When the spring 2016 semester came to a much anticipated close, campus and student housing parking lots—once filled past maximum capacity—became nearly vacant. The Sombrilla and JPL, uncharacteristically quiet.
Summer is finally upon us. Well for some, anyway. Some students, myself included, will not be going on vacation or even returning to our hometowns. Commitments, be it jobs, internships or summer courses, ground many university students for a period of time we took for granted: summer break.
In the simplest of terms, it’s just a part of growing up. As students inch closer towards their degrees, the thought of relaxing at home is equated to stagnation, rather than progression.
A week after finals had concluded, I went back to my hometown for a few days before diving back into my on-campus job and preparing for my semester abroad.
The salty, dry breeze, unbearable humidity and fervent heat were all familiar; I spent the first eighteen years of my life tolerating it. What felt alien was the time itself: I hadn’t had an actual break from school or work since I was fourteen. Balancing high school and several summer jobs set a direction from which I never strayed; I had forgotten what it was like to have no responsibilities for any extended period of time.
Going back to your hometown, other than when visiting parents, always seems to be in pursuit of the past. It can never be reclaimed, so you go through the motions, hoping that the movements will conjure some muscle memory. No matter how many times I replayed “Magic” by The Cars, went 100+mph on the Queen Isabella Causeway or loitered behind the café I frequented with my closest high school friends, it wasn’t the same.
I immediately left South Padre Island once this epiphany came to me. Too much freedom can derail even the most ardent student.
So to those of you who couldn’t go on a well-deserved vacation, or make it back home, don’t sweat it. Utilize the summers constructively; UTSA and San Antonio are home to numerous ways to kill free time and simultaneously progress. Think of it as keeping the momentum—a consistent movement without the distractions of yesteryear.