An entire summer of rest(lessness)
Lucy Collins | Thursday, August 24, 2017
“I’m between jobs right now.”
“I couldn’t really find the right fit for me in terms of internships.”
“I didn’t really wanna peg myself into a field I’m not interested in.”
These are just a few of the responses I have come up with in order to answer what seems like thousands of friends, neighbors and sometimes strangers when they ask me the inevitable “what are you up to this summer?” My personal favorite response to give is “I’m taking some time off to find myself, you know?” because it implies that A, I have just finished some tremendously arduous task and deserve a break and B, that I am embarking on a soul-searching mission a la “Wild” with exciting journeys, revelations and possibly with a romantic interest or two, and that by the end of this summer I will emerge a new woman, with glorious goals and a plan to achieve said goals.
The reality is that due to a miscommunication with my boss I ended up without my waitressing job that I held for the past 2 years. This wouldn’t have been too big of a problem, if my boss had not waited until a week before summer break to let me know that he believed that I had received an internship this summer, and had thus over-staffed the restaurant and did not need me around. At first, I was pretty bummed — with going abroad in the fall, I knew I needed a lot of money. After I convinced myself (unrealistically) that I could gain the ability to skimp and save and thus make it through the summer and a semester in Europe without too much debt, I got excited. A whole summer without work — the opportunities were endless. I could finally read all the books on my Goodreads “to-read” shelf. I would learn the guitar, and become an expert at chess, all while maintaining a killer fitness regimen.
Alas, these were lofty goals. My actual summer accomplishments ended up being the following: checking an absurd amount of TV shows off my “to-watch” list, spending an inappropriate amount of time having a one-way conversation with my dog, turning down babysitting jobs despite needing the money, because I figured that if I was going to do this whole “no plans” thing, I had to really commit, and lastly (and most pathetically) finding an excuse to go to the grocery store multiple times a day out of sheer boredom. One unforeseen side-effect of spending every waking hour at home was re-discovering the art of arguing with my parents. What with my months away from home and the supposed maturation that occurs throughout college, I had truly forgotten this beloved pastime of my teenage years. When I say argue, I don’t mean cute little spats about doing chores. I’m talking full-fledged, gloves coming off, show no mercy brawls about every topic under the sun. My dad and I fought passionately about such topics as Trump’s tweets, male street-harassment, and whether the Harry Potter series is meant to serve as a “manual for a socialist political revolution and a criticism of the capitalist bosses that run our county” (words spoken from a man who has never read a single page of those books). It has been truly invigorating finding my passionate voice again, and I’m considering adding “Debate Team — Summer 2017” to my resume.
In between Netflix and verbal sparring, I did find some time to meditate on my plans for the future. It’s true that I have no idea what career I want to pursue after school (purchases this summer included, in no particular order: LSAT prep books, several med-school memoirs, and multiple cute outfits any businesswoman would approve of) and was worried about pigeonholing myself into an internship on the wrong path. With all this free time, I was able to re-discover some passions I put aside throughout the last two years, passions that could potentially help me focus in on the right career for me.
Look, I’m certainly not advocating that a summer of unemployed idleness is a good idea for anyone. I’m very blessed to be able to afford such a gluttonous summer, and would have preferred having my job to keep me busy and paid. However, I do think there is something to be said of taking a step back from the ever-looming timeline of school to career and evaluating what makes you happy, what your good at, and how you can best use those skills to make a difference in your future. At least that’s what I told myself as I woke up each morning, sat down on the couch and prepared for another busy day of doing absolutely nothing.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.