Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The Stages of Summer, as Told by a University Student (and HIMYM)

The Stages of Summer
A homage to summer, as told by a (somewhat dramatic) student who finds heat unbearable and doesn’t like making important decisions when “I’m on break!”

Stage 1: Satisfied 

Summer has started. Your exams are over. You rejoice the world around. You see heavens open up and you know, you just know, that all that those things you wanted to do during the school year but haven’t had the time to do will finally happen. High hopes and excitement are what surround you as you set out to read that book, watch that TV show, catch up with those friends, and plan that road trip.


Stage 2: Reality Sets In

It’s a week into summer. The weather is hot, too hot, hotter than you had planned for. The heat encompasses you and suddenly you no longer want to do anything but lay in your backyard and sleep in the sun. You know you need a good tan, especially since Mom hinted during finals that you should “probably stop wearing hoodies so much.” For once, Netflix can wait: it’s the sun you really want to keep you company.

People are starting to ask you what you’re doing with your summer. You had such a great plan for it the week before, but now you want more to tell people. A job? Do some academic research? Volunteering? The choices are limitless, but of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to choose. Stress slowly starts creeping up behind you, and since you just let it go, you’re not keen on addressing the issue anytime soon. So for now, you’ll cuddle with your cat Pickles on your deck with your super-cool sunglasses and hope you get at least a little bit of a tan.


Stage 3:  You Find Something to Do

It’s a month into summer, and you (for the most part) are settled into the daily grind of something, whether it’s going to work, volunteering, or actually watching all of the movies you’ve wanted to watch on Netflix. You’ve fallen into a routine and it feels good. Mainly because you don’t have to make a decision about what to do every day. You’ve found a good book to read, or a super-long TV series to watch in the evenings, and you finally have an answer to the question, “So, what are you doing this summer?”


Stage 4: Relapse

Your friend from last term’s “Intro to Statistics” class tells you about a super interesting course on comic books that you should take. You go on Beartracks and while looking for her recommendation, find a few other courses that get you excited. The result? Trying to reorganize your already flawless schedule to fit these new courses in. Next, you’re googling syllabuses. Can it be? Is it true? Do you want to…go back to school? (No, I didn’t intend for that to rhyme, but isn’t it much better that it does?)


You push the thought away from your mind because, no, it’s only June, and you really like how you’re summer’s going so far. But you can’t help it. Despite those courses you thought you’d never be able to get through, there’s still a lot of courses you’re looking forward to taking this year. You consider how not having a brain might be more relaxing, and are lost in your reverie for a while until Dad calls and asks what the plans for dinner are. Pizza? Pizza! It’s summer, after all.


Stage 5: It’s July

July is great for one reason: you’ll finally do most of what you wanted to do this summer. Road trips with friends, attending festivals around the city, cleaning out your closet (wherein your cat Pickles found one of his favourite mice that he lost about a year ago). You’ve never felt closer to your friends and family, and the new people you’ve met at your job and volunteering are pretty awesome as well.


But July is also not the greatest for one reason: you’re only doing all of these things, now, because it’s the second last month of summer. You’re halfway through. If you don’t finish what you’ve planned for this summer, then you’re going to have to do it next summer. It’s a motivator but at the same time, it’s a reminder that summer will be ending soon. But you’re not in the stage of mourning summer, no sir, you’re still in the “best time ever” stage.


Stage 6: The Home Stretch

You’ve just returned from the Edmonton Folk Fest, and you’ve been having such a great time trying to forget about the end of summer, that you actually have. But then you start getting emails, reminders about the school year to come. Only this time, you’ve more than accepted your fate: you’re on the path to accepting it. Sure, Stats was rough last year…

… but that comic book course you’re taking with Sue is sure to be the bomb. Plus, Pickles has made it clear that he’s getting tired of your presence and he wants your bed to himself again.


You start thinking about what you’ve managed to achieve these past few months  - you’re cool, you’re proud, you’re happy about these memories and are ready for a change. After all, university isn’t about being stagnant; it’s the total opposite – it’s about moving forward. Even the things you haven’t set out to accomplish can always be done next summer (or even during either of the Reading Weeks! Remember, we get TWO now!), and you know that one day, after you convocate  from this Green and Gold campus, you’ll miss it and the summers it has offered you.


Rachel - YouAlberta Contributor

Rachel is always up for a good adventure, as long as it doesn’t involve spiders. When not snuggled in a corner connected to headphones and attached to a good book, she’s spending her last year at the U of A tracking down as many quirky people and events as this campus can offer. She would willingly and gladly roll down more hills — and believes this is a valid pastime — if not for her allergy to grass.

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