One thing I learned over the summer is …
that less is more, and that I do not have to have it all, the so-called must-haves in the summer of college students.
The first college summer of an international student.
I was worried about summer months before it happened. Some folks were searching for the most high-paying internship at the coolest agency. Others were opening start-up companies, riding the high tides of life to become the next big things in their early 20s.
Me? I was actually looking forward to something much different.
My first year in the United States was pretty rough. I was tremendously homesick and wanted nothing but a hug from my parents. Leaving America to head back to my hometown (and mind you, we are talking “halfway-across-the-globe” distance) meant leaving the opportunities to make a hit out of my resume.
I spent a good two months debating with my mother about whether to stay or to leave, and finally decided on following my heart (literally) by booking a ticket back home. And I have not regretted this decision for even just a moment.
So, what exactly did I learn this summer?
What works for other people does not have to work for me. People might find themselves happiest walking down the shiny aisles of Google full of tech experts (and good for them!), but I might actually not.
Everyone goes about life differently and at a different pace. While others might have the capabilities to challenge themselves with the harsh realities of corporate America this summer, I need proper rest and time to really think through my life and career ambitions before anything else happens.
Over the summer, my resume might not have become more attractive to prospective employers, but my mental well-being has improved tenfold. A freshman year full of new experiences, the need to constantly adapt to a new environment and the hectic pace of college life has left me stranded. There was no time to sit down and really think about what happened and why, or how I might be able to do better moving forward.
This summer, however, I finally had the opportunity to have a good rest. Some days, I essentially just spent all my time in bed with a book or a good Netflix series. On others, I whiled my time away with a fresh cup of coffee with just myself and a diary, maybe with my parents, and sometimes with my friends. All this space and time has allowed me to reflect on things I ignored to focus solely on submitting school deadlines and flipping burgers at the dining hall, and it has genuinely changed me as a person.
I came back this Fall more confident than ever, with mental strength built from a clear vision of my goals and expectations in mind and a better understanding of myself.
This is my story, but it could be yours, if you feel like life is moving a little too fast and proper rest would really do you good.
I wish you plenty of luck, and a beautiful back-to-school season.