As a cool and gentle breeze sweeps by on a beautiful sunny morning, I am reminded that once more the time of the year is upon us when most Saginaw Valley students have fled all concerns of term papers and final exams and are comfortably at home, enjoying their summer vacation. Days and nights pass by like a blur as we enjoy barbecues, reconnecting with old friends who attend distant universities, and the beautiful lakeside beaches that offer us a refreshing dip on a hot day. It is strange how these days are so easily ignored. In fact, up until last week, I was already treading on that old familiar path so many of us go down: the fall semester countdown.
In due time, we all begin to miss the old comforts of Saginaw Valley and the friends we’ve come to make there. Summer jobs and internships that started off incredibly fun begin to become a drab reminder of the life of a college student. Incoming freshman may already be counting down the days until they arrive and finally begin their college experience and leave their old hometown lives behind them.
As time goes by, these summer days get shorter every day as our entire focus shifts to the upcoming year and what we plan to make of it. Some may spend every summer vacation doing this right up until they graduate, but in reality, it is something we all need to move past as quickly as possible, and if you are an incoming freshmen, it is a habit you should never start. Until tragedy struck me and opened my eyes, the boring days of summer seemed to truly be the longest days I had faced in my life.
Despite the fun I was having and the relaxing break it offered from the non-stop pace of the school year, summer vacation just seemed to delay the constant activity that campus life offers. I would lie to myself about the ease of next year’s courses and the amount of free time I would have upon my return. Despite the homework and studying that can weigh upon a college life, I simply could not wait for the new academic year to start and my life to begin all over again. It took a death in my family for me to realize how terrible this habit truly is and how it can come to harm all of us in the long run
After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, my grandmother passed away June 4 and, just like that, I found myself looking backwards instead of looking ahead. Every day of my life was laid in front of me, and it became suddenly apparent how much time I had wasted waiting for those slow and dragging days of summer to end, not just in college but in high school as well. Every day we attempt to rush through to get to the next is wasted, lost to time itself as we run blindly forward.
For a while, I had no idea how to repair my error and avoid making this same mistake again. It was not until after the funeral that I came to realize the answer wasn’t to avoid or repair anything, but to move forward at the pace of time itself and appreciate what I was given each day, actively striving to make the most of it. No one can turn back the clock to grasp the time they’ve lost, but they can make the most of every bit they are given. This is the simple lesson I learned from my grandma’s passing and hope to pass on as these summer days carry onward.
Once college is finished, summer vacations are a thing of the past. Some may reach that milestone before realizing this simple truth and will have spent those few vacations they had waiting for them to end. Do not let this become your fate as well. Live your life to the fullest. Feel free to be excited for the coming school year as it grows closer but do not forget to enjoy the time you have between now and then.