As a kid, the holidays were great.
No school for several weeks, having a valid excuse to binge on ice cream because it’s summer and it’s soooooo hot mum!...you catch my drift. The summer holidays were literally the highlight of the entire year as a child—at least, to me it was.
But now, things have changed. Just a little bit. Even though I still enjoy a much-welcome break after an intense period of uni, I don’t feel as much excitement these days. If anything, the thought of summer is accompanied with a sense of weariness. Why? Because here’s the hard-hitting truth: as a uni student, more often than not, we simply don’t have the luxury to have fun 24/7 anymore. Yeah, sure, some of us actually do go overseas and live it up during this period—but let’s be honest, it’s not for the whole summer break. It seems as though growing up is accompanied by the stigma of always having to be productive—or at the very least, spending the entire two months’ break simply chilling isn’t going to cut it anymore (regrettably).
Instead, we work. A lot of us will be at our part time jobs, internships, or volunteering in the summer. For those of you nearing graduation, working and gaining experience is more important than ever. It might be because of your family, it might be peer pressure from seeing the rest of your cohort stressing over job applications, or it might just be self-pressure of wanting to prepare yourself for getting into the workforce. And even if you’re not about to graduate, during Christmas or New Years’ Eve, there are still some of us working till the last minute, drawn to the allure of double pay. While work can be interesting at times, in certain industries such as retail or hospitality, the hours will accumulate until you’re just below the full-timer’s set 38 hours a week. Your bank account will definitely be happy, but working practically non-stop definitely shows how different our ‘holidays’ are spent nowadays.
And that’s not all. Just when you thought you’d escaped classes for a while, summer school appears. Granted, not everyone does summer school but for those that do, it’s a commendable feat. Especially this year, since trimesters mean that we finish in mid-December rather than November as per previous years, there is only a short window to enjoy the summer break before hitting the books again. There are a range of reasons on why students want to enrol in courses over the summer, such as wanting to graduate faster. Again, this goes back to the notion of keeping busy over the holiday period. At first, it may seem weird upon realising that our concept of a ‘break’ has transitioned into just another opportunity for us to arduously labour. It was for me at any rate. But my epiphany about the ‘reverse’ side of our typically long-acclaimed summer holidays hasn’t sunk me into an abyss of despair, and adding yet another lament in the #adulting list. Contrarily, I began to appreciate just how dedicated we uni students are at hustling our way through society. So shout out to all of us who have to work, study, or might possibly be doing both these holidays. While the summer hols might not always entail actual holidaying now as per the traditional sense—I reckon we should be proud of ourselves. The pure diligence and unwavering attitude we have towards life is highly admirable, no matter how you look at it. We can always snag a Golden Gaytime or two during our breaks while we toil away at our jobs or notes—we’re adults now after all!