The last day of school is the day when social media explodes with pictures and articles about graduation. And don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy for those grads and totally not upset over the fact that I changed my concentration middle of my school year and delayed my own graduation. Not. Bitter. At. All.
But in all seriousness, while the graduates are now stepping up to bigger and better things, those of us still in school are in a new realm of reality: summer break.
Summer break is, overall, awesome. Sleeping in, working for more cash, road trips… it’s the snapshot of what we wish our teen years-20’s consists of. But, like for all good things, there’s a dreadful and horrid catch. One so vile and sneaky, we easily overlook it until it dawns upon us. It can catch some victims early on and some later, but once you’re caught, it takes a while to shake it off.
I’m talking about the realization that the semester is over, and a new one is waiting.
I’m talking about your body still waking you up for your 8am class that you’ve already finished for a month. Your mind still creating essay outlines for conversations as simple as ordering pizza. Your subconscious still causing you to enter autopilot and drive to the campus parking lot. You remember that feeling? Some do, but most don’t, because we just don’t want to remember those awkward moments we got dressed for school, only to realize it was the middle of July.
Naturally, the first mode of thinking in a time like this is, “stop thinking about school you idiot, you have till next semester.” Next semester? Next semester. Crap.
Because next semester means new classes, and praying to all the deities that you get in your super important pre-req class that you’re number 3 on the waitlist for. It means having to purchase overpriced books that you know you’ll never touch again, a parking pass for the car you’ll still end of parking off campus, and appointments with your advisor who tells you what classes to take even though the two of you know only the deities above could help you get in any of them.
So now, while trying to fight off the ghost of Semester Past, the ghost of Semester Future is joining the scare fest in you brain, opening a whole new can of bookworms.
But there is light to this ordeal. This whole scenario takes place usually in the beginning or middle of summer break, during the “downtime” between your last road trip and upcoming Opening-marathon at work. Once you have your moment of realization and fear, it becomes a little more easier to get over it. You’re able to knock the uneasiness down by forcing your mind to shift the focus onto your job or your activities. By seeing the “scary” part of the future, your mind wants to preserve every drop of summer that you have left in your grasp. And besides, you won’t have to worry about the Semester Future again until the end of summer break, when it becomes Semester Present.
So grads, you guys are the rockstars of this semester’s end. But the rest of us? We’re the hard workers without a break. I mean, the grads now get to worry about new jobs and moving out, and taxes. But us? We worry about how much longer, how much farther, and how much the cost for both will be.
So no, I don’t have my degree yet. But I will have three anxiety attacks, two sleepless months, and a summer I will partially forget.