Ah, the lazy summer months. As soon as school lets out, we finally get the opportunity to do all the playing in the mud of which we could only dream while entrenched in heavy-duty, quintuple-ply coursework. Games of tackle football in the backyard, street hockey on cracked pavement, Nintendo, water sprinklers and freezy pops. A complete end to responsibility. I've got my bicycle and my friends from down the street have theirs, and someday we're going to ride down to the boatyard and go to that candy store that sells Tootsie Rolls for a penny and Airheads for a dime.
What? I can pretend that I'm still ten years old, can't I? When my only legitimate responsibility was to take out the garbage once a week and I would steal down to the basement every afternoon to watch "The Simpsons" without my mother knowing? Or how about high school? Playing golf a few times a week, going to the mall, watching movies and busing tables frequently enough to pay off the car insurance that represents your newfound freedom? Having a summer reading list that forced you to sit down and read the books that you now wish you had time to go back and read? Give me one of those summer vacations just once more. But time--time changes everything.
Somebody once said, "There will be time, there will be time," but I think he was wrong. There isn't time anymore. Time is slipping through our fingers like grains of sand. It's half an hour later than it was half an hour ago. Summer, once a vast chasm of carefree jubilation, is now laden with work and responsibility. Not only must you be properly employeed or enroll in classes or find funding for research, but you must decide what you're going to be doing for summer as winter begins. As time goes on, you have to know earlier--in other words, the later it gets, the longer it has been since you should have made up your mind as to what you want to do. I've got twelve months until I leave this place, and I think I should have known by last month where I will be and what I will be doing.
Because it won't be long now, Kyle. It won't be long before we have the ultimate responsibility of caring for ourselves, paying for our own health insurance, cooking our own meals, making our own decisions and, for some, doing our own laundry. We'll pay rent, we'll pay taxes. We're all headed for social responsibility faster than we might think.
It won't be long now before we have to start caring about politics instead of just letting the conservatives on campus tell us how evil those crazy liberals are (because the ability to think outside of conventional wisdom is, and always has been, dangerous). Some of us will decide that we would rather see tax cuts that benefit the richest members of society than social welfare programs to support the poorest because as Duke grads, we have a better chance at being a part of the former than the latter. It won't be long (if it hasn't happened yet) before disillusionment.
It won't be long before we witness a major change in Duke's administration, and then, possibly, a major change in the U.S. administration. For what should we hope? The return of kegs on campus? Perhaps that is too bold. Perhaps we should just hope that West Campus does not become dry. Should we hope for a national leader that can form coherent sentences in public, or will we settle for four more years of "families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream?"
It won't be long before we are Duke grads. We'll have to start paying to go to basketball games (if they still have a basketball team, because it won't be long before all of Duke's recruits and star freshmen skip collegiate ball to go to the more lucrative and oh-so-much-more-entertaining NBA). We'll get phone calls from the Annual Fund. We'll get jobs that don't have summer vacations.
Bring back illusionment. Whatever break you have from responsibility this summer, take it. Watch a movie that you don't have time to watch. Eat ice cream. Go water skiing. Now if you'll excuse me, my friends are waiting to play football outside.
Eric Vivier is a Trinity senior.
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