– Alice Cooper, ‘School’s Out’
After finishing final exams and moving out of dorms, apartments, and houses, we have finally been graced with the presence of the hallowed summer vacation.
My first week of break has been almost strictly unwinding, as I just restarted working at my summer job yesterday. My sleep schedule has already been turned upside-down; four in the morning feels a lot more like four in the afternoon than it ever should, thanks to sleeping in late and drinking coffee at midnight (genius idea, I know.) My childhood room is just as I left it so many months ago: record player and stack of albums in one corner, books lined up atop my dresser, posters wallpapering every inch of the vertical space. As much as I love the life I have built at St. Joe’s, it feels good to be back in my hometown routine.
It soon hits me that this is likely one of the last true summer vacations I’ll ever have. It’s probably one of the final times I’ll be able to comfortably settle back into this familiar routine, with my worries at a minimum and relaxation at a maximum. The world beyond graduation is an uncertain and frightening one; I don’t fully know what I’m going to do, and have literally no idea what to expect.
Thinking about my graduation date two years from now reminds me of all the pictures I saw from this year’s commencement. Hundreds upon thousands of photos showing smiling faces in decorated caps and long black gowns were uploaded to social media after the ceremony. The seniors-turned-“real”-adults, holding rolled-up diplomas and wearing medals and ropes around their necks, looked confident and proud to be finishing this leg of their journeys. They looked accomplished. They looked ready: ready to leave St. Joe’s, ready to celebrate their achievements, ready to use what they’d learned to enter the working world.
I wonder if that’ll be me 730 days down the road. I question sometimes whether I’ll be ready to go at the end of the next four semesters; it seems like a great deal of growth happens from junior year onward. Granted, that’s not unlikely, seeing the change that occurred within me from the beginning of my freshman year to the end of sophomore year. It’s incredible what two years, let alone four, can do to a person.
My goal for the next two years at St. Joe’s, then, is to embrace that change, and to cherish every minute of my junior and senior years.
Often times, we get so overwhelmed with our lives at school that we forget to enjoy this temporary part of our existences. And not just enjoying only the parties and social outings, either – I mean loving (or at least appreciating) everything, including the homework, the stressful group projects, the weird food in the dining hall, the loudness of the library. We won’t be in college forever, as evidenced by the constant succession of graduation ceremonies.
I will continue to let these experiences, positive and not-so-positive, shape me into the person I will be when I walk across that stage to receive my degree two years from now. I hope that these next semesters will put me out of my comfort zone, while still allowing me to feel comfortable in the college environment I have grown to love. To say I’m looking forward to the new opportunities and adventures is an understatement.
For now, though, I am a rising junior, spending two-thirds of my summer working at home and one-third of it studying in Kraków, Poland (which you can be sure I’ll be blogging about when the time comes!) I have two more years to figure everything out; even though that’s not an extremely long period, I think that’ll be just enough time.