Today I finished the last class of my sophomore year of college, marking the halfway point in my journey to a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. I am looking forward to spending the next four months (approximately) away from coursework and curriculum, but I will not be taking the summer off – not completely. Many of the people in my life have shared a sigh of relief with me when I have announced the end of my semester, usually nodding and replying something like “well, I bet you’re happy to have some time off and just relax.”
I am happy to have a break.
This past semester was particularly mentally draining for me, as I did not enjoy a lot of courses and could often be found in a state of distress over it. However, as I have mentioned before on this blog, I will still be holding three positions over the summer which will amount to roughly thirty hours of work per week. This schedule will hopefully still allow me plenty of time to spend summer relaxing and doing some of the things I’ve had it in my head to do (road trip, anyone?) It also serves an important purpose – to give me structure. When informed of the tasks ahead of me, the people who were nodding and happy for me replace their smiles with looks of pity, “wow, you can’t catch a break, can you?”
In previous years, summer breaks have often meant that my mental health has taken a dive. It wasn’t until last year that I started to realize why this pattern had developed: a lack of mental stimulation during the summer months. Prior to this self-reflection, summer days were often spent sitting alone, unsure of what to do to pass the time, and a vicious cycle reared its head.
The more I did not do anything, the more I felt like doing nothing at all.
My brain and body just function better whenever I have a daily routine to follow. Due to this realization, I believe that I’m better at managing this issue and will be able to use it to my advantage, keeping active and getting work done over the summer.