As the winter semester ends, we are presented with a difficult decision. Do we continue on a never-ending path of knowledge during the summer or enjoy some time off? Do we wish to succumb to our ideals or take time for ourselves? In my mind, summer is a season that is synonymous with vacation. I grew up in the U.S. public education system, where when May comes around, students rejoice knowing that for the next three months there will be no expectations or deadlines related to mathematics or Shakespeare.
I see it as a tradition at this point and suggest others take their summers off as well. Summer is an exceptional time for leading a healthier life, whether it be through sleeping long nights or having the time to focus on a hobby. Binge-watch that series you keep saying you’ll finish or start painting with Bob Ross. That dream career won’t change drastically just because you spent a few weeks focusing on your own happiness.
Although taking some time for yourself may seem like a waste at first, mental health is extremely important and should be prioritized whenever possible. The stresses of taking multiple classes cannot be understated – further education is a brain drain, as much as we might get used to it. Some people function better with a schedule, and more power to them if so, but I’d imagine many students find themselves thinking, ‘Will this hardship and suffering ever end?’ In order to stay driven in school, it’s important to recharge yourself academically so that you can head into the next semester with full motivation. It’s common to feel energy start to deplete near the end of a semester, and you don’t want to start the next one already lacking it.
Of course, a lot of students still have jobs, so not all responsibilities are out the window like in grade school. Working during a summer with no classes can essentially be seen as a preview to the world after college, a world where the only hours you need to spend being productive are the hours that you’re at work. The rest can be distributed among your hobbies, exercise or some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Go back to feeling like a kid and sleep in this May instead of toiling day and night for a version of you that’s just not around yet. When the fall semester comes, you’ll be rejuvenated and refreshed.