Retreat from Typical Tortures

Colin Jones, Staff Writer

Summer vacation is a precious time for students. There are no other times in life that allow one so much freedom. In those three summer months, it feels like you’re so far away from all responsibility, all difficulty, all hardship- provided you’re not a high schooler, of course.

It’s widely accepted around here that, during the school year, high school students are overworked and constantly stressed. All year long, you’re suffering and working in the hopes that if you just keep your head down, you’ll eventually reach the light at the end of the tunnel- summer vacation.

That used to be me. I slaved away through the muck of homework and tests, knowing that I’d eventually receive the sweet reward of summer. However, things changed when my dad told me I was to attend a math camp, prepare for next year by getting a reading list for AP Euro, learn the coding language Java, and do volunteer work for a few weeks.

Such summer requirements are standard for high schoolers- and I don’t play a sport as so many of you do- but I was fairly unhappy. All year I had been working towards this golden ideal, this perfect summer of rest, relaxation, and sleep. It was probably a bit unrealistic, but I needed some sort of motivation. And now my dreams had been crushed.

“It’s not all work,” my dad said. “We’re still going to Japan.”

It was a new glimmer of hope.

With the high schooler’s packed schedule, travel is the perfect opportunity to wind down and do something unique. Going to a faraway place, eating the food, and visiting local attractions has its own appeal, but more importantly, it’s an escape from the mundane- from the boring, dull, hard life that’s often found at home. I realize that you readers probably have neither the money nor the influence in your family to announce “We’re going to Australia!” one night at dinner and have everyone go along with it, but I do think that it’s not unreasonable to assume that a suggestion to your parents would be taken under consideration.

And I think that traveling serves as a nice antidote to the rigorous lifestyle of work and school. When it seems like one’s whole world consists of “eat, study, sleep, repeat,” it can seem like the days fall into a humdrum cycle. It’s because of this cycle, coupled with the intense pressure of important exams and mammoth essays, that you hear all of the horror stories about kids fainting, throwing up, hyperventilating, or suffering in other ways.

Traveling somewhere is the ultimate way to break the cycle. It’s probably the only time in the year that you don’t need to worry about school or work. So travel more. Even a weekend away from home, just a few cities over, can do wonders. You’ll have more fun, you’ll be less stressed, and suddenly that activity-stocked summer won’t feel so tough.