What’s a “summer vacation”?

No, seriously, I don’t remember.

It’s that first summer we all are excitedly dreading: the summer that doesn’t feel like summer. The summer you have to get a full-time job or internship. That summer you spend in class getting ahead rather than outside getting a tan. The summer you realize you have made a huge adult decision (and sometimes think, a mistake).

You finally feel like you are doing something. Whether you are gaining experience of getting ahead in your classes, you have something to show for your work this summer. Granted, you won’t have as many Instagrams of you at the pool as your other friends do, but when someone asks how your summer was you can finally pull a “It was actually a lot of work, but I’m glad I did it” response. Valueable work experience/a few more classes under your belt > knowing what happens in all the seasons of Arrested Development, Parks and Rec and Mad Men (Okay, this might be debatable. Strive for both!)

You realize how valuable time is. It’s super easy to wake up, not get out of bed all day, stare at your wall for ten hours, realize it is time to sleep again, and not even recognize you just wasted a whole day of your life on nothing. That’s 24 hours you won’t get back. Once you have tasks that occupy most of your day, the free time you get seems so sweet, delicate and precious. No more staring at the wall unless it is to evaluate a painting or make sure that spider doesn’t move from its place on the wall. Every day after work, I want to make sure I do something with the rest of my day that makes me happy. Fridays are my favorites because it’s Sushi Night! (Going out to eat is doing something, okay?)

You’re kind of, sort of, a tiny bit more of an adult. It’s scary to think you are actually maturing and have a game plan for the next few months of your life, but it’s also pretty cool if you think about it. You are one step closer to actually having funds to manage, a place of your own to decorate, and a life full of decisions you have made mainly on your own. Realizing you need to get up and do something about your situation is a huge thing to check off your to-do list. You decided (or maybe pressured by a parent, but still) that working or learning is more important than just lounging around your house for three months. It’s hard to come to terms with when you just want to wear your penguin pajamas around all day…

You keep looking forward. If you are working, maybe you can’t wait for school to start again or to finally get offered a full-time job. If you are at school, maybe you can’t wait to finally have your friends back in town or take a few weeks off to recharge. When you decide to do work, it’s going to be tough and exhausting. But those moments of pride and joy you get when you realize you have made the right decision are priceless.

So remember the words of the great Wiz, “Word hard, play hard.” Don’t worry that is my first and last reference to a rap artist I will ever try to make.

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