22 September 2014 Comments Off on


Hi there! The first issue of Bilkent News (or BilNews, for when we’re being more casual) came out last week. Any remarks about the past summer will have been made there; they are, perhaps, unexpected here. You may have read about the summer, but I haven’t yet written about it. So, here we go again.
It was an interesting summer. I had planned to be away for the fall semester, on the Erasmus program. During the summer, this semester abroad unfortunately fell through. I’d prepared for it, and even told our BilNews editor, Hande Hanım, so it was very disappointing when I realized it wasn’t going to happen. I then started to look for things to replace that.
Summer can be interesting, boring, disappointing or simply underwhelming. It can be warm, sticky, filled with laziness or full of surprises. In the Faculty of Science, they may call it a resting period: just “time off” when we can restore our energy for school, for life. I think it’s more of a control, like in an experiment. For nine months, we are restrained by various factors. We act within their boundaries. In the summer, though, we don’t bear the burdens of daily life.
This changes over the years, like everything else. When we’re younger, we learn by playing, so that’s what we spend all our time doing. Every day is unscheduled. Kindergarden then puts play into time slots. In elementary school, you do enough of the traditional kind of learning to appreciate summer holidays. During our university years, some of us get summer internships. We now have to shape our summers around these new responsibilities. When we graduate, and start work, our holidays will get shortened to a month of leave. This leave will not be for just the summer; it’s the number of days per year we can have outside our traditional routine. We grow.
I didn’t really understand it with my parents; I guess it was hard for me to do so because they had been working since forever. But when my brother graduated from university and got a job, I saw the transition his summer underwent. I found it very depressing. I thought, I only have so many of these free months left.
Now that I rethink it, though, this change is actually a huge opportunity. Wouldn’t it be great if you loved your life, your routine, so much that you didn’t need a quarter of the year off each time around? Of course, routines are meant to be broken, but I’d like to think that some day I will enjoy my daily responsibilities enough that they’ll no longer be a burden; they’ll just be my life.
Clearly, they’re not the same kind of pastime, school and work. School is learning. The sheer amount of time that you spend “learning,” however (at least 12-14 years, 9 months per year, 20 days per month, 8 hours per day), is absolutely enormous. What are we learning? Why does it need to be crammed into our heads so fast and so constantly? Does our capacity for learning change so much that we can just stop a ritual as rigorous as school? (I would like to note that we still go on learning in our lives. We still learn many things. We rarely get tested on them, though. It may be a lifestyle, but it’s no longer scheduled.)
All of the above stream-of-thought ideas may stem from the fact that most people I started university with are graduating this year. I’m extremely satisfied with the choice I made that delayed my graduation, but it’s still a little strange to think that I won’t be seeing them around campus anymore. The nostalgia, on their part, has begun already: “I can’t believe this is my last … [something or other].” I just hope that the coming eight months will not pass like a breeze. The summer is the time of year that should pass quickly.
Which brings me to my main issue concerning that season. I don’t like summer. As a matter of fact, I hate summer. The only thing that can justify the heat is the long holiday, maybe. And swimming in the sea. Yes, I can already see your faces. They will have (or would have, had we been face-to-face) gone, “Are you kidding?”, silently. Maybe it’s because I’m a fall baby, but I like the wind. I like the rain. I love the cold, especially as it means we’re ending the long, hot summer. Welcome, jackets and sweaters. Welcome, autumn. Welcome back, everyone!