Be a maverick: take up something for Lent


Lent is that 40 day period of the year when we are encouraged to give up some of our favourite things. Chocolates, coffee, crisps and TV are some reoccurring favourites; the ones people automatically think of. But how about giving up plastic for 40 days? So no plastic bags, wrapping plastic or anything like that. Tricky.

Or how about not giving anything up for Lent? How about taking on something new that you would never normally do? When I was at school our Chaplin (yes, I went to a very Christian school) told us that there were two types of people when it comes to the 40 days of Lent. There are those who fall into the category called GUS and those who are TOMs (and I am sorry girls that we get referred to as boys). GUS stands for give up something and TOMs are people who take on more. For years I was a GUS, dutifully giving up my precious chocolate bars and crisps but in recent years I’ve become a TOM. As a TOM you can do all sorts of weird and wonderful things. I’ve challenged myself to write a short story every night, to keep a diary (which failed miserably) and do more exercise (also failed miserably). You can do anything as a TOM and you still get to eat chocolate, which is a big bonus when you’ve done something good.

This year I am taking up the challenge to get through Catch-22 in Lent. It’s been sat on my bookshelf for months and finally I’m going to read it. If books aren’t your thing then you could always take up a new hobby or something like that. If you are really struggling for ideas then this might something you can have a go at for Lent.

Peter Burkimsher has made it his ambition to feed 5000 people during Lent. Not all by himself, obviously. But it’s not a bad idea. I asked him what the motivation was behind the idea and he said that it was about “meeting people and getting to know them”. You can feed anybody. Someone from your course, a society you belong to, a flatmate or someone who lives down the street, anyone who looks hungry and could do with a good meal inside them. And you don’t have to do a big three course meal either. “Any form of food will do,” says Peter, “Takeaway, a home cooked meal, coffee”. Sounds easy really. But for Peter’s idea to work 360 people need to pledge to feed one person once a week for seven weeks. One meal a week isn’t as bad as giving up chocolate and there is a great opportunity to get to know someone better. It’s not part of a national organization or anything like that, it’s just one student wanting to encourage people to do something different and become more culturally aware of the people around them.

If this sounds like something you want to do during Lent then go to and make your pledge. Do something different this Lent, feed someone else. It beats giving up chocolate any day.

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