Confusion Corner: Slummin in the summertime

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August 27, 2010

1:07 AM

Ah, summertime. Three months of school-free, sunny bliss, full of ungodly amounts of time spent poolside, at the beach and sleeping in. A carefree and worry-free season during which we, as college students, can re-energize for the coming year and be the lazy human beings we are meant to be. At least that is what summertime is supposed to be. Judging, however, from what I’ve heard from people now back at school, none of us experienced this fairytale of a summer. Instead, summers were spent at full-time jobs, multiple part-time jobs, summer classes, research or studying for MCATs, LSATs and GREs. Many of my friends were actually busier, and more frantic, during their summer vacations than they were during the school year itself.

While these tales of woe echo many reports detailing the overscheduled lives of our generation, one can’t help but wonder if we could actually be happy doing nothing, nadda, zilch. I’m beginning to wonder. The general consensus seems to be that constant motion and busy schedules are the only ways to avoid boredom and insanity during breaks from school. It seems as though our hectic lives during the school year make it impossible for us to slow down, even when we aren’t at school. As a result, the rare mornings when I wake up and think, “I have absolutely nothing to do today,” leave me in a minor state of panic.

Consequently, my next step is to formulate a game plan for the coming day. Even if it is only made up of showering, reading and walking my dog, for some reason this seems necessary. Heaven forbid I am left for 20 minutes with nothing to do. I could spontaneously combust. But I wouldn’t know, since I have yet to risk it.

One pastime I successfully engaged in this summer was reading for fun. Reading for pleasure during the school year is virtually impossible, so I generally try to take advantage of breaks to catch up on it. This summer, however, I was supercharged with the need to read. This can only be explained by the fact that if I had not been reading, I would have felt obligated to study for the GRE. Which would you choose? I managed to read 13 books over the course of the summer. As for the GRE? I read the introduction chapter of the study book, so you can’t say I didn’t try.

As a senior, I also became increasingly, even painfully, aware of the fact that this could be my last “summer.” The summer season will always occur, of course — even without global warming, which could make summer a year-long extravaganza — yet it is easy to forget that the majority of the working world works year round. You heard me right: They work all year long — no month-long winter break or three-month summer vacation. I am not at all happy about this realization, and it is because of this that I have decided to prolong my schooling as long as possible. Once I have attained every possible degree, I plan on becoming a professor. Even if I spend my school year overscheduled and stressed, summer vacations are non-negotiable. After all, someone has to keep public libraries in business.

__Emily Walker is a Confusion Corner columnist. She plans to spend every summer available doing as little as possible.__

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