Whether you are working, taking classes or just trying to recharge before you have to go back to regular life, summer break can be overwhelming. Regardless of your situation, exhausting or stagnating yourself mentally cannot be making you happy. And while you might get weekends off, giving you some sort of relief two out of seven days, a small part of you is just simply tired of existing. I know I am.
As someone who studies so far away from home, I'm used to switching lifestyles at least a couple times a year. Through this experience, if there's one thing I have learned is that I always romanticize the living condition that I am estranged from. When I'm in the States, I often find myself thinking about how much better it is at home because I'm constantly cared for and don't have to be responsible for most of the things that stress me out when I'm away.
I don't have to worry about doing my laundry, running out of toilet paper or doing the dishes. Most importantly, I don't have to cook for myself! That makes a huge difference to my summer schedule since I try to stay healthy during this time of the year, as opposed to the usual fast food dependency that sustains me for weeks when college is in session.
This is also one of the reasons summer is so important to me, it's like a mental as well as a physical cleanse. However, after only a couple days of being home, I crave even the mundane day to day activities of my life here, just the freedom to determine how I spend my time even if it involves strenuous tasks.
The summer of 2018 is the first one I have spent away from my hometown (which for me is Mumbai, India) and it's hard for me to establish a structured daily routine since I don't have as much academic responsibility as I am used to nor do I have the supervision and constrictions that come with living with my family. As a result, I tend to get anxious and uncomfortable with myself every now and then.
Naturally, when I was offered the option to go away from Stony Brook, I immediately accepted it because I knew an escape was necessary for me to feel at ease. To my surprise, being away not only allowed for rejuvenation but also gave me the opportunity to appreciate the kind of life I have. The trivial things that can be taken for granted and don't really come to mind when you count your blessings get highlighted more and more each passing moment. The thought of having a place to go back to is such a warm feeling and something I would not have fully understood if I didn't get to take the time away.
We as a species are reachers: we are always trying to accomplish things that are at least slightly out of our range. I personally believe that we need to feel unsatisfied as a survival instinct, on an evolutionary scale, because if we are fully mentally satiated, we won't feel the need to exist anymore.
One can love things they have but never as much as they want the things they don't and that's why taking a break from regular life is so important because when you're away is the only time you can fall in love with the little things that you so easily overlook every day.
The "I'm coming home" feeling always gives one a sense of unparalleled relief, even if it is from the luxuries of a five star hotel by the beach. In fact, it doesn't even have to be something extravagant. For a day or two, maybe just an area code away, some time off could do wonders for your mind's health!