I haven’t been in a car crash, but I always feel like I’m in one after a period of intense studying. University is over for a bit and suddenly I have nothing to do. It’s like when the car suddenly stops and your body still thinks it’s moving, and well, it just goes on. You either fly through the windshield or – as you should – get stopped by the safety belt. My body and mind just think they should go on with that crazy speed and work, work, work. But, there’s nothing to do.
To enjoy your summer, you first have to get through the ‘post-exam blues’. All you’ve got to do is hug yourself and say, well, it’s all going to be fine. You’ve been used to not having time for the simplest things, like a slow morning or taking the longer way to the library. Getting dressed becomes a matter of a few seconds and to be honest you get it right every time. The first day after my essays were handed in, it took me 45 minutes to get dressed. Suddenly I faced so many options and I had so much time to choose, and change my mind. In the end I just stuck to the last version and I wasn’t even particularly happy with it. So, the way to start is to change your pace. Things can take longer and there is really no reason for multitasking. You can have a coffee and not do anything else while drinking it. When was the last time you listened to an album without doing anything else in the meantime? Enjoy wasting your time!
Once you are over the first few weeks of pointless existence, you can start thinking about what to do. For a student, most likely there are only two scenarios: you either have money and no time, or no money but plenty of time. Getting a job might solve that problem, although based on my experiences it is a bit trickier to find a job during summer, since Glasgow is getting a bit quieter. It is worth trying to find a job at festivals, not just volunteering, but you can get work on their bars and get paid. It is quite tough but a good way to earn some money, meet many new faces and sleep in a tent – who doesn’t want that?
What happens if your friends are not staying in Glasgow? Let me tell you, it has a special charm. Without sounding like too much of a soul-searcher, it is actually a pretty good opportunity to get to know yourself better. To feel better about yourself. Now, that you’ve got plenty of time, you can try writing a diary. Handwriting, right?! But, once you get through three months, it is an amazing feeling to go back and read what you’ve written. Seeing that you already changed a bit is a really satisfying experience. There’s plenty in Glasgow you can do by yourself, going to gigs is an obvious one. My technique is to get there to see even the first the support act, so you can really feel like a connoisseur. Get drinks between the sets and stand in the crowd. It is just that simple. Going to a club on your own is for the more advanced. Going to a festival solo is for the real experts: just hit me up for advice if you’re interested.
One thing that you can do as a big favour to yourself is to forget the word SHOULD. Try, at least for a day, to go without saying ‘I should do this or that’. For example, I should get up. Only get up if you want to. Should is an empty word. You either want to do it, and then just do it, or you don’t and if there’s really no need for it, then why punish yourself. The most important is that this is a time to be enjoyed. You don’t have to rush anything, or do anything you don’t really want to. The elderly in the village where I am from every single summer while I was at school reminded me that I should really make the most of it, since once high school is over I will never have the chance again to enjoy the summer. It turns out they were wrong, but it is true that a great summer won’t just happen by itself: you have to work on it.
I know it feels terrifying after exams and deadlines, when it feels like your life just liquefies and it flows in all directions without stopping. You just have to remember that it’s fine. You have to keep in mind that you can’t be hard on yourself. You’ve done so much work in the last few months, that doing next to nothing for three is absolutely acceptable. Enjoy the mess!