I know it might sound a little crazy, but I have never been away from the York University Campus for more than a couple of weeks.
Although I love school, after four years of undergrad I decided that before my 5th year began, I was finally going to take a break and have a school-free summer. Over the years as my friends travelled, worked or sat on the couch for four months, I was always in summer school. Sometimes it was to get ahead for the next semester, or because I decided to drop a course half-way through the semester. My friends thought I was crazy for never taking a break, but I always felt that I was wasting time if I wasn’t trying to move ahead in my degree. By the end of my fourth year, while I was once again sitting at my desk trying to re-read the same paragraph from my textbook for the fourth time, I realized that I had finally burnt myself out. The idea of sitting, studying and trying to focus for another semester to finish off my degree seemed like the logical route to take, but after a lot of thinking I decided it was time to take a break. So instead of graduating, I decided to stay a 5th year, and finally experience what a summer without school would be like.
To be honest, the first month was absolutely amazing. I woke up with an agenda of doing whatever I wanted. Without studying, class or any assignments, I spent the majority of May enjoying the warm weather in the backyard with my friends, or even alone with a good book. However, the excitement of doing absolutely nothing wore off fairly quickly, and I realized that having nothing to do all the time was very boring as well. That is when the job search began. Just as if I was doing school work, my full time assignment was job hunting. For weeks I sent out resumes and went to interviews, until I finally found a full time job.
Having always been a full time student, I never experienced what full time work felt like. It was strange going to work and coming home without any homework to do. Although I enjoyed what I was doing, working full time made me appreciate school in a very different way. Although I liked the freedom of having my evenings and weekends for myself, strangely enough I started to miss school. Even though school brought on so much stress, I began to miss the fast paced environment and learning. That’s when I really began to appreciate how much I enjoyed learning new things and being challenged.
It turned out that the break that I thought I needed to get away from school, really helped me realize how much I actually enjoy being a student, and brought a new kind of excitement and enthusiasm to starting my final semester!
I’m glad that I made the decision to take the summer off, and although I’m graduating later than my other peers, being away from school helped me learn that maybe I am a perpetual student at heart after all. I also learned that sometimes you have to take your time to figure out what it is you really like, and to try new things to give yourself a different perspective on life. What I thought would be my most unproductive summer, turned out to be my most productive one yet!