Don’t make your life harder than it needs to be

Veronica Novotny

What a semester! I, for one, am so grateful to have spent it on campus with all of you.

As always, there have been many learning curves. We learned how to use Catertrax, how to spend all of our time outside and, most impressively, how to fit 10 household members at a picnic table with a maximum capacity of four (sorry, administration).

Here are a few other non-academic lessons I’ve learned over the course of this wild semester:

You never have too little time to make the time to pray. If you like to think of yourself as close to Jesus, then get to the chapel at least once a day for at least 15 minutes. It’s just 1% of your day, given uninterrupted to the one who made you.

Spend at least five of those minutes in interior silence, letting God speak to you, or just look at you, or do whatever he wants. It’s hard, and I don’t do it all that much, either. Let’s do better together.

Study for the open note exams. Trust me, you still need to.

Do as much reading as you can, but don’t kill yourself over it.

Let yourself take a few days of rest when you need it, and bounce back refreshed to keep holding yourself to that high standard. Don’t just give yourself a “study break” that turns into a month. Not that I would ever do that …

Figure out your priorities. For me, that’s God first, family second, personal health third and school fourth, followed by friends and extracurriculars.

Decide what you need and stick to it. Do you desperately need eight hours of sleep tonight? Prioritize getting to bed a little early. Does this assignment need to be done soon? Do it right now. Do you need a break to be with friends? Don’t flake on plans because you’re stressed out.

Reach out and make plans with the people who are important to you, before you both get caught up in the ups and downs of the semester and end up rescheduling five times.

Don’t overshare. Seriously. Keep healthy boundaries in your relationships.

Apologize quickly when you’ve made a mistake. Don’t talk to your friends, household, acquaintances, carpool, confessor, spiritual director and therapist first. An apology is way more effective when it is immediate.

Respect our university enough to follow the rules they set. It’s hard to withhold from visiting your friends in their dorms. I get it. It’s also hard to break the rules without getting caught, and to explain to your parents that the $20 fine on your student account is because you couldn’t be bothered to put on a mask for the 30 seconds it takes to walk from your room to the piazza.

I saw something on social media the other day that said “choose your hard.” Following the rules is hard, and getting caught for breaking them is hard. Choose your hard.

Doing your homework is hard, but dealing with bad grades is also hard. Choose your hard.

Praying is hard, but being apart from God is even worse. Don’t make your life harder than it needs to be.