What does summer mean to teens?

Summer. The most highly anticipated event of the year for us whippersnappers, writes Ellie Menton

It doesn’t matter that I had planned exactly two things to do (eat and sleep), I still looked forward to three months of possibilities.

Every summer is different. You finish each school year with a new version of yourself. Over the past number of years, the summer holidays have come to mean something different to both me and my friends. We are no longer content merely lazing in front of the TV for weeks on end; instead, we opt to take part in summer camps, travel abroad, meet up with friends, and even attempt to get jobs.

The summer holidays have been the focal point of my life for as long as I can remember.

Summer is usually a time to stabilise. Throughout the school year, I find I can become a little disillusioned. Trying to study, while balancing a social life, home life, and every second drama, takes its toll. Summer is that one time of the year where you really have room to breathe. Mistakes aren’t as big a deal. It’s the one time of the year where I feel I really grow, and become stronger and surer of myself.

Before writing this, I took a lot of time mulling over what summer meant to me, personally. It took a surprising amount of thought to pick apart the specifics of what it was that really made me enjoy summer. Once I had, I asked my friends the same question; What does summer actually mean to you?

A little surprisingly, they all had the same answers.

Summer is about adventure. It’s about how much joy you can cram into three months of freedom. It’s about Skyping your friend for six hours until you realise it’s 3am, but it’s no big deal because morning is yours, anyway. It’s about excitement, whether you’re going back to summer camp or seeing a film premiere or going abroad, something about your summer is going to make your heart flutter. One friend poetically cited “that summer is freedom and happiness, I am free to be who I am, and do what I want, when I want.”

Sometimes, I worry about whether I’m using my summer wisely. I worry that I haven’t done as many amazing things as I had hoped. I worry so much that I end up wearing myself out. This year, I wanted to break that cycle. I kept it in the back of my mind, every morning. And honestly, I feel like I couldn’t have used my time any better than I did.

As this summer comes to a close, I will already start to look towards the next one. I’ll begin facing my Leaving Cert year soon, and there will be close to no time to relax properly, much to my dismay.

I’ll be focused on summer now more than ever to get me through the most stressful year of my life.

Ellie Menton is 17 years old and attends Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Blarney, Co Cork.


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