by Natalie Yuhas
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which means it’s beginning to look a lot like finals season. The weeks leading up to Christmas break are some of the most stressful weeks of a college student’s career. I know my last couple of weeks have been some of the worst and most stressful ones yet and that the coming weeks of finals are going to be extremely demanding. When I am under a lot of stress and feel like life is overwhelmingly chaotic, I turn towards the serenity prayer. I first learned about this prayer on a retreat I went on during the summer before my junior year of high school, and I’ve been using it ever since.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
I can be a bit of a perfectionist and a control freak. Let’s just say that group projects are my worst nightmare. I have a really hard time accepting that many things are simply out of my power. This world is a crazy place. You will lose people you care about, there will be times when your friends disappoint or even hurt you, and sometimes you may completely bomb a quiz or assignment. That’s just life. Living in the past and beating yourself up over how things could have been different or should have been better will never help you move on or feel good about yourself. The only thing left to do is look forward to the future. Enjoy the people in your life while you can, forgive each other, and study for the next quiz earlier and more thoroughly. You can’t change the past, but you can change your attitude and refocus your present.
The courage to change the things I can,
It can be easy to turn a blind eye and leave responsibility to someone else. It’s easier to stay silent instead of arguing, especially when the people you don’t agree with are your friends. As the cliché goes, however, what is easy is not necessarily right. Take control and responsibility for your actions and stand up for what you believe in. Buckle down and prepare for finals, even though your motivation is severely lacking. Apologize when you mess up. Cut the bad habits that are hindering you from being the best you can be. Although there are parts of your life that are out of control, there are still many parts of it that you do have control over. It may be hard, but have the courage to take the initiative to better yourself, help others, or contribute back to your community.
And the wisdom to know the difference.
This is the toughest part for me. How do you know when it’s time to just give up and let things go? I’m the type of person who will be upset with myself later if I think that I didn’t do all I could to make things better, which often leads to me sticking my foot in my mouth, getting frustrated, or making things worse. When I am confused, I find that the best way to clear my head and figure out what I need to do (or not do) is to pray about it. I encourage you to use the serenity prayer when life gets overwhelming and confusing, especially during this stressful finals time. Take a deep breath and good luck!