|photo by: Matt Rourke
PHILADELPHIA — Looking for a wild-and-crazy time at college? Don’t sign up for Justin McDaniel’s religious studies class.
The associate professor’s course on monastic life and asceticism gives students at the University of Pennsylvania a firsthand experience of what it’s like to be a monk.
At various periods during the semester, students must forego technology, coffee, physical human contact and certain foods. They’ll also have to wake up at 5 a.m. — without an alarm clock.
That’s just a sample of the restrictions McDaniel imposes in an effort to help students become more observant, aware and disciplined. Each constraint represents an actual taboo observed by a monastic religious order.