This blog is part of the Alumni Week 2021 Collection! Written by Maryrose Doucette, NET Alumnus 2015-17.
1) Keep a morning routine
It is so easy, when coming off of the intensity of NET, to “crash and burn” and lose all routine. Give yourself rest- you don’t have to keep up the same pace as NET- but do keep getting up at the same time every day. Set aside time for personal prayer, even if for 20 minutes! The beautiful thing about being a student is that you do have a lot of control over your schedule, so you can create a routine that works for you. And there is a real peace in sticking to that.
2) Offer your schoolwork as prayer
St Josemaria Escriva said that “an hour of study, for a modern apostle, is an hour of prayer”. Try offering each project, paper or assignment as a conscious prayer for a specific intention! On days that I had a lot of work to do, I used to set timers and offer each hour of work for a specific intention. Not only does it add prayer throughout your whole day, it also adds extra motivation to your schoolwork, when you’re offering it for someone else.
3) Pray the rosary on the way to class
I realize that most classes are online right now, so maybe the equivalent is to at least take a screen break for a decade of the rosary. But some of my most fruitful prayer times used to be when I would choose to pray a rosary on the way to class rather than listen to music. This is also a great way to get into a habit of a daily rosary, when it’s attached to an action that you’re already doing!
4) Try daily mass
If your campus or a nearby parish has daily Mass, see if it fits into your schedule even a few days a week! Most noon masses are very short- even 25 minutes- because they know that people have work and school to get back to. Once you start attending daily Mass, it will be hard to stop- it is such a refuge of peace during a busy day. (Even during lockdown, if that is your scenario, many churches have been open for private prayer during lunch hour. Call and ask!)
5) Find community!
Do you have a Newman Centre, a CCO team, or a Catholic chaplaincy? Getting into the habit of attending weekly prayer nights or faith studies will provide community and accountability. It’s one thing to start skipping your personal prayer, it’s another when people start wondering why you haven’t shown up in a few weeks! Be proactive and find yourself a community that will keep you connected to Christ even when school stress and other concerns start filling in.
Maryrose Doucette is from Peterborough, ON. She was on NET from 2015-2017: in Swift Current, SK for her first year, and travelling for her second year. She just graduated from St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto with a Bachelor’s degree in Christianity and Culture and Medieval Studies, and is preparing to get married in August!