The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Lessons Learned: A Reflection on Summertime

reflection

This is joy, this is summer…

Ahh, summertime. The season of sunshine, freedom, growth, and for students like myself, a time to reflect.

Summertime during grade school always felt like a magical release from the evil that was homework. Life became simpler from mid-June to early September. Days spent at the pool or in summer camp turned into nightly campfires with your best friends. Sunlight let you play pickup basketball or “manhunt” late into dusk. Summer lasted an eternity. It was the good life.

As a junior in college, I had the pleasure of holding onto some of those moments while living at home this summer. Though college separated us during most of the year, and jobs and internships kept us busy for most of the day, many of my friends were still living locally and I had the opportunity to hang out with them often, allowing more memories to be made and laughter to be shared. Though I cherish this summer as another opportunity to hang with my childhood friends for a few months, the realization that I really only have one summertime left in my academic career hits home.

Sooner rather than later, my best friends and I will depart our childhood homes, moving away to various cities and towns, unable to hold onto the proximity that we shared with one another for much of our lives. We’ll work full-time jobs, settle down, and eventually start families of our own. It’s a sad reality that we have to face—and, fortunately, haven’t had to face yet. But with that reality is the chance to look back and reflect on what I’ve learned over my summertimes growing up.

I attended camp as a kid where I would foster my love for comedy and video production, making some of my best friends along the way. Throughout high school and into my first few years of college, I turned what I learned from camp into lessons for others, teaching video production classes of my own. But outside of camp and work, I learned to cherish my freedom, challenge myself in new ways and, most importantly, live in the moment. Whether it be traveling during my time off, or participating in competitions such as the 48-Hour Film Festival Providence, like I have over the past several summers, I’d like to think I made the most of my time off to try new things, learn, and overall have an engaging summer experience.

Obviously, I’ll never be able to relive the summers I’ve had. But even as I transition into becoming a full-time adult—perhaps the biggest learning curve of college—I’ll always think of summertime as the time of year to embrace my childhood. I’m not entirely done with summer break just yet—I’ll still have one more between junior and senior year—but I’m glad I realized my appreciation for summertime before it was all over. And I encourage you to do the same. You may appreciate summer a lot right now as it is, but taking time to reflect on how lucky you are to have the time off with maybe some of your favorite people is truly a blessing. I’m sure I’ll be busy a lot next summer working at an internship, but I’ll be sure to soak up what’s left of my childhood summers, holding on to that melancholic feeling as summertime—and maybe a bit more symbolically, my childhood—ends. Because summer’s not as long as it used to be…

(This article opens and closes with lyrical quotes from ‘Skyline To’ by popular R&B artist Frank Ocean.)