An uphill battle to reclaim summer

With relief, I welcome you to our last issue of the summer. All of us here at The Cascade are now free to hit the beach, and we hope you are too.



By Dessa Bayrock (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: July 17, 2013

With relief, I welcome you to our last issue of the summer. All of us here at The Cascade are now free to hit the beach, and we hope you are too.

Summer still has a mysterious allure left over from grade school – it means freedom, an escape from schoolwork, a chance to slough off as much responsibility as possible. After that magical last day of school, there is nothing that needs attention until the fall. Presto! What a magical season!

Unfortunately, this reality doesn’t last forever. As a university student, “summer break” quickly becomes infected with tumours of responsibility. Part-time jobs turn into full-time employment; if you can’t volunteer with exams breathing down your neck during the school year, you’ll have to pump up that CV experience in the summer semester. Maybe you should take summer classes – get ahead or just do-over. Not to mention personal projects: didn’t you promise yourself you’d paint your room this summer, when you had time? How about start that blog? Read some books that you don’t have to take notes on – maybe plant a garden, start a new gym routine, visit your grandparents—

Before you know it, you’re busier than you were during the school year. Your to-do list is threatening to choke you. Before you know it, summer is over. What happened to the magic season you were looking forward to?

The world is out to get you. More specifically, the world is out to get your summer.

As soon as you finish your last class of the winter semester and step into the sunlight, you begin an uphill battle. The prize? The perfect, stress-free summer. The foe? The leeching fingers of responsibility and the poisonous grip of thoughts like You know what I should be doing right now?

In mid-April or so, I came to the terrifying realization that this is most likely my last summer before I have to enter the real world and work for the rest of my life. This is probably my last summer off ever.

Well, shit.

Maybe you’re nearing the end of your time in university and similarly sense monstrous, real-life responsibility creeping up behind you. Here’s my advice: run. Run like hell. You get out there and enjoy this summer like you’ve never enjoyed a summer before. Run through the sprinklers on the neighbours’ lawns! Be a beach bum! Buy a canoe! Get thee to a music festival! Pursue activities because they’re fun, rather than because they’re on your to-do list.

The sad and scary truth is that time is running out. You have to grab it with both hands and hang on for dear life.

I firmly believe that students are given summer break for a reason, and to fill the season up completely with projects, work, and maybe even classes completely defeats the purpose of summer break.

I recognize it’s impossible to just drop everything. But take moments for yourself: if you work, book a week off. If you’re taking summer classes, skip a couple. I’ll even write you a doctor’s note. [editor’s note: Dessa Bayrock is not a doctor.]

The fight between you and your sense of responsibility is going to be hell of a showdown, and you might feel hopelessly outmatched. But you know what? It’s worth it. It’s plain unnatural to be stressed-out and busy in the summer. Take a minute or an hour or a weekend for yourself. I guarantee you deserve it.

So again, I welcome you to our last issue of the summer.

We’ll be hitting the beach, and I hope to see you there.

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