Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Lovely, temperate, and...nonexistent?
This year, it seems even summer is taking a vacation because I can't seem to find my sunglasses—or my sense of fun—anywhere. Not that I'll need either of them this summer.
As the school year draws to a close, why do I find myself worrying more about which summer assignment to prioritize than which days to go to the beach? Laden with textbooks, papers, and an ever-growing sense of anxiety, my summer could not seem to be more doomed.
Sure, you might find me at the pool, but more likely than not, my homework will be with me. It might look as though I am socialising, but in reality, I'm only asking friends which novel they analyzed for the summer reading assignment.
Summer should be long and glorious, a season of students exploring their interests, hanging out and relaxing. Instead, I'm stuck in my room, wrapped up in the mind-boggling world of physics and bonding with my government textbook.
This is not what the movies have promised me from a high school summer. It is a far cry from the idyllic summers my parents used to have. I can go swimming at the pool—but not for too long, because I have 7 chapters of literature to read tonight. If this is being what an adult feels like I'd like a one-way ticket to Neverland, please.
At this point, I may as well abandon all pretenses of a "summer vacation" and just go on a "summer staycation" in my home office. It seems the only trip I'm taking is through the eyes of my assigned reading book's protagonist.
The increasingly competitive standards of education have driven me to the edge of Mt. Doom. As a student with high hopes, I feel a mounting pressure to take on as many honors and AP classes as possible for my senior year. So while my GPA gets higher, my workload gets heavier, and my vitamin D count gets lower.
Countless college counsellors have advised me to do something with my last summer before the college admissions process begins. If attending a leadership camp, taking a college level summer course, and finishing my own summer homework constitutes as doing something, then I suppose I'm spending summer correctly.
And yet, the constant stress I feel does not point towards my use of summertime as a crowning monument of dedication. Rather, my expectations for a typical Hollywood-style, sun-filled summer have been deflated, trampled on, and fished out of the recycling bin to be used as calculus scratch paper.
I've been told that students these days suffer from a condition of constant complaining and self-entitlement. But who wouldn't be, when we never can seem to catch a (summer) break?
Catherine is a high school junior in Southern California who enjoys candle-lit dinners in foreign restaurants, long walks in new countries, building friendships, making Oscar-worthy Youtube videos, and, of course, writing. As the editor of Arts & Entertainment for her school's newspaper and a journalist for the LA Times's High School Insider, Catherine lives in an ideal world of words and diverse student culture that is absolutely (well, almost) devoid of math (and other soul-sucking things).