Vacation: Killer of my ambition

Kevin Niederman


I think I've forgotten how to write.

It’s been, what, four, five weeks since I last had to put my thoughts into any kind of coherent order for my editor to decipher and for you to, eventually, consume? I've forgotten the preferred formatting and structure.

It's all out the window and I'm back to square one.

This isn't a one time event either. This happens every time I go on a vacation lasting more than two weeks. It all falls out as I deflate onto the living room carpet.

Why do we have such extreme vacations that exert this toll on me time and time again? Adults, by and large, do not get to have three months off of work in the middle of the summer. Why are we conditioning children since infanthood into being used to, and comfortable with, excessive breaks away from school?

The only thing that makes any sense to me is that, like daylight savings time, summer vacation is some kind of remnant from a century where the common family made its way in the world through farming.

There was no television back then. Couple that with the limited prehistoric contraception available and you end up with every married couple having children numbering in the double digits. When it came time to start plowing those fields and tilling the land and whatever else farmers do, they needed every last hand on deck.

Those kids got summer breaks off and worked their fingers raw so their family would have enough food to live through winter. Today, summer break is a solid three months where I can watch Netflix 15 hours a day, eat English toffee and pixy sticks and complain about how exhausted I'm getting.

It's definitely not the same.

Imagine that vacation is like cough syrup. Real life is stressful, it takes a physical toll.

Sometimes you need a little vacation to help alleviate some symptoms. But you can't pound eight bottles of vacation and expect to come out on the other side with your kidneys intact. Or, worse yet, maybe you can. Maybe you are so used to just guzzling vacation, that you build up a tolerance.

Then you graduate college, get out into real life and find that vacation consumption is limited to a half tablespoon per year. Maybe that tolerance is actually a dependency. Then withdrawals and so forth, the drug abuse metaphor carries on.

It seems pointless to set up a structure that is so jarringly different from how things actually work. I understand that school is stressful and overworking children won't make them any better, but there has to be a way to make the transition less difficult.

We could have school year round with a week off per season and no school on any Monday or Friday. We could have school three weeks out of every month. We could just, I don't know, go to school every day but only for three hours.

The point is that shorter vacations made more frequent would not only potentially dampen that eventual reality shell shock that hits all of us. It could also hypothetically cut back on all that information falling out of my head.

Maybe if vacations were shorter I would’ve had to learn about George Washington and his stupid cherry tree every single year in elementary school. Maybe they would've told me that story was all a lie a lot sooner. If I could type an audible sigh of frustration that would play for you the instant you turned to this page I would. Ugh.

Last semester I wrote an article about the lettuce selection at our cafeteria at Union College, and lo and behold, the lettuce type now varies from time to time. I want to thank the leadership at Union Market for including more variety after listening to the thoughts of the people they serve. Thank you, kindly.

Kevin Niederman is a junior nursing major hailing from Santa Rosa CA, about an hour north of San Francisco. He enjoys cartoons, hats, and driving ridiculous distances for food that has the potential of being amazing.