After ten days of being home, I have realized I belong to a very specific club:
“Welcome to the Society for Young Seasonally-Employed Of-Age-Mostly-Educated Home-Dwelling Student-Professionals with Small Incomes, Impending Graduation, and No Clue What’s Next!”
I really want a New Members Kit.
Finals finished two weeks ago, and I moved home, tucked my semester into my back pocket, and shelved the textbooks. I also joined this club, which is made up of college kids who move home for the summer, hand back in their academic identity for three months, and awkwardly tip toe out into the “real world” to find a new summer identity to replace STUDENT before going back to being a STUDENT in the fall. Because you’ve gotta be doing something while you’re home. Otherwise, when people ask what are you doing this summer? you will have to say something drastic to avert the sad, disappointed reactions to your boring summer – so you say well, unfortunately I was struck with mono about two months ago, so no job offers yet- BUT I’m starting a nonprofit with a few of my buddies, volunteering at six animal shelters, coordinating trash cleanup in my neighborhood, and writing a trilogy in my spare time.
To prevent the need to fabricate such lies, members of the Society for Young Seasonally-Employed-Of-Age.. etc., etc. fight to the death for few and far between seasonal positions like golf caddies, poolside waitresses, and greenhouse helpers, desperate for A PAYCHECK, PLEASE, and SOMETHING TO DO. (Thankfully, there are multiple winners in this Hunger Games.)
And you know what? I sympathize with every fellow member of this club. College students have a very specific, formed identity during the school year, and it’s hard developing a new one for just a few short summer months. Student Suzie is a proud member of the college, where it’s clear what her goals are and what she’s doing. She doesn’t have to justify the backpack and the terrible coffee breath every day. Duh – I’m going to school. Getting educated. At college, we know who you are based on your t-shirt, the size of the bags under your eyes, and where we find you on a Thursday night (if you’re at the Inner Tube Water Polo Championships or the doughnut shop, that tells us something very different about you than, say, if you’re at the Visiting Civil War Lecture or the Biotechnology Psychoneurology Bioengineering Society of PolyThermalDiurnal Majors).
I left Student Brooke at school, and as soon as I walked in the door of my house, I became The Brooke That Has Always Lived Here and Has Yet to Be Labeled. Which is just what happens when you go to college – you adopt two selves.
It’s a phase of life thing – you’re a student half the year, and you’re a… a something… the other half. Developing. Growing. Forming. Becoming.
A member of the awkward club mentioned above.
The thing is, the temporary summer self is a trickier one to find. What to DO during the summer when your path to the future has only just begun – when in fact, you’re not exactly sure where it’s leading or what you’ll do post-college? Nobody wants to pay you to do what you’re going to get paid to do after you graduate (whatever that is) – even though in six months when you actually have the B.A., you won’t be all that much smarter than you are right now: without the B.A.
So you get minimum wage jobs for now. Ah, yes. That’s life.
Thankfully I have a job, and a summer internship, too, starting next week (glory hallelujah, and thank you Jesus). Combined, this is plenty to occupy my time until I don the backpack again in late August. I’m really thankful for both of these wonderful opportunities… otherwise, I’d be scrambling to structure the months ahead and crying with other members of the Club.
So this summer, I will be working and learning. There’s my plan. Whew. You can ask again if you forget. It’s okay. I’ll remind you. I won’t get mad if you ask… and even if I was unemployed, I’d only be minimally embarrassed and slightly annoyed at the way things are for us awkward club members – but not annoyed with you, gentle readers. So as a reminder, this summer I will NOT be starting a nonprofit, volunteering at an animal shelter, or doing any sort of organized trash cleanup beyond what’s expected of the average citizen.
Also – I will NOT be writing a trilogy. One bestselling trilogy out at a time is good enough.