Ever wonder why school lets out for summer vacation? According to a historian at the University of Chicago, the tradition of halting academic work in the summer began in America in order to allow students to go home and help out on the farm until after the harvest. Today, of course, this reason no longer makes sense, yet we spare students from summer academic work.
Maybe it's just me (an aspiring academic), but summers always feel empty, a break too long, without a meaningful raison d'etre. Indeed, who really knows what one is supposed to do during the summer? Travel? Work? Play? Perhaps anything at all, but only on the condition that you "Have a GREAT summer"— the typical, impersonal, thoughtless, clichéd farewell I hear every year. And it often comes across as a challenge, a way to say "I'm going to have WAY more fun than you this summer." Or as an insult, "Have a great summer ('cause I know you won't)."
I've learned not to expect anything great in the summer. Despite one's best intentions, summer inevitably seems to drag on, for we all know that we'll pretty much be the same person when its over, only perhaps tanner and buffer, but hardly raised intellectually. And we look forward to a new school year not out of sheer boredom but rather in anticipation of the busy growth that is to come, the uncertainty of where we'll be and who we'll be at the end of it.