Summer school. For me, no other oxymoron is capable of instilling as much anger and acrimony as this, except maybe for “Happy Hanukah.” Last year, after lighting the menorah on the first night, my mother told my father she had a special gift for the family and cheerfully handed him divorce papers. I was hoping for passes to Disneyland. The rapture of latkes and dreidel which I had been anticipating all year quickly faded away and was replaced by a gnawing despair and confusion. But I digress.
From about the age of six to 18, the clockwork schedule of elementary, middle and high school scars college students with an indelible sense of entitlement to summer break. We’re so accustomed to a few months of complete freedom and utter lethargy that to deviate from this routine at a stage as late as college can have serious consequences. Our sense of continuance and stability disappears, and with it, our self-confidence. We become scatterbrained and unable to focus, while our minds keep reverting back to that moment when everything collapsed; when summer break got up and left. What are we supposed to do without summer break?
The world was confusing enough, but at least we had a dependable hub. No matter how bad students felt about the school year, or about wetting their bed, we knew we could return to the comfort and love of summer break and that it would give us strength. It would read us bedtime stories when we were younger and play baseball with us in the backyard, but now it’s just a distant, empty memory that haunts us every waking moment.
In many ways, expecting students to endure classes in the summer, or asking a child to remain happy after a painful divorce, is tantamount to forcing a crack addict to quit crack cold turkey. Most crack addicts probably think this analogy is too strong and trivializes crack addiction, but I stand by it. However, my selfish idiot parents would probably agree with them because they think I can’t construct a decent metaphor or analogy. They’re so disgusting and dumb. They’re stupid like a pair of retards at a moron banquet. I hate you mom and dad. Maybe the reason I can’t write good analogies and metaphors – even though I can – is because of all of the drugs I’ve been using which have been rotting my brain. Maybe I wouldn’t need ecstasy if I still had a normal family, and maybe I would be ecstatic just going on walks together like we used to. Then you guys could take me by the arms and swing me up and down and I’d laugh and we’d all be so happy.
Analogies aside, we students of UCSB need to forget about the past and learn to live with the present. How can we cope with summer school? Becoming friends with fellow summer school students is a good idea because they can sympathize with you and understand what you’re going through. However, be careful not to make the mistake of getting mixed up with the wrong crowd. Some of your new “friends” might just want to exploit your weakness and impressionability, and soon you’ll be eating your own feces because you think it could somehow fill that growing emptiness inside, but it’ll just fill your stomach with poop.
The best remedy for summer school weariness is to convince yourself that you’re enjoying your education. Try and learn from all those happy smiling people that never seem to tire of straining their face muscles. If you fake it enough, it might sort of seem a little bit true. When mom used to scream at dad about how he was unable to satisfy her sexually, and dad would yell back at her that was because she was cold and dead inside. I would sit in my room for hours smiling at the wall, trying not to fantasize about dad fixing his impotence with a huge Viagra pill and then conquering mom’s frigidity. Also, I cut myself. It helped me cope with their separation and come out of the experience without any long-term emotional damage. Think of this when you’re enduring that boring summer calculus class and say to yourself, “Math is fun!”
Zach Phillips is a junior zoology major.