I just finished my freshman year at the University of Florida, and now I'm home for the summer, still uncertain about what to do with myself.
I had a plethora of possibilities in mind, including relaxing, enjoying the company of my friends and frequenting music festivals across the nation. Seemed like the perfect antidote to the stress and anxiety of my first collegiate finals.
But a number of issues arose when I explained that plan to my parents. With more than eight months on my own, I'd forgotten what it's like to be reeled in by the constricting -I mean, caring -leash of parental authority. My dreams of wasting away my summer days were quickly thrown in the trash bin of impossibility.
Getting a job quickly became my No. 1 priority, mainly because my parents said, "Gytis, getting a job should be your No. 1 priority." Also, endless nights of debauchery have been postponed until the fall when I return to a more independent life in Gainesville, as "come home tonight" is the unwelcome but frequent refrain in conversations.
But as shocking as it is to once again not be in complete control of my life, there are a couple of very nice benefits to being home from college.
Adults generally assume that I'm much more responsible after a year of being on my own, and tend to treat me as such, including me in intellectually stimulating conversations that I, apparently, was not educated enough to be included in the previous year. Also, adults tend to be more lenient. When I make mistakes, it seems to take them only seconds to forgive me as they reminisce fondly about the occasional stupidity of their own college days.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I got home, but I've come to a few conclusions regarding how best to enjoy my time away from school.
First, getting that job is critical, as time spent away from the house will ensure my sanity, and the money in my pocket will help me make it rain at the club.
Second, it really helps that I have friends in town. Nobody wants to spend all his leisure time by himself.
Finally, I'm realizing these summers at home may be the last times in my life I'll get to be taken care of, so I should take advantage of them. I should enjoy my family and the home-cooked meals. Enjoy my pet and my bed. And I can't forget how much nicer my own bathroom is than the one in the dorm.
Gytis Garsys is a 2010 graduate of Tampa Preparatory.