As another semester comes to a close, we creep closer to beginning our lives in the real world. No more summer breaks or putting off our work. No more choosing to be irresponsible without serious repercussions, not to mention a step even further away from the safety that our parents’ influence can provide in tough situations. Each day we grow closer to the adult world that lies ahead.
Now, the graduating senior class have completed their time and are about to make their first appearance on the stage of life. But for the rest of us, we have just a few precious years to enjoy ourselves and be free. College is the wonderful transition that allows us to live on our own without the difficulty (for the most part) of living on your own. And while we ought to be enjoying these years of bliss, with the occasional bit of schoolwork sprinkled in, where is the boundary between preparing for the future and enjoying the present?
Sometime during college, one must decide that it’s time to pass up daily trips to the beach for summer internships and multiple jobs in order to save for life after college. Shopping sprees with friends will be traded in for long days working at little more than minimum wage and a flood of applications at anything remotely related to one’s major. It’s a fine line, between being responsible and losing one’s freedom. And quite honestly, I have not a clue where that line is drawn.
Surely our professors and parents will urge us to work, to develop more skills, and utilize our free time in the summer to gain connections that will land us jobs following our graduation in a few years. It’s frugal and makes sense, especially with unemployment numbers at their current rates. We need to prepare for the real world as much as we possibly can.
But does it reach a point at which we’re worrying too much about those days and not enjoying enough of our delightful college years? Should we be passing up some of these academic and career-based opportunities to just have fun? It’s a lose-lose situation in which there seems to be no right answer. While working is practical, so is being young. We only get to do this once, but we have ages to work. The problem is determining where one ends and the other begins.
I’m certainly not advising that the entirety of the KSC community drop their part-time jobs and forget all of their school work. It simply wouldn’t be productive and would do us all harm. But before applying for an internship and looking for a second job this summer, we have to take a step back and think about whether or not these are opportunities we can absolutely not miss, or if we are instead merely being ambitious. It if is only the latter, we should reconsider determining whether or not we’re robbing ourselves of our youth.
This is the age in which we are hyper-motivated and constantly working. We’re speeding directly into a workforce that is going to require our undying attention at all times. And while that’s become a reality of the current world, it doesn’t have to seep into our final years of little worry. We can prepare for it and begin to make the transition, but we may equally be able to put it off just one more summer in order to enjoy the last bit of freedom we have with our friends.
Allie Bedell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org