The thing no one tells you about summer is that you have to go back. Everyone always talks about exams being over, being free until the next semester, getting a job, school friends going away. But no one really mentions that you have to go back home, or what happens when you do.
Being in university is like stepping into a TARDIS and getting a glimpse of your own future. It’s time and relative dimension in a space that is beyond what you’ve come to know in high school and college. It is, for most of us, the chance to stretch your wings and see just how far you can fly from that nest. You learn much more than what they tell you in the didactic halls of academia, and you adjust to living on your own, with an entirely new set of people. You do this for a whole year, alone, independent and then you go back home. It’s like telling a bird that’s just learnt to fly that he has to stay in the nest for a couple of months just because. The impotence is frustrating.
As a commuting student, I’ve been in the nest all along, but I’ve still had the opportunity to fly whenever I wanted. With the onset of summer, I’ve been trapped here, mostly because it feels like there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do. After acclimatizing to the constant rush and nonstop motion of the school year, summer feels like the most insidious of doldrums.
University, no life, changes you. Makes you grow, makes you regress, makes you abandon old ways in favour of new ones (if you’re doing it right). And coming back home is like taking two steps forward and one step back – there’s still net forward motion, but how long is it gonna take you to get there? You’re back in your old neighbourhood with old friends slipping into old habits that you’ve grown out of now. You don’t want to regress, you want your college friends back, you want that feeling of independence and calling your own shots, you think you’ve lost it.
But you haven’t. That feeling is still there, waiting for you to pick it up and dust it off. You’re still independent, you can still call your own shots. You didn’t become independent because you went to university. You went to university because you were independent enough. There’s a reason they don’t let five-year olds in that place, you know.
While summer might feel like the doldrums of university life, they’re really not. Think of them as a self-serve gas station. You’re just filling up to take on the next year of independence and life-changing experiences.