The six stages of summer break

December 27, 2016
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Summer is such a celebrated part of Australian culture, you’d think we invented it. But for uni students, it’s an especially important time. As the earth’s southern hemisphere tips precipitously toward the sun, so do our overburdened minds slide toward ever greater visions of raucousness.

But what goes up must come down, and even if you don’t make it to Dream World this summer, you’ll still have to ride the rollercoaster of your own emotions.

Freedom

No lectures, no tutes, no halitosis-plagued public transport commute. Summer break is a much-needed respite from the rigours of learning things – and you’ve earnt it. It’s totally acceptable to blow a full week or two simply laying around the house while your brain un-cramps.

Eventually, though, you’ll start to wonder: what to do with your new-found freedom? Well, according to those carpe diem memes your relatives keep sharing on Facebook, you should probably commit to a serious exercise regimen and apply for an internship, and isn’t it time you learned Photoshop or something?

Debauchery

Of course, a far easier way to seize the day is just to sign up to every gathering, party, and pub crawl in your events list and spend the next few weeks racking up 2am Uber fares and working on your beer pong average.

People in the full throes of the debauchery stage can usually be found hugging strangers at bars, tweeting about their grand love for nachos from rained-out tents at music festivals, or chugging beer while secretly longing for alcopops.

Boredom

Alas, as we all learn (and inevitably forget), the party lifestyle is an inefficient machine that runs on money and brain cells. Eventually the parade of benders takes its toll, and your social calendar slows down to coffee dates and Netflix.

But now your schedule, recently freed from the demands of post-academic-year socialising, is suddenly full of holes. This is the danger zone where your free time becomes a sucking vortex filled with TV binges, video games and glass-eyed internet browsing.

Victims of this stage will typically be found lying on a couch in a state of semi-consciousness, surrounded by remote controls and fragments of Doritos while the DVD menu for Scrubs loops in the background.

New hobbies

Feeling the need to pull yourself out of this rut and get back into the groove, you decide to take up some more constructive activities to occupy your time. Ultimate Frisbee is a popular choice, as is hiking. Whatever makes you feel like the well-adjusted young person you pretend to be at family gatherings.

Crisis of academia

After see-sawing between Wolf of Wall Street abandon and sloth-like potatoism, you’re finally approaching something that resembles a normal adult lifestyle. Time to enjoy the rest of the break in a healthy and measured way, right?

Hell no – it’s time for an existential crisis!

I mean, do you really need to go back to uni? Sure, you might not become a doctor like you wanted, but couldn’t you make a living working at a pharmacy – or, I don’t know, selling drugs to high school students? Anything but another chapter, another test, another night forging reference dates to make it look like you didn’t start the essay three hours before deadline.

Preparation

So the last couple weeks of break roll around, and – much to your dismay – you’ve neither deferred your course nor become suddenly and absurdly wealthy. Oh well, at least you’re going to smash uni this year.

You’re going to get your books early, start your readings and roll up to your first lecture knowing every fucking thing. You’re going to buy proper notebooks this time, and finally figure out how to make use of those Post-it bookmark thingies.

On the other hand, the cost of your first textbook is exactly the same as that end-of-summer pub crawl…

Joel Svensson

Business major, journalism minor and freelance writer, Joel pretends to be clever at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

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