Heidy Lee / Gavel Media

Summer in College: A Double-Edged Sword

After a long and grueling semester, many are excited about the arrival of summer vacation. Plagued by burnout and constant tiredness, a more permanent break from classes (not just a week-long spring break) is the only thing that could possibly regenerate an exceptionally exhausted student body. 

However, for the first time ever, a part of me feels impending sadness at the upcoming arrival of summer break. In high school, summer break was an exciting prospect. Days spent hanging out with friends, endless relaxation, and proper summer vacations were all in order. Summer couldn’t come fast enough, as we would all anxiously await for school to finally end. 

Now, even before the break has begun, I’m already experiencing melancholy at the thought of three and a half months without some of my closest friends. After the stress of finals, during which we barely get to see our friends anyway, we are immediately torn away from one another as we head home. While it’s always amazing to reunite with childhood friends upon returning home, it will still be difficult to adjust to a life without the people that we normally see each day. Indeed, while it’s also possible to visit college friends over the summer as well, this isn’t possible for many, especially because of the logistical difficulties of traveling long distances to meet up with others. As social beings, not only does this put a strain on the mental health of many students, but it leaves us relying on FaceTime as a way to communicate with some of our favorite people in the whole world. 

Additionally, for many students, especially upperclassmen, the pressure to get an internship is high. As we all know, the stress associated with getting an internship, or any job for that matter, can be horrible. Desirable internships involve a bloodbath of applications, and if someone ends up with one, it can be heartbreaking and dream-crushing if the position fails to meet initial expectations. Unpaid internships, which are especially common in politics, exploit the labor of college students, working them for an unhealthy amount of time with no compensation. The summer job cycle only creates greater animosity among peers during a time when people are supposed to have a break from competition and comparison with one another. A regular summer job, like working in food service or retail, is completely fine. Yet at BC, where we are constantly judged by other peers, the need to be better than others never leaves us and carries over into the summer. Even worse and more ironically, during a time when we are supposed to give our minds a rest, some jobs and internships soon leave us flooded with the same amount of work, if not even more, than the schoolwork we suffered through for months on end. 

Summer vacations can also be a challenge for families paying extreme amounts of money to send their children to college. After all, foregoing $80,000 to cover expenses at institutions like BC doesn’t leave much room for other, more trivial expenses like international travel. In fact, many of the common summer activities that we used to actively participate in before college soon became a burden on the wallets of many students who are now more careful about managing money. 

Truly, then, summer has lost its main appeal. Three and a half months of break, something which once seemed too short, has now become an excessive amount of time. While we all need time off to recharge and restore balance to our lives, too much time off has the opposite effect. Oddly enough, summer has turned sour. With the amount of free time that we will soon have on our hands, I wouldn’t be surprised if I started to miss the classes that saved me from total boredom. 

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