End of Year Vacation: Expectation Vs. Reality

The time has finally arrived - end of year vacation! Three glorious months of free time to catch up on sleep, spending time with friends, and Netflix. Once exams end there’s an overwhelming sense of freedom as you drive into all these activities. However, slowly but surely we realise that these three months are never exactly what we expect.

1. Summer Drives

Expectation: Afternoon drives around the Cape Peninsula with friends listening to music and stopping at random ice cream shops. Let’s face it, Cape Town is huge and you’re always bound to find something new. There’s so much to take in even from the passenger seat of a car.

Reality: Petrol prices aren’t what they used to be guys, and the combination of searching for parking and traffic coming home will kill the vibe very quickly. Not to mention that this summer drive fantasy only works if someone you know has a car and their license because obviously, we aren’t going to ask our Uber driver for a scenic drive on Sunday afternoon.

2. Beach Days

Expectation: An abundance of beach-side sunsets with friends. Care-free frolicking all along the coastline on one of the many gorgeous beaches that Cape Town has to offer. Relaxing, swimming, picnicking, and maybe surfing if you’re fancy. Beach Days are truly a summer staple.

Reality: After trekking through crowds of beach-goers for a spot you’ll finally stay for an hour or so before the headaches start to kick in, sand gets everywhere and you realise that you forgot your snacks in the car. Also, those February winds will quickly cancel any type of beach activities you had in mind.

3. Spending time with friends

Expectation: We’ve all run into an old friend on campus and told them that once vac comes around, we’ll be sure to make plans to hang out. We expect to have our vacation spent with friends, having braai’s and movie nights, going out and living your best lives together. You’ll foresee a packed social calendar, accompanied by spontaneous hangouts.

Reality: Let’s be honest, you’re probably going to hang out with the same 3-5 friends that you always do. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll have a great time, but you’ll also quickly become overwhelmed with social obligations and just want to be alone sometimes. You’ll also quickly realise that despite not having academic duties, somehow your schedule still won’t line up with those long lost friends you promised to hang out with.

4. Productivity

Expectation: Often we put off many of our activities or personal goals until we are free from the wrath of UCT. It may be working on a hobby, running some errands, finally reading that book you’ve wanted to read, working out, or just taking some time to work on yourself. You’ve probably eagerly fought the urges to do these things during exams. Now that you have all this free time you can finally do things for yourself, leaving you feeling content and fulfilled.

Reality: You’ll probably get around to it for a week or so before completely abandoning it for the rest of the three months. The post-academic semester high involves mass amounts of laziness and low productivity.

5. Treating Yo’self

Expectation: New summer clothing, eating out with friends, splurging to spoil yourself, because why not? It’s the festive season after all! Black Friday sales, holiday specials, weekends away, festivals. If there were ever a time to treat yourself - now is that time. You’ve worked hard this year, you saved up your money, you deserve it.

Reality: It’s all fun and games until you find yourself broke in January. The infamous mantra of “Is f*kol, is festive” is a TRAP. Don’t play yourself guys, spend responsibly.