_DSC0029The holiday season is upon us and this brings many of us a lot of cheer. As exams finish up, snow is frosted everywhere covering the ground and we feel the weight being lifted from our shoulders as we begin to trek home to our family and friends. For me, this is a time of relaxation and letting go of the stresses that came with my previous semester, however, none of this comes without the hectic schedules of the holidays. I know fully well the struggles that can endure during a semester, letting academics creep up into our constant thoughts and actions. So, once break comes, I can re-energize myself by taking a hiatus from school and finally focus on myself and those around me.

Looking back at my past few semesters, I was the student who became completely overwhelmed with my academic and club load, making it difficult for me to really focus on anything else. I mean, who has time to give back to others in the community when so much more is on our plate? How can I manage to include service in my daily life and not only just go through the motions but actually be present? How can I be better to myself in the midst of all this as well?

The holiday season seems like the perfect time to do so. It is filled with selfless love— the love that Jesus has for us and the love that we give to others through holiday fundraisers and activities—and we are reminded of the act of giving in our lives. It is a time to reflect, be with loved ones, and fully give of ourselves to those in need. But, why is it just in this time when we mostly give back? Sure, holiday cheer is a great reason, but why just now? Why can we not give more of ourselves all the time?

In the midst of our busy lives, we get caught up in going through the motions and forget to just be. Through the hustle and bustle of a school year, we need to ask ourselves how we can balance our lives in order to give more all year round, instead of just in the Advent season. Although I was giving of myself in semesters before, I was not fully present and not giving my full self to those around me. An important way to give your full self is through balancing your life. Sometimes you need to take a break from the busyness in your life. Maybe this includes doing a work out, catching up with a friend, volunteering at the local kids club, or even joining a new club. There are many ways in which we can give more just by being intentional. By giving more of ourselves, we in turn give more to others.

In order to truly give more and be authentically giving, you must be present and aware. We tend to fall asleep in the midst of our busy lives. God does not wish this for us. We must not only fully give when on break or when we have a week of school free of exams and papers. This must be all the time. I challenge you to focus and center yourself during this Advent season in order to come back recharged and rejuvenated for the new year, ready to completely give of yourself in all that you wish. Give more of yourself every day, but especially in Advent. Use the Advent season to discover ways that you can give more, in all aspects possible.

oliviaOlivia Daley is a senior from Indianapolis, IN majoring in Psychology and minoring in Theology and Gender and Diversity Studies. She loves going to the movies, having deep conversations, and laughing with her friends.