There is something that connects all those without a full time job. Three months of the year stand out in particular, uniting brace faces and college students alike. That’s right--summer. Whether your break begins in May and lasts until August, or you don’t get out until June and return in September, the summer months are of utmost importance. The biggest reason why? Without slaving 8 hours of your day away at an institution (eh-hem, school), the world really is your oyster. But over the course of your three months some very interesting stages occur. I think you’ll know them all too well.
- The Countdown. While this isn’t exactly a stage of summer, it is the prologue. We’ve all imagined our lives like in High School Musical 2, counting down, “summer, summer, summer,” until the school bell rings and you throw your papers up in the air. For the college student, this moment is a little different. It happens after your last final when you’re tucking the very last box into your car, ready to drive away. That moment, whatever it may be to you, is an ode to yourself, your fellow comrades, and ultimately, those professors you’ll never have to see again. Be free, my friends.
- The Freedom Ride. Your ride home from campus is as calming as it is invigorating. There is nothing you can’t do at this moment! You’re invincible, and no matter how old you get, the chorus of “no more teachers, no more books,” plays in your head like a sweet, sweet anthem. If you haven’t started college yet, your final ride home from school pretty much feels the same way, right?
- The Invincible Phase: An Extension of the Freedom Ride. You get home and you’re on top of the world. What are you going to do? You could microwave 50 Tostino’s Pizza Rolls or eat ice cream with Poptarts on top. You could go on a drive to the shore, have a sleepover with friends, start that new book you’ve been waiting to read, anything at all. The possibilities are truly endless in this situation. But with choice comes great responsibility. So what usually ends up happening is nothing. Nothing at all. You sit at home on Netflix binge watching your favorite TV shows until the wee hours of the night (or morning).
- The Summer Routine. At this point, you’re well within the summer limits. Summer feels normal to you; your routine of getting up hours after the sun rises isn’t anything new. Your laziness no longer feels like a rebellious act, but is instead routine. You’re used to seeing your friends and deciding to have a spontaneous sleepover, or swimming in the pool from breakfast until dusk. Even the beach, the one place you long for all year round, feels like it would on any other day. This part of summer is most definitely prime. You’re in your groove, and nothing can stop you. Unless…
- Boredom. Shear and utter boredom occurs, because honestly, how much of nothing can you possibly do? A few weeks of this lazy routine are fun and relaxing, but after awhile, you actually want to get your life back together. Summer is like a break with a significant other--it’s temporary, you participated in it for the rush of new feelings and possible change of heart, but at the end of it all, you’re ready to go back to them and settle in like normal.
- Longing. Unfortunately, it gets to the point where you’re so bored you’re forced to romanticize school. After months of doing absolutely nothing, the idea of school actually sounds interesting. So you find yourself looking out a car window dramatically and wishing you were with your friends, eating disgusting food and complaining about classes.
- The “Don’t Make Me Go,” Phase. Suddenly, summer is over. You have three days before classes start and you’re ready for the long haul back. At that point, you wish you were five years old so it’d be socially acceptable to have a tantrum and yell, “Don’t make me go!” But alas, you’re twenty years old, and that really does not fly anymore. How could you have possibly longed to return back to small dorm showers and no kitchen? This phase often brings doubt and self-anger, since you fooled yourself into wanting this lifestyle all along. But summer doesn’t last forever, and we know that fully well.
- The Summer in Review. How did it happen so quickly? Did I really make the most of my time? Of course, there’s always more that you could’ve done, there always is. But at the end of the day, you had an unforgettable summer. In fact, your summer was all your own, and there will never be another quite like it again.
So with the seasons, your life changes, and you change. You start a new year of education, you gain experience, and ultimately, you look forward to those warm months next year. Because three months of summer is what it’s all about.