Środowisco: An Experiment in Intentionality



A phrase I often hear from friends and classmates is “I just have to survive until that exam/until I turn in that project/until the end of the week”. And then what? We survive our “hell week” of homework only to stare down another one. Like many of my classmates, I am incredibly guilty of using this phrase and developing the accompanying tunnel vision that comes with it. I let my workout routine slide, destroy my sleep schedule entirely, and stop making time to connect with my friends. There will always be another paper, project, or meeting. There won’t always be an opportunity to spend time in the company of those you love and to learn from them. As I begin my senior year, I can’t stop thinking about how finite our time is here and how many more moments I wish I would have spent truly embracing it.



I imagine most every senior is starting to feel this way, and a close friend of mine has decided to take action. She has set a goal to make everything she does this year more intentional and to engage more fully in her relationships. A big part of this effort will be hosting a weekly event which she is considering naming Środowisco. 

Środowisco is an opportunity to engage in fellowship and conversation about “life, love, school, God, the future,” or even just to do homework in the company of friends over wine (another potential name is wine night office hours, appropriately). The inspiration for instigating this kind of gathering was twofold. She grew very close with her roommates from her summer internship with whom she frequently engaged in deep soul-nourishing conversation, encouraging her to seek out this time to connect more deeply with her friends here at school. The other prompt was a visit to longtime friends of hers who implement the sentiment of Środowisco in their home. The family’s philosophy of creating this zone to facilitate bond formation is what encouraged the name.

For me, Środowisco is more than just making an effort to strengthen my relationships, but a wonderful opportunity to check in with myself. It challenges me to reflect on my own habits and actions more carefully, searching for places where I can and probably should be more intentional. This casual, laid-back environment will be a consistent and crucial reminder that I can and should take breaks and enjoy myself amidst all the stress. The flexibility and low commitment of Środowisco make it feel like a manageable addition to my schedule. Incorporating this community into my schedule will be a small but important victory over stress and a reminder of all of the blessings I’ve been given. I’m very excited to see these moments of fellowship come to life over the semester as we make a serious effort to prioritize not only our relationships but ourselves.

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Image 1, Image 2 was provided by the author