Summer is typically a time of year everyone looks forward to because of the break from school and the few months there is warm weather in Cleveland. This break always meant no responsibilities such as homework, and even a short break from extra curricular activities like sports or music groups. Sometimes it even meant going on vacation, waking up in the middle of the day, staying up late with friends or surfing the internet until three a.m. Summers during my undergraduate years were somewhat similar. I had a job and worked in retail almost 40 hours a week but still had time to relax and didn’t have classes to worry about. Now, as a graduate student who is taking summer classes and has an internship over the summer, I find myself missing my carefree summer days. Although it feels like I should be able to sleep in and stay up later, I need to keep reminding myself that I have to be working on a research project when I am not at my internship or my part-time job.
Previously, I have written about finding time to relax and be with friends and family, and I still find this to be important over breaks like the long summer break. However, this summer I have also come to realize how important it is to stay busy in order to prepare for having a full-time job. There are not many jobs out there that let you have off a couple of months over the summer, and I do not expect to be in a position that gives a summer break once I graduate. Therefore, from every summer from now on, I will most likely be working full time and will not have the time to relax every day like I previously did.
In the moment, it feels bad to be so busy during the summer, especially since I have another year of school to complete, so there really isn’t a break in sight. But I think that by the time I do graduate and find a full-time job, it will be worth the stress and the work since I am not only completing some credit hours over the summer, but I am also getting used to the idea of not having a summer break and becoming an adult.
Oncoming adulthood is something that is often joked about among young adults and college students through memes and sayings like “I can’t adult today” and is a large part of the college experience. It is easy to forget sometimes that the purpose of a higher education is not only to learn, but for most people it is also a way to begin their careers. Summer offers a nice break, but it also can be deceiving. It can encourage students to go back to their high school days of summer relaxation and zero responsibilities.
I do not think that everyone has to take a full course load and find multiple jobs over the summer, but I do think that it is important to find a balance between the two during breaks in order to start entering the adult world and getting used to working all of the year.
Abby Assmus is a graduate bioethics and social work student.