Mater Dei High School

Summertime Sadness

It seems even summer is taking a vacation, because I can’t seem to find my sunglasses—or my sense of fun—anywhere. Not that I’ll need either of them during this break.

As the dog days of summer limp by, why do I find myself worrying more about which summer assignment to prioritize than which days to go to the beach?

Laden with textbooks, workbooks, papers, and an ever-growing sense of anxiety, my summer could not have started off with a more half-hearted bang.

Sure, you might find me at the pool, but more likely than not, my homework will be with me.

And it might look as though I am talking to friends, but in reality, I’m only asking which novels they have analyzed for the summer reading assignment.

Summer should be long and glorious, a season of students exploring their interests and forming close relationships with their friends. Instead, I’m stuck in my room, exploring the exciting world of physics and bonding with my government textbook.

Somehow, summer doesn’t seem quite so sunny these days. It is a far cry from the idyllic summers my parents used to have. I can go swimming at the pool—but only for two hours because I have seven chapters of literature to read tonight.

If this is being what an adult feels like, I’d like a one-way ticket to Neverland, please.

Indeed, scribbling down math problems while on the plane to Germany undoubtedly takes away some of the zeal that adventurers of ages past felt on a sea voyage. It seems the only trip I’m taking is through the eyes of my assigned reading book’s protagonist.

At this point, I may as well abandon all pretenses of a “summer vacation” and just go on a “summer staycation” in my home office.

The increasingly competitive standards of education have driven me to the edge of Mt. Doom. As a student with high hopes, I feel a mounting pressure to take on as many honors and AP classes as possible for my senior year. So while my GPA gets higher, my workload gets heavier.

Countless college counsellors have advised me to “do something” with my last summer before the college admissions process begins. If attending a leadership camp, taking a college level summer course, and finishing my own summer homework constitutes as “doing something,” then I suppose I’m using summer correctly.

And yet, the constant stress I feel does not point towards my use of summer time as a crowning monument of dedication. Rather, my expectations for a typical Hollywood-style, sun-filled summer have been deflated, trampled on, and fished out of the recycling bin to be used as calculus scratch paper.

I’ve been told that students these days suffer from a condition of constant complaining and self-entitlement. But who wouldn’t be, when we never can seem to catch a (summer) break?