Garrison: It’s time to carpe diem

Zac Garrison Senior from Franklin, Ky.

Alice Cooper couldn’t have said it better; “School’s out for summer.”

Whether or not you have something big and important planned for this summer, or you plan to just coast by and lay by the pool, you’re more than likely excited to be done with finals. You worked hard this semester. Don’t worry, you deserve it.

Here is the question that has plagued every one of us since we first discovered what Summer Break actually is. What on earth am I going to do with all this free time? When I think of it, I still get that giddy feeling I experienced when I was eight and realized that you actually could play Pokemon for ten hours straight.

College students are constantly stressed about classes, grades and most of us have part-time or full-time jobs to stretch ourselves even thinner.

Summer break is looked forward to like the light at the end of the tunnel and it can never come quick enough.

Summer Break is kind of bittersweet, though. All your best friends head back to their respective hometowns, are spread apart throughout the states (or world) and the only real communication you get with them is the occasional Skype conversation or the standard “I miss you” text message.

Not only that, we all go home and have to see all the kids we went to high school with, and more likely than not, that is not a pleasant experience.

The real question is: how are you going to utilize your time during these few sacred months? These months of no school, if utilized effectively, can put you ahead of the curb of your peers and help strengthen your career once you get out of college.

Of course there is always time to sit around and simply vegetate, but try to make something of this time where your daily commitments are at an all-time low.

Most of us groan at the idea of a summer job, but there are quite a few positive aspects of working your way through summer. First off, the extra money never hurts. Since most of us are living back home with our parents who house and feed us, we make a solid chunk of cash with minimal expenses. A lot of this excess income can be thrown into a savings account to help counteract the fate of being a broke college kid day in and day out.

Working a job over summer also helps make sure you don’t create a trend of lethargic behavior for yourself. It’s so easy to fall into a spiraling cycle of sleeping late, Netflix marathons and 3 a.m. McDonald’s runs, but how are these going to benefit you in the future?

I’m not saying never do any of that. Those three things are vital pillars of life, but only in moderation. We are all at a critical point in our lives where we need to begin to tackle the responsibilities of being an adult, yet retain our spirit of youth. It’s a challenging balance to achieve.

Try to find a job in your major. This way, during summer, you are getting real work experience in your future area of work while beefing up your resume. So many college kids get stuck in the “experience-required” catch 22 upon graduation.

Every employer says that the position requires previous experience in the field, but how can you get any experience when all the jobs require previous experience? It’s a devastating complex that makes most college grads feel like they’re walking down death row instead of walking up the stairs to get their diploma.

Look for internships – these opportunities take your resume from zero to hero. They are mostly at larger companies and can be pretty specific to a major or area. They are great ways to get experience in the field you are looking to enter, and real world training in your future environment can really shed light on whether or not you are on the right career path.

Most people go their whole college career with a major that has an interesting curriculum, but honestly, they have no idea how the field is after college and are not prepared for the real world. For instance, accounting majors slave over the challenging courses and classroom demands only to realize that they hate being an accountant their first day on the job.

This happens more than most people realize with careers that involve entirely new experiences every single day (i.e. engineering, accounting, etc.) The reasoning is that college gives us the tools and teaches us how to use them, but being able to apply them to every situation is difficult for some people who are overwhelmed and feel like they aren’t trained for certain experiences.

Like I said, you worked hard. You did what was required (and then some), studied hard, took the tests and made it through another semester of higher education – good for you. Now, are you going to use all that hard work you did as an excuse to be lazy? You wanted free time all year and now you have it. Are you going to let Netflix automatically play the next episode for the 18th time, or are you going to make something of your summer?

In a world where it’s so easy to blend in and take the easy road, people are attracted to individuals who stand out. So jump on your desk and quote Walt Whitman. Rip pages out of a book. Do something with the time you have. It’s up to you to truly seize the day.

 

Column by Zac Garrison, Junior from Franklin, Ky.