Last week, here in Juneau, we had amazing weather. Ten days of sun in mid-September. Unheard of. The man on the local news said the uncharacteristically good weather was due to a fluke-like change in weather patterns. The fluke has now passed, and familiar rain and wind have settled in. I've said goodbye to the blue sky of summer, and am trying my hardest to welcome back the Southeast Alaska gray. It'll be here for a while.
When I think about how quickly the weather changes between summer and fall, I cannot help but compare such changes to myself. It is not that I feel sunny in the summer and gray in the fall, but there is a certain transition that I find myself making in unison with the leaves.
I spend my summers working in tourism. For ten hours a day, I do a job that I can do in my sleep, one I've done for four summers now. A large part of my job includes talking to tourists--not about anything in particular, just keeping them happy. I tell them about Alaska and myself. When they talk, I listen. Hundreds of people per week.
When I'm not at work, I read fiction for fun, hike with friends and drink on weeknights. My job is easy and my free time is my own. The word 'homework' never touches my lips and academia stays far out of my mind. Yes, summers in Juneau are delightful. In a word, refreshing.
But, because I tend to be a 'grass is always greener' type of girl, I usually find myself craving intellectual stimulation by the time August rolls around. At this point, I begin thinking about school; and as quickly as the summer began, it comes to an end. Back in the classroom.
The transition from a life of partying with friends, hiking on beautiful days and reading whatever the hell I want to one of high expectations and responsibility shouldn't happen overnight, but it does. I talk less and think more, re-teach myself (for the thousandth time) how to format an MLA paper and keep my friendships on reserve for weekends. My free time does not belong to me, instead it is given to books, papers and power point presentations. Dishes pile up in my sink and even my eyebrows go un-plucked. All in the name of education.
Please don't mistake these facts for complaints, I am not complaining. I am only showing you, my reader, the stark contrast that I've seen every September since 2007. In some ways, it is difficult to adjust--but more than anything, it is rewarding. I am fortunate to have such wonderful summers, and likewise I am lucky to have an enriching education. If I didn't love this (caffeinated) life, I would've quit college long ago. But the truth is, I don't know who I'd be without the things I've learned and the habits I've formed in college.
Coffee: Home-brew. Third cup today. :)