Summer School Escapism
To survive the miserable summer ahead, you’re going to have to get creative.
By John Miles, Santa Fe College
Summer classes are mandatory at a lot of schools, which is downright silly and cruel.
To make matters worse, some schools make summer scholarships extremely scarce, so that summer school becomes less about helping students graduate on time, and more about extorting undergrads for the last few dollars left in their pocket.
But the fact remains: you still have to do them.
So, like Mary Poppins, we’re going to have to create a new reality around our summer courses. They are terrible, hideous and expensive, but if we have to do them, it’s best to pretend that they’re glorious and inexpensive instead.
Explore the ghost town formerly known as campus.
Maybe go into some buildings you aren’t supposed to go into, or climb up some ladders that you aren’t supposed to climb. It’s good to see things from a different perspective, like the top of the football stadium or the window from the president’s office. I’m not saying to sneak into the president’s office. I’m only saying that it’s probably possible.
Or if you live in a college town, then you can expand your academic research into the surrounding cities. Gainesville, Florida, for example, experiences a kind of post-nuclear fallout after spring semester ends, so while you might have to step over a few homeless people to get anywhere worthwhile, a little hard work never hurt nobody.
Pretend you’re “The Man with No Name,” silently traversing campus searching for at-risk students.
The catch here is that you ought to not openly arm yourself with a pistol on each hip, and also that nobody is going to call for your aid because nobody is on campus but you and a handful of other dying souls. But at the very least, you will look ridiculously cool.
Tell yourself it’s all a dream.
If you eat enough food from the campus dining halls, you’ll slowly start to slowly slip away, like Bilbo Baggins when he wears the ring. In fact, if you think about it, the dining hall is a bit like Mordor—a terrible, nasty, center-gathering of evil that constantly pulls all life toward its darkness.
There is also a Great Eye that’s always watching you: your tuition. It sees you wherever you go, and if you dare to turn and face it, your brain will be fried and you will be sent into an eternal panic attack.
Befriend your professors.
They are probably equally unhappy to be stuck inside a classroom with a handful of students who don’t want to be there, so it’s in your best interest to make it a team effort.
Let your professor know how terrible it is that you have to be in their class, and in exchange, they will assure you of how terrible it is that they have to teach you. It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship.
Turn your dorm into a mini-gymnasium.
If you’re in Texas, Florida or really any southern state, you understand that exercising outside during the summer is a death sentence. Unless you’re only working out for 20 minutes or trying to deliberately induce heat stroke, you just don’t really do it.
So the solution is easy: Do the workout inside. Flip up your roommate’s bed and get to work. Hang up a punching bag, or if you’re really ambitious, sneak in a bench press piece by piece and start lifting.
What better way to relieve the anger you’ve developed toward a political system that’s making Bernie’s promise of free tuition seem less and less likely?
Use pizza and ice cream as emotional crutches.
If you aren’t into working out or avoiding diabetes, drowning your sorrow in pizza and ice cream is the quickest route to happiness, at least temporarily.
It’s also a great option for people who like to let their anger and sadness build up, only to see themselves explode into a fury of absolute madness in just a few days.
Make the five other people on campus laugh.
At my school, a few people get together every now and then to go fishing in the school’s fountain. There aren’t any fish in the fountain, but they’re hoping to hit the jackpot sometime soon.
Basically, you either have to be really strange or really sad to do anything else on campus, which is because summer school is nothing but a time of utter strangeness and sadness. Doing funny things can relieve that concrete truth, if only for a few seconds.
Of course, I don’t actually know what funny things you should be doing. There probably aren’t any. Good comedy requires an audience after all.
But since college is the last time in your life in which you’ll have entire months reserved purely for inactivity, hopefully you’ll only have to take summer classes once.
For now though, onward, lonely voyagers. I wish you the very best in your attempt to pretend that your life doesn’t suck right now.