Summer vacation no longer exists for the typical college student. In fact, vacations, in general, have become marvels as singularly rare and as simultaneously extraordinary as flying piglets and earthquakes in Florida. And while this may be a slight exaggeration on my part, it is not an observation too far removed from reality.
Societal expectations placed on members of our generation have grown exponentially in recent years, so much so, that any respite we may have seems to come at an astronomical cost. “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and all that. The weekend off, for instance, usually entails a week of all-nighters and anxiety. Breathers and coffee breaks have become synonymous with procrastination and laziness. We, as a student cohort, have popularized sayings like: “Sleep? What is that?” and “Sleep is for the dead, not the living.”
Undergraduates today struggle to achieve a sense of accomplishment by amassing unreasonable volumes of academic and extracurricular commitments.
Throughout the semester, we even find ourselves taking pride in how little sleep has become the average and how caffeine has replaced it. Now, as finals near, at the peak of pressure and responsibility, the burdens of unreasonable ambitions materialize in the glassy eyes and perpetual frowns of our colleagues.
This is our youth. We are in the midst of the best time of our lives, and the years that we will forever reminisce about and yearn for. But as fellow students become caught up in presenting themselves as well-rounded, accomplished, picture-perfect products of the new generation, they seem to forget that we only have one chance to live.
Seeking success is no sin, but seeking success at the expense of one’s physical and mental wellbeing is an ultimate transgression against oneself. There is a lot to accomplish, but there is also a lot to enjoy about the undergraduate experience. Do not let lack of free time deter you from learning and exploring the things that interests you. That is what a liberal arts education is all about. “Do the things you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is not just some tired and overused cliché, but a motto we should all strive to live by. Rather than accumulating resume builders this summer, challenge yourself to find commitments that impassion you, rather than strain you.
And remember that you are more than your resume. Let us all try not to turn summer vacation into a myth this year.