College graduation signifies many new opportunities and life changes, which can be equally daunting and exciting. Attempting to figure out what one’s life is meant to look like after Loras College is overwhelming to say the least, not to mention trying to live according to one’s values in the face of major change can seem unworthy of time. However, even though nonviolence and sustainability can be difficult to live in daily practice, being intentional about choices and lifestyles allows oneself to live in better harmony with humanity and creation.
Various aspects of American culture, like individualism, have made it so that this type of conscientiousness seems pointless and counterintuitive to social and economic mobility that classifies the “American Dream.” In deliberately choosing ethically produced consumer goods, renewable resources, or peacemaking strategies and saying “no” to typical methods of approaching conflict, consumerism, and environmental issues, people are seen as “alternative” or “counter-cultural” instead of just following their conscience.
This often happens when good intentioned people are seen by the majority as “going against the grain.” This can heap even more difficulty on a person, but it also allows for a personal and spiritual transformation that is worth it. As the class of 2018 heads off to follow their own paths of peace, whatever that may look like for each person, here are some (hopefully) helpful tips to implement as we head off from Loras College.
1. Spend some time working on self-discovery. Devote energy into attempting to make your life what you want it to look like in the upcoming months. Do you want to reduce your plastic consumption? How can you use more sustainable products in your home? Do you want to walk more instead of drive?
2. Implement little steps to actualize these aspirations. Put money aside to buy one nice Fair Trade item, that you know will last a long time. Go without plastic straws, or buy a reusable metal one. When using your car, make the most out of one trip or car pool!
3. Realize that you cannot do it all. Our lives are situated in unjust and unequal structures, that is just a fact. However, that doesn’t mean that we just give up because we can’t be completely sustainable or peaceful all the time. It does mean that you need to take the best steps for yourself, to live in right relationship with others and the earth- whatever that looks like- without being complacent.
4. Share what you’re passionate about and what your goals are with others. Creating a community of those who support you is SO important, and people who care about you will care about the steps you are taking to better your life!