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Tell me about your summer

Troy Mathew | Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We’re finally at the point in the semester when we no longer feel obligated to start every conversation with, “Hey! How was your summer?” We can now move on to more diverse conversation openers such as, “Wow, Finny’s was sloppy last night,” or “Did I see you at Finny’s last night?” This is also a good time for reflection, considering the ample knowledge we’ve gained about our fellow classmates’ summer experiences.

When you were relaying your summer tales to your classmates, hopefully you had a grasp of who your audience was. Notre Dame students are world-class scholars, athletes and intellectuals who devoted their summers to doing everything from working at lucrative internships to saving orphans.

Obviously, any self-deprecating comment regarding your summer was out of the question. The thing about relaying your summer is that you should have spared no detail, because everyone really, really cares. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have asked you about it.

Take my own summer for example. I interned at a company in San Francisco, a city in which I didn’t have any friends and had a relatively sad social life, considering I didn’t share my roommate’s interest in Dungeons and Dragons. I was literally barked at by homeless people every day on my commute into work, where I completed semi-menial tasks, including a not-insignificant amount of time spent with a scanner. My office was chill and fun, and I enjoyed my co-workers. I liked my job, and gained a lot of valuable experience and references, but didn’t perform anything I considered too earth-shattering or awe-inspiring.

In other words, it was a truly transformative and life-affirming experience. I worked with the most brilliant people on earth and, with that internship, have surely secured my dream job following graduation.

If you spent the summer volunteering, you should have talked about the indelible marks left on your heart by every person you helped. Your life will never be quite the same again. If you spent the summer working in your hometown, you should have talked about how profound it was to impact people who live in a place you care about. If you worked at an investment firm, you should have talked about your field’s positive impact on humanity. Wait, there wasn’t one? Then you should have mentioned how your field benefits society in any way. Still nothing? Well at least you made bank. Drinks are on you, bro!