Summertime is special. Even if you’re working, there’s just something about the summer that feels like a break from the norm. Maybe it’s the warmer weather or the longer days. Whatever it is, it makes the summer seasons a refreshing time of year.
As many of you may know, I was offered a job at my campus this summer, and so instead of going home, I stayed on campus for the past three months. It was a new experience for me – even though I’d been away from home for over a month in the summer of 2017, it was much different to live on campus for the entire summer.
Between officially working full-time, living without a roommate, and buying actual groceries for the first time, I learned a lot these past few months. Since I shared a little bit about my summer experience last year, I thought it would be good to do it again as I close out this season and prepare for the new school year.
I learned that being a hermit isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
Once I took a class with a professor who told us about how he lived at the top of a mountain, almost completely off the grid, alone with his two cats. I thought to myself, “That sounds like the life.”
Turns out, I might not be cut out to be a hermit after all. For the first time since I started college, I had a dorm room to myself this summer. In a lot of ways, it was really nice – I had my own space, and I didn’t have to worry about accidently waking up my roommate when I got up early. I’m an introvert, so I enjoy time alone, and I’m pretty good at occupying myself during those times. But after a while, it got to be pretty lonely. I had a handful of friends on campus, but they were often busy with other obligations.
A few weeks into the summer, I realized that being alone all the time was taking its toll, and I decided to do something about it. I invited my floormates to come over for tea and game nights, which was a ton of fun. I started reaching out to other people I saw around campus. While I didn’t mind living alone, it was a good thing that I stopped being such a loner.
I learned that being kind goes a long way
When I started reaching out to other people, I decided I needed to be a little friendlier, too. I don’t consider myself rude, but I tend to do my own thing and leave other people alone. That wasn’t doing me any favors though, so I tried something different. I smiled at people and said hello to them, asked them about their day. They were just little things, but before long, I found some people I connected with.
I learned that there are people who enjoy spending time with me
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret – there are times when I get really insecure about being with other people. Sometimes I wonder if people actually enjoy spending time with me, or if they’re only doing it out of obligation. It’s not something I like to dwell on often, but it does cross my mind from time to time.
This summer, two of my friends traveled to come visit me at my school, which required them to travel for a few hours. It meant a lot to me to see that there were people who were willing to put in the effort to spend time with me, and didn’t do it out of obligation or convenience. To make a long story short, I felt really appreciated by my friends this summer, and that was uplifting.
I learned that not everything has to go according to plan
As I mentioned in another blog post, when my friends came to visit we had to make it up as we went along. For someone like me, who’s a huge planner, that was a little bit stressful. But as I mentioned then, the three of us had a really good time together, even when we didn’t have a “real plan.” I still prefer my schedules, but I think this is a step in the right direction.
I learned to say “you’re welcome”
I’m not really sure why, but I don’t usually take praise well. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but I find it easy to just say, “it was nothing” or “no big deal.” This summer, I had to relearn how to say “you’re welcome” and move on. There were times when the tasks I was working on didn’t seem like such a big deal to me, but I had to remind myself that they were important to the other person. It’s okay to accept a compliment!
I learned to treat myself
When you’re working the same job(s), eating the same lunch, doing the same thing every day, it can get a bit tedious after a while. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I’m doing, but there are always going to be days that are harder than others. I learned that I just need to treat myself sometimes, whether that means making myself a cup of my favorite tea at work, buying a lunch from the campus café, or going on a walk in the evening instead of going to the gym. They’re little things, sure, but they’re still special.