It’s a Cruel, Cruel Summer: When May’s Plans Become June Regrets

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Four months without the burden of classes and studying is like vacationing in the Bahamas and contemplating never coming back again. Unlike my previous years spent wading into a mass of Days of Our Lives and pizza rolls, I had to make a difference this summer before the scary, yet oh-so-worth it, cap and gown fell into my lap. Senior year was knocking at my door, and if I opened it too soon, the real world would come waltzing through unapologetically. Sure, this would be my last summer to live young, wild, and lazy, but what I needed most was experience to solidify the bright future I wanted after three years of all-nighters and 30-page research papers.

In my eyes, a dream summer meant packing my bags and hopping on the next plane out of Michigan. After spending the past three summers in the same place, the only way you could get me to stay is if you sedated me and strapped me down. A change of pace ─ somewhere like New York or California ─ was all I needed to start my dreams. When I closed my eyes, I was on the streets of Manhattan waving my fingers to hail a cab, or drinking Starbucks decked out in designer shades on Rodeo Drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landing the perfect internship was the key to becoming that starlet. Since I’m still figuring out what I want to do, my interests scattered between writing, TV production and even marketing. Indecisively, I applied to anything that seemed even slightly interesting, writing countless cover letters and going through dozens of interviews. Several interviews and a few HR calls later, my nerves scrambled as I’d hoped to get the call that would mark the beginning of my incredible summer.

Waking from this daydream as the real summer quickly approached was like waking up at 11 a.m. for a 10 a.m. final, not having even picked up a flash card. From focusing so much on what could happen outside of Michigan, I failed to focus on what was keeping me here: my rent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With no sublease options, reality slapped me hard in the face. I had to keep working at my job on campus and take classes to continue paying my summer rent. My phone rang with some offers and my inbox filled with  rejections, yet because of bills, I had to push it all aside to grudgingly stay in Michigan. The pain of turning down dream offers in New York and California was the splash of cold water that woke me up to a disappointing reality.

Eventually, (and believe me it took some time), I came to accept the path caused by destiny and my landlord.  Who needs a perfect summer anyway? I mean… yeah, a new city is nice and working your way up the corporate ladder like an episode of The Office is okay, but what’s any of that compared to another summer at school?

These positive affirmations run through my head as I work to come to terms with the cards that I’ve been dealt. Instead of  the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new one. Funny work friends, laid-back class and unexpected opportunities have turned a seemingly dull summer into my last hurrah before graduation. My undergraduate years are winding down, and the time I have to be a self-described kid and carefree Netflix fiend will soon be a thing of the past. I might as well sit back, relax and hit “Next Episode” while I still have time.

 

Erika is a senior Communication Studies major at the University of Michigan. She enjoys reading, photography and binge-watching A Different World on Netflix.

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