All of grade school, middle school and high school, when school is out, summer begins. Summer means endless days of fun, vacations, sun and very little work involved. In high school, some students start summer jobs, as a way to make some extra cash and kick start that good old work ethic. But, for the most part, summer is a vacation from regular life.
For college students, that pattern is quickly dying. Summer is no longer a means for getting a little rest and relaxation, but rather a means for getting ahead in life. Small summer jobs have turned into demanding internships and in some cases, full time jobs. Those who are taking just enough credits during the semester or are not able to fit an internship in with everything else during the school year, have to do internships over the summer. Some students get credit or compensation over the summer, but many do not. Most students need to squeeze internships in during the school year to receive credit, but do not get paid. Unpaid internships are an infamous way to get ahead during the summer. Other students choose to take summer classes to have less to do during the school year, or to get even more ahead with their course work. Sometimes, they take classes over the summer for financial reasons, to make room for an internship, or even to make room for more classes during the semester.
This pattern leaves college students scrambling to balance work/internship responsibilities with their social lives. This makes it harder to find vacation time during the summer and even less time for real free time. Gone are the days of endless summer. The days of the adult work world are upon us.
As for transitioning from school to summer in college, it is much different than the transition was in high school. In high school, leaving for the summer didn’t require packing up and moving locations. Now, the beginning of summer is exhilarating as well as exhausting. The transition between the school year and summer is much more drastic than it was in high school. Not only is the location change drastic, but the amount of times that college students are forced to readjust seems extreme at times. Along with leaving campus, you also end up leaving your friends. Instead of just walking across campus, you have to make more of an effort to get together with your friends. You and your friends are farther apart and may be traveling, so communication with them is of the essence. If you are lucky and have a break in schedule that overlaps with your college friends, who are all of the sudden long distance, you can make plans. Some summers, there is a lot of time for friends, and other summers, it just isn’t possible.
All in all, college students most definitely look forward to the summer, but for me personally, I don’t appreciate the change as much. Since college began, I have found that I need to keep busy and have a regular routine, or else everything gets out of sorts. For me, summer time in college isn’t so much of a break, as it is a new chapter of life.