The Last Summer

I know what you’re thinking:

Where in the world has JHU_Allison been?!

Playing with stingrays?
Playing with stingrays?

A more appropriate question to ask is where in the world haven’t I been.

Maybe I’m exaggerating. (I’m definitely exaggerating.) But suffice it to say that I have done more with this summer than the past twenty combined. I’ve powered through my most incredible internship to date, scored an awesome role in a hilarious musical, and made some big steps in the direction of where I want to be—professionally, mentally, spiritually, whatever—in the terrifying ether of post-graduation. But more on that later.

Today is not about power plays, career goals, or job applications. There are a thousand terrifying tomorrows for that. Today, smack dab in the middle of the end of summer, is a college senior’s call-to-action. Or perhaps, more aptly, a call-to-inaction.

You see, this is my last summer. **duh duh duuuuuuuh** Really though, that revelation was just as awful as it sounds. Growing up, summer is about as unimpeachable a right as speech or, I don’t know, breathing. It is a time of popsicles and pool parties, vacation and relaxation. It’s what keeps you going all year round, the end to every mean, the sparkly, sunny light at the end of the tunnel. Even a mega-nerd like yours truly would spend my winters locked in high school daydreaming about the sweeter, simpler time to come.

And now it’s all coming to an end. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but it’s true. If there’s anything that my three summers in college have taught me, it’s that they don’t exist in the real world. Not like they used to. And that’s normal and okay and cost-effective or whatever, but it’s also a loss that everyone has to face at some point. I think it first dawned on me during the age-old internship scramble the spring of my sophomore year. Never again would my summers be free and special and isolated from the pressures of adult life. In so many ways, it’s a good thing. In so many ways, I’m itching to get out of this incubation period and start my life. In so many ways, summer comes to an end exactly when you’re ready for it to.

But also, at the same time, I want to be poolside at 2pm, eating a snowball. I want to have never filled out a tax form in my life.

Read: on the beach
Read: I want to be on the beach

I’ve managed a more feasible interpretation of that dream this summer. In an effort to salvage my last, I took the contradictory images of ~important real-world work experience~ and ~summer vacation~ and smashed them together as best as I could. Yes, I worked 40-hour weeks, but I also sailed the Caribbean with my family, made impulsive purchases on the Ocean City boardwalk, and visited my darling roommate’s “stompin’ grounds.” I ate food that was bad for me, went on swoon-worthy dates, and binge-watched reality TV shows. Maybe I wasn’t sleeping until noon. But I’ve truly had the summer of my life, and I have the memories and tan lines to prove it.

So here’s my much-delayed call-to-inaction, and it goes out to all of you prospective students who are already desperate to be the older, smarter versions of yourselves. Slow your dang roll. Stop and smell the summer. I firmly believe that any minute you spend bored is a minute wasted, but be good to yourself. Go on adventures with your friends, pull all-nighters for the fun of it (those don’t exist in college), invest time and energy into something for no reason other than it makes you happy.

Trust me, the rest can wait.

Don't forget to enjoy the view. <3
Don’t forget to enjoy the view. <3