Summers are for self-care, listening to mom

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By Sydney Wood, buzz Editor

By now, we’re about a month into summer break, and my social media feed is full of people’s vacations, Sunday brunches and other summertime outings. I often find myself envying the adventures that others are having. From trips to Spain to camping trips in other states, it’s easy to fall victim to jealousy when thinking about others’ summer plans. 

But my LinkedIn feed tells another story of envy — one that is not about others’ escapades, but instead their achievements in their professional lives. After students enter college, summers become more and more focused on the continuation of their career-related development, rather than the more lighthearted ones of our youth.  

I can’t speak for other students, but seeing people’s internship and job opportunities on LinkedIn makes me feel like I’m not doing enough to set myself up for success after college. Often, I lose sight of my own accomplishments and diminish them in my attempts to compare myself to others.

My mom often tells me that comparison is the thief of joy. And when I say often, I mean it. My mom is typically the first person I call when I’m spiraling, whether it be about grades, internships or other stressors in my life. 

In my worst moments when I am overwhelmed and stressed, she tells me to go take a walk to calm my thoughts. In response, I usually say, “But I just told you about how many things I need to finish today. I don’t have time to go on a walk.” 

Then, I go on the walk. And she’s right, it does help. By the time I get back to my apartment, my feelings of stress and being overwhelmed have subsided as I begin working once again. 

I guess the point is that constant comparison is not a one-way ticket to self-fulfillment or happiness. I guess another point is that I should listen to my mom more often. 

My summers have changed a lot since high school. Instead of focusing on my part-time job at the local Dairy Queen, I have internships and other responsibilities. Sometimes it is overwhelming, especially with the constant influx of others’ accomplishments on LinkedIn. 

But it’s not a bad change. It’s exciting, even. 

I’ll be a senior in the fall, and the number of opportunities available after graduation is both exciting and scary. Sometimes, it feels like all the decisions I’m currently making will dramatically affect how successful I’ll be post-college. I find myself worrying about whether my skills are comparable to my classmates. 

It’s easy for me to get caught up in these worries and my own insecurities, but during my worst moments of panicking about the future, I hear my mom’s voice telling me to go on a walk. 

Per usual, I tell myself and my mom’s imaginary voice, “I have too many things to do today, I don’t have time for that.” And also per usual, I go on the walk.  

Although taking a moment to recollect myself doesn’t automatically provide a solution to my stressors, it’s the beginning step in learning how to manage the feeling of stress once it hits, instead of waiting until it feels insurmountable. 

So, summers are for internships and advancements in students’ professional lives. But summers are also for learning new ways of self-care, which, for me, usually includes listening to my mom more often. 

 

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