By Stepfanie Lam

Freshman, Biology Major

When the sun began to peer out of the clouds and the air began to warm, I could feel the anticipation for unstructured time, trips to different places, and lots of sunshine creeping into my thoughts. But with every passing summer, my free time gradually diminished. Summer began to lose its carefree appeal as it slowly transformed into something bittersweet. This “something” turned into internships, summer programs, SATs, and classes, all disguised as summer vacation. Some of my peers were even taking classes to prepare for their classes after the summer. It’s ironic how the term “summer school” had so many negative connotations attached to it just a few years earlier. Lazy summers are now a thing of the past.

Classes in the summer are fast-paced and usually completed in five to six weeks with an exam every week. “When I feel that I have finally caught up with the material, the teacher is moving on to another topic in class,” explained Shannon, a freshman anthropology major. Other students who view summer as an opportunity to find a job in addition to school are also finding their summers filled with stress. “During school, if you’re in college, the schedule is pretty spread out, and you have a lot of breaks, but if you’re working full-time, that’s just most of your day,” said Kevin, a freshman chemical engineering major.

Summer offers students a chance to be proactive and motivated for their future. In the process of searching for internships and summer jobs, students acquire skills they can use in future job hunting. Those experiences offer valuable life lessons that a classroom or lecture hall can’t teach. What it is like to be interviewed? What is the work environment of a high-tech company like? The internships enable a more hands-on experience and give students a chance to broaden their perspective. Most importantly, when students are finished with their respective job or internship, they can spend the rest of the day as they like. “I can definitely say that summer is more relaxing than the school year. Much less frequently do you have the onus of homework and exams weighing down on you, which I think are the main stressors of college life. That said, only the weeks before or after your internship or summer courses can truly be called really relaxing,” said Carl, a sophomore computer science major. Roger, a junior computer science major, remarked, “To me, summer is far more stress-free than during the school year because I often find myself working on projects during my internships that really interest me and allow me to see how my skills can be applied in the real world.”
Although summers are no more relaxing than the regular school year, it offers us a window of opportunity for a different way of learning and to discover where our true passions lie.