Photo courtesy of Sean MacEntee

All Work and No Play?

As the graduation sod was laid and tulips were planted, students shuffled from their last classes of the semester to their respective finals season caves. Soon after, when the last of April’s leftover showers coated the campus, freedom rang and summer began, leading students to go their separate ways for the break. Many graduates and homesick alike returned home for the summer months. For some of these eagles, programs and job opportunities awaited them in their hometowns. But a great deal of eagles opted to stay on or around campus for the summertime to complete jobs or internships.

Summer internships enable students to cultivate important skills and techniques to help them in future endeavors, many of which they cannot experience in the classroom. But are these summer plans the only beneficial way to spend a break?

For nearly nine months out of the year, college students are immersed in classes, clubs, sports, volunteer work, and other extra-curricular activities. Trying to balance all of these things, on top of efforts to maintain friendships and a semi-normal sleep schedule is nearly impossible; one would think that summer break is the perfect opportunity to rest and recuperate from the strenuous school year.

But the summer “break” for many is hardly a break at all. Internships hold a sort of social clout among college students. And internship gifts those who flaunt its (sometimes) undeserved rhetorical prestige with a form of social capital that ignites envy and admiration in peers. Thus there is unbelievable pressure at BC to be able to say that you have an internship or resume-boosting job for the summer. This pressure persists over the entire year. Students overwork themselves in order to primp and polish their resumes with club positions and volunteer hours. In all this work, are hobbies properly tended to?

Most millennials cannot see the art in learning new hobbies just for fun’s sake. Earlier this spring, BC psychology department Associate Chair and Undergraduate Program Director, Michael Moore, spent one afternoon talking to his Intro to Psychology as a Social Science class about how he is saddened by his observations that students no longer participate in miscellaneous activities. He spoke about his time in college - how it was not filled solely with impressive, academic achievements - and classes that he took over his summer breaks. The classes were not traditionally academic but, instead, classes for guitar, stained glass making, and even bartending.

Summer activities like this allow students to grow beyond the classroom or a summer job. More importantly, taking the summertime to engage in relaxing activities allow students to recuperate from the past year, and prepare them for the year to come.

The summer is a perfect time for the activities that you wanted to participate in during the school year, but never had the time to do. Time can be spent doing leisurely activities, lounging with family, exploring with friends, traveling, and more. The benefits of an internship are undeniable, but the joy in a summer spent in pursuit of simple pleasures mustn’t be forgotten. 

Comments