just looks like I got beat up, and can be less attractive than what I think. Most importantly though, I learned, and am still learning, about my inner beauty and how it can be seen from miles away, no make-up needed.”
Although Victoria, Caroline and I all gave up different things for lent, I know we can all agree on one thing. Material things, whether it be coffee, Facebook or make up, are insignificant in comparison to the valuable lessons that we can learn in their absence.