There seems to be this idea of summer as something transformative, but just because the seasons change it doesn’t mean we automatically become new people.
June through August is supposedly the time for ‘hot girl’ summers and anticipated ‘glowups.’ It’s an opportunity to escape from peers and professors and focus on doing you—and doing it well.
There is a specific energy to the end of the academic year that propels us into the new season the minute our exams are finished.
We students now leave quiet exam halls, put down our 24-hour energy drinks and envelop ourselves in the warmth of summer break. Whether we’re starting a fancy new internship or going back to that old ice cream shop that never disappoints, summer is perceived as a season of growth.
However, this type of growth can often feel forced and is influenced by the images we see on social media and on television. Summer often becomes romanticized as if we live in Shakespeare’s sonnets and frolic in fields of flowers.
Social media and Pinterest boards represent one image of what we should be doing with our time. They’re about achieving an aesthetic and present a flat representation of what we should look like or how we should be acting.
It’s important to set goals and romanticize life, but when these activities are only done to achieve a certain image or attain an ideal, the season stops being enjoyable. We should live a summer that fulfills us, not one we imagine will be most desirable.
This extends to summer romances, too. They’re ‘supposed’ to sweep us off our feet, suspended in a fantasy of playfulness and fun. But as much as we would like it to, fantasy rarely translates into the real world we live in.
Relationships are not automatically stronger because the sun is shining, and you’re not a failure if you find yourself in an unhappy one—or without a relationship at all.
The more we want to love and be loved, the harder it is to grasp and hold on to. Trying to act like people on social media or even to match the lifestyle of our friends will only lead us to feel unfulfilled in September.
With bucket lists getting filled to the brim and ice cream melting down our sun-kissed arms, we expect something wonderful to come our way. However, our expectations are never quite met because people and things cannot exist in a fantasy.
We should enjoy our time, and not put too much emphasis on what we think we should be doing. Most of all, let’s be sure the idea of living out a ‘perfect’ summer doesn’t cause us to miss the opportunities we never expected to come along.
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