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Starting our lives, but losing our summers

I always hated summer.

I know that that puts me solidly in the minority of children, for whom I generally consider summers to be filled with rays of sunshine, dips in the pool, friendship, freedom and laughter.

I had my fair share of all of those during the summers of my youth, of course, though my focus on academics also landed me inside and alone a fair amount of the time, studying the textbooks of the year that was to come so I could come out ahead of my classmates when school started in the fall. 

But as an extrovert who thrives off of being surrounded by people, summers were boring for me; the first day of school was the best every year, back among the people with whom I belonged.

Now I’m entering my senior year of college, and suddenly, it seems like everyone around me now shares the mindset I always had during childhood. My friends’ Instagram stories are full of longing for ye olde Brick karaoke nights, roommate squabbles and study movie nights of lore. 

With our first day of the 2022-2023 school year rapidly approaching, the student body’s thirst to return to the hallowed red brick halls of Oxford is growing more and more unquenchable. 

Personally, I’m on the fence, for once. Sure, I want to get back to Miami, to classes and study rooms, to Pulley omelets and Bagel & Deli, to country night and The Miami Student. (Shameless plug.) But I am starting senior year, and the oncoming final year of college is, not to mince words, terrifying. The longer it takes to start, the longer it takes to end, right?

Plus, this has been the best summer of my life — I’m finishing up the last weeks of an immersive language learning experience in Vermont, and it hurts to know by the time this article is published, it will be over. My summer has been full of Portuguese language and culture lessons, singing and dancing, trips to the lake, hikes up the Vermont mountains, late-night adventures and the friendship, freedom and laughter I so craved during childhood midsummers. I’m even writing this article from a chic little Vermont coffee shop, sipping on a frozen lavender lemonade and working side by side with my best friends.

It’s picture-perfect, and I don’t want this summer to end. 

My own love for the summer of ‘22 got me wondering, though — I understand wanting to get back to the most beautiful campus that ever there was, but why do college students so romanticize the ending of summer and beginning of school when all we did growing up was dread it?

The answer that I have found has come from my own friends and their experiences with summer. Those that seem to be texting me the most about how they can’t wait for school to roll around, about how bored they are and about how they wish we were all back at Miami already, aren’t doing so just because they miss Miami. 

They miss Miami because they’re bored with their summers, just like I was at times as a child.

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Most of them have internships or jobs they can’t wait to end. After all, when you’re sitting in a cramped cubicle researching screws or staring dead-eyed into your computer camera on Zoom meetings for eight hours a day, suddenly the promise of late nights on the brick roads of Oxford seems a lot more enticing. 

Or they’re tired of their families, of sharing a room again with their little sister or driving their siblings everywhere because they become the family chauffeur the moment they return home. Roommate squabbles pale in comparison to family ones, and suddenly you can’t wait to yell at your roommate for leaving their dirty dishes in the sink for one day too long or bringing over unannounced guests again. 

In retrospect, it seems simple. If you love your summer, you won’t want it to end. If you hate your summer, school can’t come fast enough.

As I enter my senior year, though, I’m glad I had one last great summer in college. After all, we might be losing our summers to internships and the rapidly approaching onset of the real lives we’re beginning to start, but we’re still college students. I’m still a college student — for one more year. And I’m determined to make the most of that.

Happy school year, Miami. Let’s make the 2022-2023 school year the best one yet.