Walking out of the exam hall having just completed yet another year is truly an indescribable feeling. It is one that involves overwhelming joy and newfound freedom, as well as a sudden fear of the five months stretching out ahead with no real idea of how to use them. Yes, my university summer holiday is crazy long, but I think it’s to make up for the fact we don’t take off a month at Christmas and Easter like many other universities and have two weeks off like we all had at school.
I have always preferred to work my summers since I was 16, having worked at a summer school, an outdoor programme, as well as a linen factory. None of these were glamorous in the slightest, but I loved working and having things to do, I just felt a bit lost otherwise. An example would be my factory job which started the Tuesday after my industry work experience ended, giving me a long weekend to start off my first year summer holiday. I unfortunately broke my finger on the large ironing machine (my fault, got too confident at pulling out creases) which meant the last three weeks of summer were spent at home, barely able to even stir a pot or fold a shirt as my whole hand had gone numb. Things like watching Netflix and playing games are so much fun, but this is awful to acknowledge, but they are way more fun when you have other things to do! Watching that cheeky extra episode of Stranger Things when you have to finish a paper is way more entertaining than re-watching it for the third time because you have nothing to do all day.
This all makes me sound quite hung-strung, but it’s odd how nonchalant I typically am, as long as I have work to do to the best of my ability that day, I am perfectly fine bobbing about doing nothing the rest of the day. It’s been mentioned to me when I say I do nothing that I sign up for as many things as I can do, but what I mean is, I love doing nothing because I can, not because I have no other option.
It is all a matter of opinion on whether a student should work over their summers or relax and travel to prepare for another year of school, but I personally believe you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t do something worthwhile. It doesn’t even have to be regular work or an internship, but never again will we have the opportunity of months on end free to do whatever we can find. If you look back on the summer when someone asks you what you did with nothing to say, I feel like that is my answer right there. Definitely relax though, because uni is stressful and worrying about everything never helps (I say this but don’t follow that advice at all).
I think a good balance of the two is key, although I haven’t quite figured that out yet.