The Summer Paradox: You Can’t Really Do it All

By Allison Schoenauer
Senior Staff Writer

Summer is a time for beaches, picnics, tans, bad reality TV and relaxation. It can also be a massive waste of time. All that relaxing on the beach and working on your tan could have been used to work on a resumé.

What I’m saying isn’t news. Most students on campus know that summer means there aren’t any classes, or as many classes, to suck up their time, which means entertaining and pursuing opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have time for. A whole world of internships, creative projects and jobs has been opened for individuals who, normally, would be stuck in their dorm rooms desperately typing away at a 20 paper that’s due the next morning, and they’re only on page eight.

I, for instance, jumped at the opportunity to go on the Oxford Seminar trip. My summer’s two week excursion included having to start a research project to be turned in at the end of the summer, thank the Lord, while attending seminars given by esteemed Oxford professors.

It’s a great opportunity, something definitely worth the time, money, and sweat that was poured in to it, but it’s only two weeks. Two weeks out of three months leaves a lot of time to do…something, right?

Yes, yes it does. Does that always happen?

Let’s put it this way: while I spent the next two months doing odd jobs, cleaning and organizing my room back home, finishing a paper, fighting to understand the UK Border Agency website so that I could apply for a Visa for my upcoming study abroad trip, I didn’t really do anything else. No job. No internship. I did nothing. And it was awesome.

It’s the summer trap. Doing nothing feels great, especially after a year that felt more like you were being hit over the head with a shovel than you were learning something. Nothing is great. The downside of nothing is that it is very easy to start doing nothing and very, very hard to stop doing nothing.
Probably the worst thing about the summertime lazies is that they don’t go away when you get back to school. They continue to prod and tempt you into not doing your work. You’re able to fight them off for a time, long enough that they are no longer “the summer lazies” but simply procrastination.

It doesn’t matter what they are called. In the end, they win, and soon you’re stuck pulling all-nighters to finish that 10-minute presentation that’s due first thing the next morning, and you only have your title slide.

The only way to avoid those claws completely would be to get work and internship plans set before or at the beginning of the summer, and that plan of action sometimes doesn’t work out. Several of my friends and I should know.

This entire summer thing is frustrating. The nothing can drive you absolutely crazy if you let it. It’s so easy to fall into some bad procrastination habits and it’s a pain in the butt to get back on a normal schedule. In a way, returning to school is one of the best things about summer. You go back to school and you are instantly placed into a schedule. It finally gives you something to do—and no time to do it.

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