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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Opinion: Summer is overrated

Opinion+writer+Benjamin+Barnes+says+high+expectations+ruin+summer.
Photo courtesy of WikiCommons/Annatsach

Opinion writer Benjamin Barnes says high expectations ruin summer.

Summer is lame. Yes, I said it. Although, I’m sure quite a few people agree with this statement, which is why it’s all the more fascinating when we collectively buy into the “this will be the best summer ever” mantra year after year.
Considering it’s now mid-June, it’s likely you’ve already gone on vacation, started a summer internship or met up with friends. That’s great! Only now, the 10 weeks left of summer seem more reminiscent of limbo rather than a tranquil break from the usual course work.
Whether it’s our anticlimactic optimism that fades out in the beaming rays of the summer sun or false promises we make to ourselves just to get through finals, summer never seems to pan out as great as we initially thought it would.
This isn’t a new phenomenon either. I’m sure many college students have felt confined to this same summertime prison of FOMO I’m describing. If it doesn’t live up to your expectations, summer is now seen as a mandatory timeout from your friends and life at school.
I’m no exception either. Here are just a few things I’ve experienced since returning home.
I watched my high school hero, someone I used to consider myself lucky enough to even grace the same football field as, get roaring drunk and fall out of his seat while shouting obscenities at a local dive bar. I was told by a waitress my ex was “flipping shit” at the very thought of me spending the summer in the same town as her. Lastly, in the days leading up to my internship, I’ve pushed the threshold on just how bored a human can be.
How can I be so sure? Well, let’s just say I’ve leapt at every invitation to play UNO with my 85-year-old grandmother. But hey, at least I’ve got some free time to practice my golf swing when my friends get off of work.
You see what I’m getting at? Sure, summer break can act as a much needed bridge between the spring and fall semesters. It’s also a good excuse to hang out with friends you don’t see often. It can even sprout new career ventures you wouldn’t get while managing a full course load.
The only problem is, even when doing all of those things, we still find ourselves itching just waiting for the next opportunity to have fun. What this entails, we often don’t know, so long as it’s just a chance to “do something with someone.” I think this is due in part due to two reasons.
The first is the absurdly high expectations we place on summer break. Hearing everyone else’s ‘plans’ that are probably closer to irrational daydreams makes us feel as though living at home, finding a summer job and seeing old friends isn’t enough.
The second reason is the contrast between the pace of life between a busy 16-week college semester and the slow, almost tedious summer. The sudden shift from attending five classes a week, studying, going to sporting events, partying and being surrounded by over 70,000 other ambitious 20-something-year-olds to helping out mom with setting the dinner table suddenly isn’t quite as exciting.
I know personally it can feel as though somehow I’m not doing enough or that I should be constantly filling in the gaps of my free time with something deemed more productive. It is this shared mindset that has us convinced that unless we’re interning at a Fortune 500 company or sipping on mixed drinks in Cabo, we’re somehow doing summer wrong.
I’m here to tell you that this just simply isn’t true. Why? Because the most unanticipated and unforeseen moments of summer are also what make it the best time of the year.
Think about what some of your favorite memories are. I’m almost sure there are quite a few that stemmed from a random text, not having any plans or just purely being bored.
In addition to playing UNO with my grandmother, I also caught up on all the small-town drama I’d missed, started flirting with an old flame and even snuck onto someone’s pier with my best friend and drank until the sun came up over the water. I know, what a rebel.
These moments have been some of the best moments I’ve had in recent memory and they all transpired because I actually let summer run its course instead of always trying to be one step ahead.
Quit chasing the picture perfect moments and instead let them find you. It’s okay to spend some downtime not doing anything. You don’t get many chances to do nothing at school and on the flip side, they actually help the chaotically fun nights you didn’t see coming stand out even more.
Moral of the story, being bored has its perks so quit comparing your summer plans to your friend’s. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” so why waste time tediously planning every day in a bid to prove you had the best summer when you can just let fate decide?
I’m not saying don’t go on family vacation or road trips with your sorority sisters, but don’t get infatuated with chasing down “the best summer ever.” It’s unattainable and you’ll be much happier in the long run.
Benjamin Barnes is a telecommunication media studies senior and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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About the Contributor
Bj Barnes
Bj Barnes, Opinion Columnist
Benjamin Barnes is a Telecommunication Media Studies senior from Rochester, Indiana. Barnes' has been involved with The Battalion since his junior year and plans to start his own media group following graduation. If he's not writing, he's most likely watching a Texans game or at the gym.
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