Mari Katherine Raftopoulos
Mari Katherine Raftopoulos' column appears in the Craig Daily Press
and the Saturday Morning Press
Whether it's the aroma of a summer barbecue down the street, the Sunday night Sea World fireworks finale, or my fresh tan line, summertime is quickly approaching and school is coming to a close.
While the lyrics in country songs constantly retrace the days of summertime, speaking of bonfires, days floating the river, and beers in Mexico, we seek to emulate and romanticize these fairy tale lyrics into something that shapes our realities.
In most cases, these lyrics don't reveal reality, but there is something about the warm air of summertime that makes the most surreal things become a reality.
I love the taste of summertime - it is both bitter and sweet.
It is a constant reminder that on a bad morning there is always enough daytime to redeem yourself and on a bad night there is always sunshine to awake you.
Therefore, summertime provides more time and less stress.
Although I feel as though the summertime never denies me happiness and is always providing me with growth and discovery, I feel a sense of uncertainty this time to know that I have one year of college remaining and three that have been completed.
I call this uncertainty junioritis.
Although you might be correlating this term with the more popular, senioritis, the two terms are quite different.
While senioritis comes with a fed-up type feeling of school and the yearning to change the scene, junioritis comes with worry and fear of the unknown real world.
Unlike freshman and sophomore years of college, where expectations are low and freedoms are high, the choices you make junior year influence and greatly impact your life direction thereafter.
As I prepare for my finals, order a storage unit, write greeting cards and struggle with goodbyes, summer is more bitter than sweet this time around.
As college students at this time, we all cram to study for finals, finalize internships or jobs, and arrange for vacations along the way.
Yet all commitments put aside, there never seems to be enough time to say goodbye. And by the time all the stress is over, everyone is already gone.
There never seems to be enough time to reminisce and move on to the next step. This is the reason some hold onto these college years and stories because they never really had the chance to say goodbye.
Trust me when I say I'm anxious to complete the strenuous upper division schoolwork I have had this semester, but this anxious feeling does not outweigh the sadness I feel to see my college years sail by so fast and my days in the work force quickly approaching, where summers are more of a season than a break.
Although the weather makes days in the office much more enjoyable, the joyfulness of summer is often seen through the glass of a windowpane as the children bike through the parking lot or as college students sip cocktails outside of your office building at midday.
We live in vacation rentals throughout the semester on Mission Beach. Vacationers come and they go, but as renters we stay much longer, long enough to replace the palm tree and seashell photos with those of freshman-year orientation, sophomore year Halloween and junior year abroad.
But, it's not long enough to make the house a home.
This is the reason that, for me at least, attending a university is like staying in a vacation rental, where the arrival is the easiest part and the departure comes too quickly.