Is the Summer Plans talk truly harmless? ‘How was your summer?’ seems like one of the most harmless conversations you can have with friends after a long vacation. Yet, underneath accounts of exciting encounters in exotic places and productive time spent in big multinational companies is the frantic search for the kinds of opportunities that makes this conversation possible. There is an almost unhealthy fixation on being as busy as possible during summer vacation to portray yourself as ‘interesting’ or to fulfil society’s image of a perfect summer holiday.
In the most optimal scenario, the ‘perfect summer holiday’ to satisfy your peers’ expectation may consist of going on expeditions relentlessly or being ambitious in landing yourself an internship in renowned institutions. Unfortunately, there can be factors barring students from participating in the summer vacation conversation satisfactorily. This might be financial concerns that mean that you cannot afford to go on a holiday or take up a lower paid internship position in the expense of a better paid full-time summer job. It might be other concerns like something as simple as wanting to spend time on yourself and relax and it is just not in your character to embark on crazy journeys.
However, to warrant a reaction from your peers, you will have to establish yourself for being memorable. This is no easy job, given everyone is striving to collect the most interesting stories to tell and stand out. Someone is bound to be drawn out and overlooked, feeling pushed to the corner while looking at their peers shine. At that moment it is normal to feel left out and not being valued even though you might have very much enjoyed your less eventful summer.
This might suggest that the entirety of the summer vacation is boiled down to a match with your peers at the very end. The need to constantly compare yourself with your peers can easily enter our subconsciousness and a voice emerge to remind yourself to stay constantly busy to not lose out. This is immense pressure and can blind us from the fact that summer holiday should also be used to just relax and relieve ourselves from the stress accumulated from studying all semester long. Worse, if you feel like you lose out in this battle, it might negatively effect your self image as you feel less assured of yourself, especially in comparison of others.
Perhaps this is where reflection can come to lend a hand in this troubling time. It will be helpful to contemplate carefully about the goals and aims we set for ourselves, not others, ahead of summer. There is no right or wrong in this, the important thing is to recognise what we truly want and set out plans that will make your summer interesting and unforgettable in your own way.
In times where we care so obsessively over our image in others’ eyes, even more so than how we feel about and see ourselves, it is worrying how easy it is to neglect our own mental health.
It will be beneficial to take a step back and take a deep breath, review our summer in a practical manner and make reasonable plans. Remember, all in all, it is your summer and nobody else’s.
Image: Davidcmiller via pixabay.com