How to Deal with the Fact that You Have to Go Home This Summer: A Guide to Not Studying Abroad

When I think of the school year ending, I feel more than a little gloomy. Sure, academics are stressful, and my body is falling apart, thanks to a shockingly unstable sleep schedule and constant colds. Even so, when I think about wrapping up my first year of college (meaning that there are only three more... yikes), I feel a creeping sense of melancholy. What about my friends? What about adventures in New York? Worst of all, where ever will I put all my intellectual curiosity, anxiety, and fears of inadequacy? These questions have been haunting my sleep.

It also doesn’t help that I don’t have a particularly glamorous or resume-building summer lined up—in fact, I’ll be working in a barbecue restaurant back home in Minnesota. However, when I take a moment to think about it, I realize some time back in the Midwest might be exactly what I need this summer. So for anyone dreading a “boring” summer at home—whether due to financial reasons, family responsibilities, or, like me, your parents actually wanting to see you (wild)-- here is how I’ve reframed the situation to have a more positive outlook:

The fact that I can even be sad about this means I’m already ridiculously privileged

Yes, it would be cool to spend the summer in Greece. Do you know what’s also cool? Living in freaking New York City! Do you have any idea how many movie scenes I’ve acted out while living here? I’m already constantly surrounded by beautiful, famous settings and incredible people. The fact that I can gripe about having to live somewhere slightly less bustling than New York simply proves how lucky I really am. Besides already getting to live in New York. . .

I really, really like being home

I love my family. I love my friends. I love my dog. I love, love, love sitting and doing literally nothing. This is my little brother’s last summer at home before he graduates high school, and I’m planning on maximizing our gossip sessions while I’m home this summer. It will also quite possibly be the last “real” summer break of my life—a time where I don’t have many responsibilities and can just relax and enjoy the people I love, while also considering that. . .

I spend a lot of money here in NYC

As I said, I’ll be working this summer, and it didn’t take much reflection to remember that New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world. So, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to earn some more coffee/ramen/metro card money while back home by working in family-owned restaurant with food that’s delicious and affordable. It’s also nice working in a small town—where else do your parents regularly visit your place of work, and bring your dog, too? When I’m not working, you’ll probably be able to find me...

Enjoying nature—I never would have guessed

As previously stated, I adore NYC, but a city of eight million people really does limit the available trees per capita. Until this year, I’ve always considered myself an indoor girl,but since I started living somewhere so crowded and so busy, I often catch myself daydreaming about the eerie silence of my backyard. I’m really looking forward to spending time swimming in still-freezing lakes and laying in hammocks, without having to worry about traffic, crazy strangers, or rivers with dead bodies in them.

For all of these reasons—and many, many more—I’m grateful to be going home this summer. I can’t wait to spend time with my family, friends, and (most importantly) dog. So farewell for now, big city—the Midwest calls, and I must answer.