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Students renounce vices for Lent

Beginning Mar. 9, Mills College students may have started denying themselves coffee, cigarettes and candy for forty days.

Why? For Lent, a Christian observance of sacrifice and reflection that encompasses the time period leading up to Easter.

This year Lent is from Mar. 9 until Apr. 23. Some students said they want to give up things to benefit their health such as cigarettes, sweets, ice cream and alcohol. Whether or not someone is renouncing a vice for religious reasons, some students say Lent is a good opportunity to test oneself and determine the bounds of willpower and self-determination.

“I hear people say ‘I’m going to give up chocolate,’ which could be a good thing, and cigarettes, which could also be a good thing,” said Laura Engelken, director of Spiritual and Religious Life. “It’s a long time period that can help you create new healthy habits.”

Sophomore Ashley Garcia is planning on switching up her diet by giving up sugar.

“I’m thinking [of giving up] sweets, but I’m not sure,” said sophomore Ashley Garcia. “ I’m not particularly religious, but I do it just to push myself.”

Garcia also claimed to having a decent track record in upholding previous Lent decisions.

“In the fourth grade, I gave up video games and it worked out well,” Garcia said. “I was stoked to play again!”

First year Maggie Cummins also tried giving up the popular activity for Lent when she was younger. She wasn’t as successful, however. 

“One year I tried to give up video games. I failed within two days,” Cummins said. 

Still, Cummins said she wasn’t always unsuccessful.

Cummins said that when she was younger she would often select candy to deprive herself of during Lent, solely because she never ate it that much anyways.

However, there are those who reject the basic notion of Lent altogether.

Junior Duciana Thomas is one of these people.

“Personally, I feel that Lent asks you to sacrifice to prove yourself,” Thomas said. “But not eating sweets or not indulging myself won’t make me better or worse.”

Ultimately, Thomas feels that depriving herself of that which she loves will not do anything to benefit anyone.

“Maybe if I donated my leftovers or really immersed myself in a less privileged world but [fasting] isn’t really for society,” Thomas said.

Engelken agreed that Lent doesn’t always have to be about deprivation, instead adding new habits.

“I recommend to people to add something for Lent instead of giving something up such as five minutes of meditation or going for a walk everyday,” Engelken said. “If there’s something that you feel you want to do and that’s good for you, I say go for it. Allow yourself compassion.”