I’m sure most students at Northwestern are aware that we are one of the few remaining schools still in session. While our hometown friends are sleeping in until two on weekdays and watching hours of re-runs on Netflix or putting in time at their summer internships we are still on our daily grind, hoping to make it through finals week in one piece. I’m probably not the only one who’s been receiving texts from them, wondering why the hell I’m not back yet. Most of my friends probably think that I wish I were on my summer vacation just like them, but honestly, it’s just the opposite.
To be clear, I’m not saying I don’t miss my friends and family from home. It’s just that I’ve grown so accustomed to the Northwestern lifestyle that I don’t completely understand those who are willing to be done with it all and head elsewhere for the summer.
For one thing, the students here are simply fantastic. I’d say that 98 percent of those who I’ve met have good intentions and aren’t overzealous. Rarely have I ever been involved in a conversation where I felt I was talking to a complete asshole.
Another great thing about attending this university, or any university in general, is that you don’t have to be the same person you were in high school. If you were a “nerd,” you have the chance to reinvent yourself and participate in clubs that can challenge your comfort zone. If you were labeled a “theater kid” you have the opportunity to befriend those who don’t know the difference between a Tony and an Oscar. Hasn’t it felt refreshing to know that your friends here don’t know that stupid shit you did when you were in middle school? Hasn’t it been great getting to know a bunch of like-minded individuals that share your similar intellect?
A few people I’ve spoken to can’t wait until the summer, and I just don’t get it. Yes, school is stressful. Yes, it’s nice to relax and not feel guilty about procrastinating for a few months, but that’s not an excuse to to say “good riddance” to your school.
In case you somehow forgot, here’s a reminder of what’s happened in a span of only 30 weeks of school time: Our football team was just several plays away from having an undefeated season, Dance Marathon was a huge success once again, Relay for Life raised a ton of money for the American Cancer Society, Josh Radnor, Adam Schefter and countless other famous individuals showed up as guest speakers, students took a trip to a Chicago Cubs game, Ludacris was insane, the Northwestern community came together to raise money for Josie Nordman and many of us participated in all the intramural sports that this campus has to offer. Obviously I’m leaving out a ton, but hopefully you get my point.
Sometimes we can take this university for granted, and become a little nit-picky when it comes to pointing out its flaws. Are our athletic facilities top-notch? Not even close. Is it a rip-off to be paying as much as we do for dining hall food? You bet. But that doesn’t mean that we should only focus on the negatives. We all belong to a prestigious university that thousands of applicants weren’t fortunate enough to attend, and it’s best if we start to recognize that and appreciate the time we have here while it lasts.
Do you still remember that moment when you clicked on that email or opened the large envelope and read something like “Congratulations on being accepted into Northwestern University”? How did you feel? Was it one of the happiest moments of your life? I hope so, because whenever you begin hoping for summer to come quick, you can relive that memory in your head to appreciate how fortunate you are to be at one of the top 15 schools in the country. You were chosen over other qualified candidates, who’d be dying to be in your position.
Still think you’d rather have a two-month break from school? About a week ago I stumbled upon several tweets from college kids on their summer vacations: Some tweets I read were “I miss college,” “This summer is actually more boring than I thought it’d be” and “One month into summer and I’m already itching to say the least to return to Boston again.” These comments doesn’t surprise me one bit. After all, college has so much to offer and for a variety of reasons your hometown can’t provide that same satisfaction.