Embracing the Laziness of a Summer at Home

Alex Hagen

Like many of my friends and classmates at Whitman, I was a bit reluctant to go home for the summer. After finals culminated in the cathartic joy of Holi and other celebrations, I realized that I had grown even more fond of this school and its wonderful community than I had anticipated. After an insanely busy final few weeks of school, the thought of spending a summer “doing nothing” seemed almost unimaginable, not to mention unimaginably boring.

However, after doing some thinking about my situation, I realized that this reluctance to go home echoed my reluctance to leave home to start my freshman year at the end of last summer. Envisioning an endless cycle of nostalgia and increasingly melodramatic diary entries, I decided to let go of my worries and just embrace whatever it was that my summer would turn out to be.

As it turns out, readapting to life at home wasn’t quite as difficult as I expected. After a semester of 8 a.m. classes, five days a week, having the ability to sleep in was nothing short of magnificent. So many small aspects of home life––regular access to non-dining-hall food, late-night episodes of “The Nanny,” singing along to Beyoncé while driving––felt like small victories after being deprived of them for a while. Even though these relaxing moments were interspersed with homework and tests for a Spanish class I was taking at a local university, it still felt worlds away from my busy life at Whitman.

Another potentially more important part of coming back home was reconnecting with my ties to Minnesota. After living in Walla Walla for nine months, reacquainting myself with Saint Paul took a bit of adjustment. I realize that it probably doesn’t seem like much of a culture shock, but I was surprised to see how much certain things had changed––hey, we’re finally catching on to the frozen yogurt trend!––and how much the rest really hadn’t since I’d left last August.

The idea of inhabiting two different worlds, of leaving home to find another, is one that every college student must tackle at some point. If I learned nothing else this summer, I learned to embrace this duality and accept that sometimes it’s okay to escape the pressures of the school year. It’s perfectly fine to make time to just read for pleasure, or take a leisurely stroll with friends for an afternoon or familiarize yourself with Netflix’s many interesting offerings.

Because of my hectic schedule in college, I tended to feel restless whenever I didn’t have a lot of tasks to accomplish. Too often, we think that being “busy” is the only way to be successful, or to have an interesting life or to feel accomplished. But after a summer of hanging out with friends, eating ice cream in the sun and a bit of Facebook stalking in between Spanish assignments––maybe that should be the other way around––I can say with confidence that a lazy summer is just as rewarding.