Balance, Down time

Summer Kind of Wonderful

Accurate portrayal of me chilling this summer.

Accurate portrayal of me chilling this summer.

If you’re starting your first year at U of T this September, I’m sure many of you are spending most of your time thinking about course selection, choosing programs, residence life, non-residence life, etc. Trying to grab all of this information at once can get stressful, especially if it’s all you’re thinking about.

While I think university is exciting time, and it’s great to be enthusiastic about it, it’s also important to take a step back. There is an entire month and a half between now and the start of your university career, and it’s important to enjoy that time as well.

That’s why I’m taking a break from writing about U of T. Instead, I’m going to get into how I’m spending this summer. Having free time in the summer is something I cherish. U of T is great, and I’ve had a ton of great experiences here, but even too much of a good thing can get overwhelming.

One of the biggest changes at U of T is that, if you aren’t taking summer courses, you have a four month break in between academic years. Four months is a lot of time. I already felt like two months was long when I was in high school. It definitely takes some time to get used to, but here’s how I spend my summer:

Picture of Avneet at Brooklyn Bridge

After this photo was taken, I started discussing whether or not there was a hole in the space-time continuum under this bridge, just like the movie Kate & Leopold.

Right after my final exam, I booked a trip to New York. I’ve been to New York a couple of times and I love to experience it the way Carrie Bradshaw does, which includes going to nice restaurants, checking out some art galleries, shopping at used bookstores, and hanging out at Washington Square Park (which is more Felicity Porter than it is Carrie Bradshaw, I guess).

I also went to Chelsea Market with my sister, and found a store which sold jewellery made out of vintage typewriter keys. I found a ring which had a 1930s typewriter key my first and middle initials on it. Naturally, I geeked out and spent $50 on a brass ring, thinking, “Hey! I’m a writer so I love typewriters, these are my initials, and I love vintage jewelry. This is so on brand.”

I had also purchased a lot of books from all the used bookstores I went to. And I mean a lot. I think what I’m getting at is that this trip helped me take a break from the pressures of everyday life and think about who I am and what I want to be. I also rediscovered my love of reading, which can be difficult to hold on to since I was always reading for classes.

Picture of book and iced coffee on a table

So that’s what I’m spending a bulk of my summer doing: reading for pleasure. I mean, I currently work full-time but after-hours, I have all night to not think about work and just relax with an iced latte and a good book.

To quote Victoria Beckham, “It’s always good to have a good book.”

Now that I’m back in Toronto, I’ve taken to becoming Rory Gilmore. I’m checking out more books from the Toronto Public Library than I have time to read, perusing used bookstores in the city, and going through my current bookshelf.

I guess what I’m saying is this: it’s okay to be excited for U of T and curious about things like program enrolment and residence life. But it’s also important to relax and enjoy the summer you have at the moment because having free time is awesome. Even if you can’t go on a trip, take some time to do things you really love.

Currently, I’m in the middle of Mozart in the Jungle by Blair Tindall and The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I’ll let you know how they are once I’m done. Otherwise, here are some books I recommend, in no particular order:

  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • Bunheads by Sophie Flack
  • Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan