It’s My Last Summer Before I Graduate, And I’m Not Slowing Down

It’s My Last Summer Before I Graduate, And I’m Not Slowing Down

Nobody ever wants to grow up, but I can’t sit there and not continue to grow.

Last year, I wrote an article all about the typical college student’s experience during the month of April. Finals are coming, you’re typically packing up your dorm, and if you’re lucky, you’ve secured a summer job or internship for the summer.

Well now, last year feels like yesterday, and this time I’m about to go into my last summer vacation before I graduate. In just a few short months, I’ll be entering the world of people who yell at the idiots who make rush-hour traffic even worse and finding out how to pay for my contact lenses like a real adult. Sounds delightful, eh?

I’m very lucky because I don’t have to pack up and move home this time, and I’m even luckier because I’ve secured an internship that I’m really excited about. I don’t have to worry about classes this time or if I’ll be home before it’s late enough for me to get in trouble. However, I’m going to miss certain parts of my old college summer experience. Let me tell you how summers have typically gone since I graduated high school, and why I can’t slow down:

My first semester of college was actually in the summer. I moved into one of the nicest dorms on campus, met my first roommate, and got to get a sense of the look and feel of my campus just a little bit early. I only took two classes, I didn’t have a job, and I had more time on my hands then I knew what to do with.

Then my freshman year officially started in the fall, and within a blink of an eye, it was over, and summer - round two started. I didn’t have a car, so my mom picked me up like a kindergartener who couldn’t wait to go home and snuggle in her own bed. That was me. I was ready to move out of my tiny dorm and have a little space to myself for a little while. I came home and went back to my high school job as a hostess at a beach cafe. It felt so amazing to come home and feel like nothing had changed. My job was the same, I was in my own environment back home, and I didn’t have a care in the world. The familiar was comforting.

But I knew I was going to have to go back to school (because being a hostess wasn’t my personal destiny), and I had to learn how to make something of myself. I started my sophomore year, became engulfed in my sorority, and officially got into the Mass Communications program at my school. I even got to move into my first “apartment." It was on campus, so it was barely an excuse for one, but hey, I had a door that I could close and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to claim that sad excuse for a room as my own.

Everything seemed to be going right.

The second year passed, and it was time to move out again. This time, I was super excited to be starting at an internship that was actually relevant to my career choice. I moved to Miami and lived what I hoped was going to be the life of “future me” not too long from then. I dressed up, went to a cool office every day, worked with amazing people, and learned more than I could ever hope to. My first internship was probably better than anyone else’s I had talked to, and it set the bar extremely high for everything else I did thereafter. That summer was my first taste of the “real world.”

I was living a fast-paced, career-focused life that I loved, and I haven’t slowed down since.

I went back to school, skipping a full year with previously earned credits, and jumped into my senior year, where I am right now. I decided not to take on a new internship in the fall, and my summer internship sponsors were gracious enough to let me work remotely to continue gaining industry-relevant experience. I focused on major-specific only courses, worked two jobs, and kept my mind in the same fast-paced and goal-oriented mindset it had been trained to perform in all summer.

Fall turned to spring and I took on yet another internship, learning more and more each week, all while working two other jobs. I still went to class, I served an executive position in my sorority, and kept the momentum not only steady, but growing. And now, it’s almost done. Spring is about to turn to summer, and I’m looking back at everything my college years have given me because in a few short months, I’ll be on to the next.

So now I start planning for the lasts summer I’ll ever get to claim as a college student. I’ll work, i’ll play, and I’ll learn. But one thing is absolute, I won’t be slowing down, because i wouldn’t be where I am today if I had said I would at any earlier point. I won’t slow down, because life doesn’t have a pause button and only those who continue learning their entire lives truly understand how the world around us is changing. They evolve with the times and are less likely to become irrelevant and unemployable by age 50.

I won’t slow down, and neither should you.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.


Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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To The High School Senior Nearing The End Of This Chapter, Feel Free To Look Back

Trust me, you're going to want to.


Right now you can't wait to leave. You can't wait for that fresh start, new friends, independence… the list is never-ending. But coming from someone two years removed from high school, please take it all in. Take in those last goofy times in class. All those fun car rides in the middle of the night with your friends where you laugh so hard you cry. Spending all day long with the friends you've known your whole life… remember how it feels in your heart. Enjoy graduation and take lots of pictures. Remember to always remain in the moment during all of these events. Don't let anything ruin it for you. That carefree feeling you have right now and will continue to have this summer will pass whether you believe it or not. Adulthood crawls in quicker than you think…

You will be left with the memories of what was, never to see or speak to so many people you once genuinely had so much fun with. High school is such a unique experience and I believe many of us take it granted because it is a necessity. We look at it as a chore because of mundane things like it being boring and having to wake up so early. In the moment we fail to see how fun it actually was. It is often only afterward that we realize just what we really had in those 4 years. Admittedly, I never thought I missed much of anything about high school, and I especially never thought I would. But here I am, two years later and I'm just realizing how easy I had it. High school was hard, but when I say the real world is harder, please take my words to heart. I am a firm believer that high school, in general, is a massive bubble.

Not to say that the bubble is bad. But the bubble will break, and it's more jarring to some than others. So don't let it impact you in a negative way, be prepared for its impact and conquer it! My point is, know that high school is not supposed to be the best four years of your life, but it is a time of your life where most people have the least worries, and that is something you can't get back. Worries and stress are subjective, so of course, we all thought our lives were over multiple times in high school, but we shortly realized that was not the case.

Your last teenage years should be taken in stride. Don't wish them away for older age, enjoy them. You'll never get them back, so you might as well stay in the moment.

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