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What The Season of Lent Has Taught Me

Being a Catholic woman in college has its challenges—as does practicing any religion in college. It is very easy to become consumed with the secular college life and not budget enough time to worship and pray. The season of Lent centers around sacrifice and self-growth. Naturally, this is my absolute favorite part of the year. There is nothing I love more than reflecting on my past mistakes and improving. The season of Lent comes to an end about a week before Easter Sunday on Palm Sunday, but I keep my fast until Easter morning.

The objective of giving up for Lent is centered on giving up something you cannot live without. You give something up to better yourself and give yourself more time and desire to worship. This year, I gave up coffee— something I drink way too much of and absolutely cannot live without—or so I thought. Although it might seem trivial, giving up coffee taught me a lot about myself and helped me see how damaging my bad habit was to myself and those around me. Before Lent, I would drink about six to seven cups of coffee a day.

I knew many of the issues that the excessive coffee intake was causing. I was aware that my inability to sleep and a vicious cycle of poor sleeping and exhaustion during the day were primarily attributed to the amount of coffee I drank. I would crash at the end of my days and have to keep drinking coffee to avoid this crash. Additionally, I was more aggressive and anxious during this time before lent. I also reduced my appetite, as coffee is a natural appetite suppressant.

During the season of Lent, I learned all of the other effects coffee had on my health. Once I cut out coffee, I began to feel better all around. For starters, I drank more water which gave me a lot more energy. I also stopped using coffee as a meal replacement and began to feel hungry once again. I started to eat full meals and focus on getting more exercise and sleep to feel more energized.

More profoundly than that, my Lenten fast has also helped me feel more connected with my spirituality. I prayed my daily prayers and prayers for strength to get through this time without coffee. I prayed for people around me who were also going through hard times- whether or not they were fasting. I began to focus more on being introspective and more empathetic by listening to others and learning more about how I can support others.

Lent is a time to grow and reflect more than any other during the Christian calendar, it is a season devoted to personal growth and sacrifice. I never realized how many negative traits came from my coffee obsession. I was more aggressive while drinking the amount of coffee I was and more dehydrated. I learned a lot about self-control and discipline, which is ultimately the takeaway from lent. I will more than likely go back to drinking coffee, but not in the excessive amounts I used to.

I feel stronger from this experience, as there were many days that I felt exhausted and needed a cup of coffee to get by. I could get through significant events like midterms, and my thesis defense without coffee taught me how strong and devoted I am. Midterms especially hit hard, but I was able to prioritize my health and make sure I got enough to sleep before so that I would not need coffee.

To say that Lent is having a difficult time is a gross understatement. Fasting is challenging for everyone, no matter the reason you do it. I was giving up something I love as much as coffee made me stronger.
I am looking forward to coming out of lent less dependent on it than before. I hope to stick to minimal amounts and keep taking care of myself as I have been.

Julia Fuchs

Rutgers '22

Julia is a senior at Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences. Academically, she is interested in Egyptian archaeology and art history. Outside of classes Julia loves fashion, coffee, art, music and is a dedicated feminist! Her Campus is a way for her to combine all of her interests in a journalistic setting, and an organization she loves being a part of!
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