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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Summer: a time for creative renewal

I once spent a whole summer watching Family Guy, eating microwaveable chicken nuggets and drinking Kool-Aid. Relaxing during the summer is something I’m good at — perhaps too good at.

To me, yes, summer is a time to kick up your heels or to lounge around the house in the same clothes you slept in, but I also think that summer is a time to embrace the life that has been smothered by school stresses and the academic work cycle.

I’ve been working on a novel for almost five years, starting and restarting and scrapping everything and changing names and places and plot points. I haven’t done even the slightest bit of work on the novel since I came to Guilford.

I won’t lie and say that it is solely because of studies, because I doubt anyone would believe that. I spend time with friends. My time gets sucked away into Facebook and YouTube and watching “Doctor Who” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” on Netflix online.

Nevertheless, writing is something that is important to me.

I’ve heard art majors complain about how difficult it is to find time to do personal art because of all of the academic requirements and assignments.

Sometimes, you just want to power-doodle in the sketch book that, for a while, was something of a Holy Bible to you, but has since become little more than a paperweight.

Summer is a time to listen to those urges.

Free range. No requirements. Just you, your hands, and the vast vat of artistic brain sludge that has accumulated throughout the academic season.

Perhaps I’ll work on that novel. Or write a song using the seven chords I know on guitar. Heck, maybe I’ll even learn an eighth. Maybe I’ll draw an epic war between a massive marshmallow alligator and a small but tightly knit guerrilla troop of panda warlords.

You’ve been holding your breath for months. Summer is when you can let it out.

Still, though, many of us want to schedule all of our time and hold our breath even longer until the school year starts again. Internships. Jobs. Whatever. We pack so much into our off-season that we completely forget that there’s this whole chunk of our personality and world that has been neglected.

On the other hand, sometimes we completely forget about our schedules. We forget what day of the week it is or even what month it is and turn into a bucket of jelly in front of the television or computer screen.
Both mindsets have their own benefits. Work and scheduling brings money and experience. Lounging brings peace and relaxation. But we mustn’t forget that there is more to us than work and play. There is playful work.

For months you’ve wanted to go biking in the park, but you never got around to it. By the end of the summer, you realize, not even once have you actually gotten up to go for that bike ride. Sure, you emptied your DVR of all those shows you recorded or you’ve got another item to put on your resume, but how much progress have you made?

Are you any happier? Maybe. Could you be happier? Probably.

Most importantly, is that happiness in your control? A lot of times, the answer is yes.

There’s nothing wrong with lounging and there’s nothing wrong with work, but it is nevertheless important to remember who you are and to use this time to embrace all of your talents and make the most of the summer.

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  • Z

    Zachary ThomasSep 15, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    One of the greatest written pieces on summer I have ever read. Literally read this two years ago and I come back to it still to serve as a focal point for summer reflections.