The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The first college summer


Finding the right path during the break

Last summer was undoubtedly full of anticipatory feelings, excitement and I have to say, not much time to relax.

I’m sure most of us lowly college first-year students went from senior prom to graduation to senior week to dorm shopping to orientation, all mixed in with our summer babysitting gigs and part-time jobs. Maybe throw in a beach trip here and there and a few pool days with your friends.

In the mix of last summer, I felt that all of the excitement and stimulation was a pretty big distraction from what was coming in the fall: my first semester in college.

Surprisingly, I survived, as I assume most of us did (or maybe not but hopefully you did), and now we are all starting off our first college summer break.

I have to say, it feels a bit odd. Half of my social media feed is made up of photos of old classmates from high school traveling the world. And then, I have some friends who are still at school doing some extra studies, summer scholars, etc. Some others are working full-time jobs or sporting an internship.

In the midst of all this, I really haven’t noticed a trend indicating what one is “supposed to be doing” while away from college in the summer. That is something nobody really prepares you for.

Yes, from the get-go we are told that college is a time for independence, adult decision-making and personal growth. Which it definitely is all that and more, but there is still the standard that you are supposed to study (at least a little), you’re supposed to pick a major, you’re supposed to do this, do that, and supposed to do the other thing.

So far, I’ve noticed that college summer breaks really put students into the real world of this adult decision-making and independence, because in the summertime at this age, there really isn’t anything you’re supposed to do.

You can get a job, but you’re an adult so if you don’t want to you really don’t have to. You can have an internship, but you aren’t really supposed to yet. And who is to stop you from traveling around the world or spending your days at the Jersey Shore? It’s all up to you unless, of course, you have strict parents or more demanding circumstances.

For 18 years, we have all been doing just about the same things as our peers with our own personal adaptations. And that pretty much stays the same during the first two semesters of college.

The summer after the first year of college is the first time of real independence. And it’s weird. For me at least, this summer has been filled with incredible new experiences so far. But it has also been filled with a lot of uncertainty. I thought that feeling would be more prevalent in a new environment on campus, but I actually feel it far more in my hometown.

Since everyone is out doing different things, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt like there isn’t a specific path one is supposed to take during this first real college summer break. That’s just what “growing up” is.

There really isn’t anything you have to do this summer; at least according to anyone besides yourself. You have to do what you want to do and what fits your own path the best. We aren’t cookie cutter molds of anyone at this point, and the past 18 years has prepared us to think that our lives will continue to be shaped by what others expect us to be doing.

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