For me, perseverance has been continuing along the path of learning despite the challenges and difficulties. I have worked to develop four actions into habits during this semester to help build perseverance:
- Conscious Prayer: In a normal semester, I, like many other college students, would try to find a prayer routine. It would be easier to see a 30-minute gap between classes as a time to go sit in a chapel for quiet prayer. Now a lot of that could be lost. A 30-minute break from online classes is enough time to do a chore at home, turn in an assignment, or simply take a break. But still, these can be good times for intentional prayer. For me, having a prayer space that is different from my school space has helped me stay rooted in prayer.
- Physical Activity: For some students, getting physical activity is easy—it’s part of their daily routine. For others, like myself, I have to remind myself almost daily of its importance. It’s like Newton’s First Law: an object at rest is more likely to stay at rest and an object in motion is more likely to stay in motion. When I sit all day, I’m tired earlier and less productive later. But some physical activity in that late afternoon really provides me a burst of energy for the rest of the day. Going for a walk, throwing a frisbee or football, or really anything to get the blood flowing has been immensely beneficial for helping me persevere.
- Set Reasonable Goals for Yourself: We all can be victims of the to-do list. Writing down everything that we need to get done feels good initially, but then the pressure is to get it all done at once. I easily fall into this trap of just wishing I could get everything done at once. However, the times when I set a reasonable goal (either for a time block or for a day) help me feel less overwhelmed and more able to tackle one thing at a time. By helping me focus and not getting too overwhelmed, setting reasonable goals for myself has helped me persevere.
- Ask for Help: In this semester with so many difficulties, professors understand that there are many challenges for students too. If you’re struggling with the material in a class, ask to have a meeting or office hour with the professor. From my experience, professors ultimately want you to learn and understand when you need further help with learning. My university also has other resources like academic advising and the counseling center which both can still be utilized virtually to help students persevere through the challenges.
Ultimately, I hope to continue building upon these four actions for the rest of the semester to help strengthen my perseverance and to experience more highs than lows from this abnormal time. To help motivate me to keep going day after day in classes, I wrote this quote above my desk:
“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring” – St. Catherine of Siena
For more resources to grow spiritually during the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here.