The Summer: A great adventure

By Eric Seymour

It is here at last. My last column for this school year. I've enjoyed writing this column for the past eight months, and bringing you a mix of news, opinion, and insight on matters of faith. Now it is time to jump headlong into the summer

For students, the summer is a great time for unique opportunities. This summer will be especially important for me, because it will by my last "summer break." A year from now, I'll be graduating, and heading into the career world, where you no longer get several months off to do with as you see fit.

In reality, the last carefree summer I spent was 4 years ago, after my junior year in high school. My only summer job was mowing yards, and I had hours of free time. Even though that level of carefree living is something I'll have to wait until retirement to have again, the summer is still a great opportunity. A friend of mine called it the 8/4 phenomenon. For 8 months, you are essentially doing the same things with the same people, then for 4 months you are in a different environment doing different things. You get to meet new people, and even though you may have a job, you'll probably have some opportunities to do things you can't do during the year.

One thing you should consider doing over the summer is spending some of that free time with volunteer organizations. Get involved with your local church, community kitchen, or civic projects. A volunteer experience can be very rewarding, especially at the point in your life when you are looking seriously at how the rest of your life will be structured.

Another good way to invest your summer is to read books and have conversations that will challenge your intellect and your faith. These four months can be a time of introspection, in which you examine the direction you're heading. Everyone needs times in their life to reflect and re-evaluate their priorities. It won't always be four months, but it is fitting that we have this amount of time now, because college is a very important time, in which we are setting directions that will have a lasting effect on our lives.

Consider this analogy: During the initial blastoff of a rocket, the astronauts spend almost all their time closely monitoring their systems and trajectory, and making needed changes. This is the critical time to get the mission started right. Later, only periodic course-corrections are needed, and they can concentrate on their primary mission goals. In the same way, consider your summer vacation as a chance to spend a lot of time considering the trajectory you're setting up in your life. Making corrections now can make things a lot more enjoyable later.

Eric Seymour

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