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Some Ohio State students give up 1st-world luxuries during Lent

Courtesy of MCT

Some students are sleeping on the floor and swearing off texting in observance of the Christian season of Lent.
Lent, a six-week period of solemn observance in some Christian denominations in preparation for Easter, drew commitments from the Catholic population at OSU. It’s custom for many Christians to either commit to doing good deeds or abstain from a vice.
Christine Patella chose to make a more unconventional Lenten sacrifice this year.
Patella, a Catholic fourth-year in medical dietetics and iPhone owner, ceased all text messaging, despite her seeming reliance on technology.
“It was one of those things that I was spending way too much time on,” Patella said. “But it wasn’t something I needed to function in my daily life.”
Patella said her friends and family, many of whom are also practicing Catholics, have struggled to adjust to her sacrifice, but she said she has enjoyed the freedom of an empty inbox.
“I’ve actually really liked it, because it’s forced me to talk to more people on the phone and in class I pay attention a lot more,” Patella said. “But (my friends) are really annoyed by it. They just get really frustrated because they’re like, ‘You’re so hard to get a hold of,’ and email me instead, expecting to get a hold of me right away.”
Patella also nixed sweets from her diet, which she said her roommate, Steph Shoenfelt, has made difficult because she “eats a lot of foods.”
When the urge for a sweet snack is particularly strong, Patella said she turns to prayer to satisfy physical cravings.
Shoenfelt, a Catholic and third-year in public affairs, traveled to Africa this past summer to work with impoverished orphans. She said seeing children sleep on concrete floors inspired her to give up her bed for Lent.
“I remember thinking to myself that I could never do that. And as college kids, we love our sleep, so I thought it would be a good thing to give up,” Shoenfelt said. “I’ve just been hanging out on my floor for all of Lent, and it’s raised my awareness of other people’s sufferings and their needs, and realizing how blessed we really are to have the things that we do.”
As far as sweets in the household, however, she agrees she has not made resisting temptation easy on her roommate.
“My mom sent me a box of Easter candy, so I just put it all around the house,” Shoenfelt said. “She’s like, ‘Why are you doing this to me? I can’t eat any of it.'”
Sean Jepsen, a Catholic and second-year in finance and international business, said he chose to set aside time to regularly read the Bible for this year’s Lent.
“I’d read the Bible a lot of times, but I hadn’t really held myself accountable to that,” Jepsen said. “And that actually was a huge struggle for me, making time to do that, but overall I feel like I’ve grown tremendously.”
He also made it a point to remain involved with OSU’s Newman Center. Jepsen held a leadership position during a recent Buckeye weekend retreat, which he said has kept him close to fellow Catholics in the community.
But whether OSU’s Catholic students pushed themselves to give more time to God, fasted for a specific food or gave up a material item, many share a commonality despite any struggles: personal growth.
“It’s not about how much you give up, it’s about where you are and where you want to be,” Jepsen said.
Lent began Ash Wednesday on Feb. 13. Easter is Sunday.

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