Stop....Breathe

(photo not mine)

(photo not mine)

Hi all! I wanted to take this moment to slow down, stop, and think. Summer should be a time for rest and relaxation. A time for students to refuel and reenergize for the upcoming school year. Instead, I feel like summer becomes filled with competition between college kids to see who gets the best summer job, internship, or spot in a program. I know it doesn’t seem like it should matter what someone does during their summer. Besides, shouldn’t summer a time filled with pool parties, trips to the beach, and hanging out with friends? You couldn’t be more wrong. College summer are a crucial time for students to engage in experiences that will enhance their resumes, giving them the upper edge against other future employee applicants. 

While wanting to participate in experiences like these during the summer is not a bad thing at all, feeling required, compelled or inadequate if you don’t can perpetuate an unhealthy mindset. I’ve definitely found myself in this spiral many times. The summers after my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I did whatever I wanted during the summer. I played tennis, hung out with friends, and even did some summer classes and programs. But I did all of those things because I wanted to, not because I felt compelled or needed more college resume builders. 

(not my photo)

(not my photo)

However, something started to change as I got older. I don’t know exactly when my mindset changed, but suddenly, summers started to become all about how I was going to use them to make me better prepared to enter the work force. Maybe I got caught up in the competition of trying to land the best job/internship/program or maybe I felt like I would appear less capable or intelligent by not spending my free time doing something productive. No matter the reason, this thought process is now engrained in my mind, and I feel like minds of many other college students. 

(not my photo)

(not my photo)

Honestly, I think we should all take a minute and just breathe. Now I know that’s a difficult concept in our busy society, but I encourage you right now to close your eyes and take a deep breath. Think about what matters to you in life. When I close my eyes I think about happiness, fulfillment, and love. Whenever making decisions about your life, in this case, what to do during your summer, I think employing this little thought exercise can help you make the best decision. If doing a summer program or getting a job/internship is what interests you or makes you happy, then do it! I definitely don’t want to diminish the benefits that come from interning or working. But, if taking the summer off and making time for yourself makes you happy or is in your best interest, then there should be no shame in doing that either. Instead of putting all of our focus on being successful, I think we should start thinking about doing what’s best for our selves. Instead of competing with each other for the best job, we should be encouraging others to do what is best for them, not judging them because they decide not to make the same choices as you. 

(photo not mine)

(photo not mine)

In the end, learning to make choices that benefit you is the most important and difficult thing to do. Starting with the little things like making sure you get enough sleep, nourishing your body with healthy foods, and taking time to just relax during the day can make a huge difference. This coming semester, I am going to try and start putting myself first a little more. I don’t think it’s selfish to want to look after yourself. In fact, I think it’s something we could all do a little more. I hope this post has reminded you to take a little time for yourself today :)

Molly Waring