By Arjun Soin
At a time in the quarter and year where pretty much all summer plans are being formulated, I find myself pondering what the summer hustle is about. Being re-instated for The Daily’s latest volume, my musings have been legitimized for I can put them down on paper in an attempt to present my take on the much awaited summer and the umpteen jobs, internships, travel experiences and miscellaneous positions that it shall be rife with.
If there’s one thing I’ve realized after a quarter and a half at Stanford, it’s that Stanford students stop at absolutely nothing. Cliché as it may sound, and although this attribute makes Stanford’s academic environment and work ethos what they are, it is definitely worth taking the time to sit back, unwind and really think about the potential in that mammoth three-month break. Three months, over 90 days, a quarter of the year, or the most substantial time off from school — however you look at it, its significance never dwindles. And, although I am by no means an authority on how an ideal summer break should transpire, my ultimate motivation in this piece is to simply re-iterate and reemphasize how transformative a summer can be, even beyond the realms of professional or academic experience. And so, for any of you on the brink of sending in countless applications or even deciding between all those enticing offers, if perusing this only reaffirms the stability of your intellectual, moral and social commitment to your prospective summer undertaking, I will have attained most of what I set to do with this article.
As a freshman, the sudden explosion of opportunities to enhance one’s summer is novel at best and intimidating at worst. And the interplay of this best and worst is perhaps where we have our best bets at finding what suits us. In my opinion, hastily applying for every opportunity that comes your way seems far less appealing than earnestly pursuing something that actually resonates with your passion. As much as one may argue with the maximizing chances line of thought (which I confess is more analytically sound), the ultimate satisfaction following a more inherently meaningful experience is bound to be unmatchable. All of this considering that there are only four summers to experiment with over college, each of which must be savored, to say the least!
To this end, if meticulously thinking over a position before plunging into it is sure to enhance you as a person even beyond your quantifiable hard skills and attributes, it is probably worth giving it a shot at least once over four eventful years. And if that one fortuitous stop at the career fair seals the summer deal with certainty like never before, instincts automatically seem to take over and hopefully you have found yourself a calling for the summer. If the family that you remain away from through most of the year wants a part of your hectic summer, why not grace them with your presence and make that one summer dedicated to more than just yourself? The fact remains that of the plethora of options available, the most befitting one is more often than not going to be the most elusive. Which is precisely why anything but haste will do at this time of the year. Regardless of the classes, psets, papers, events, weekend trips waiting to consume our lives, careful reflection in mapping out an ideal summer is sure to reap at least long-term contentment. And at the end of the day, wherever summer takes us, and whatever it engages us in, no matter how much it transforms us for the better or for the worse, the assurance we have to ourselves is that Farm is always waiting for us on the other side.
Contact Arjun Soin at asoin ‘at’ stanford.edu