Thursday, June 17, 2010


I marvel at the carefree summer days my youngest siblings are enjoying and every now and then I get a glimpse of what that used to look like for me.  It's been a while; that's for certain.  I can't help but reflect on how my view of summer "break" has changed throughout the past several years.  

Up through elementary school and junior high, my summers were filled with trips to the beach and public pool with my mom, siblings, and fourteen additional neighborhood kids in tow.  I survived on red licorice and trail mix, and cherished the long afternoons that I could lay on the couch with all the doors open and a breeze blowing through the house and loose myself in a book for hours at a time.  

As a fourteen-year-old, I was going into my freshman year of high school and excited about having made the school's Dance Team.  Summer was still fun, but not nearly as relaxing.  I was still competing in gymnastics, so my morning practices would get out and then I'd have a few hours to do all the things fourteen-year-old girls love to do before Dance Team practice in the evenings.  It was everything I could have asked for.  I thrived on the hard work, constant movement, and physical exhaustion.

Everything changed right after my fifteenth birthday.  I left high school and started attending the community college.  I transitioned from a happy-go-lucky child to a young woman with serious goals.  I decided I wanted to study abroad for a year, and knew I would have to work almost every day of the next year and a half to earn the money for my trip.  But my eyes were set on the prize and I happily took up three jobs that summer, waking up energized every morning after dreaming of sipping latte's on the French Riviera all night.  I was going places and life was more exciting than ever.

That enthusiasm carried over through the year and into the next summer.  It was June 2007 and I had just finished an amazing school year in Brussels.  I loved my host family and was cherishing the last weeks I would get to spend as one of the kids.  I left for Bosnia with my scout pack and learned while I was on the trip that I had been hired to work for a prestigious political think tank in D.C.  Summer felt so good!  I was charged up with anticipation for everything that was to come.

The summer I was eighteen I left Australia and headed to China for a month.  The travel bug lived on and I had a bad case of it.  That might have been the most humid, sticky summer, but nevertheless full of fascinating adventures. 

Last summer was just plain exhausting.  I didn't feel like I even got a summer at all.  Probably because I didn't.  Just two weeks after spring finals, I left on the 40 States in 40 Days trip.  When I returned in July, I had just two weeks to write six 2,500 word essays before moving into the dorm and starting training for my job as an RA.  That summer was mentally and physically demanding and I was exhausted before the school year even started.  

This summer is a conglomeration of everything that came before.  It started with an amazing month-long road trip (which you'll hear more about soon).  Although it was a bit tiring, this blissful 28 days left me with the impression that I had really "lived it up" this summer and had me eager to get back to work.  I have an ambitious but exciting thesis to work on this summer; the usual gamut of internships, scholarships and study abroad programs to apply for; two online accounting classes to get out of the way; a new gym membership; and a plethora of French and Russian novels calling my name.  I started to get bogged down yesterday by everything I hope to accomplish by the end of the summer, but woke up this morning thankful for the eight weeks that remain free from the constant deadlines and meetings that clog up my semesters.  

So I'm enjoying the warm weather and chugging on....I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....


  1. Wow.

    That's all I can say.


    I was never that motivated. Some small voice, which I have had to learn to ignore, always said, "Eric, you know you're not quite good enough for that..." It was a strange combination of self-abasing pride and laziness, I think. I'm just glad you didn't inherit that from me. I'm pretty sure I have your mother to thank for that!


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