9 reasons to regret your summer

(Evil Erin / Flickr)

Even as the summer heat may seem to have no end, the amount of summer break remaining is slimming. With little under a week of “free time” left before classes for the 2013/2014 school year begin, questions begin to form. What did you do this summer? Did you make great memories, new friends, and live it up? Or did the warm months of carefree fun pass by, leaving you with mild feelings of resentment and sorrow? Here are a few reasons summer might have you feeling down.

This summer, did you…

Work too much? As students, summer is the main, if not the only, time to generate cash flow for the upcoming school year and maybe even begin dog-paddling rather than sinking in the overwhelming debt of student loans. However, despite the many enthralling and enticing aspects of a minimum wage gig at fast food restaurants or grocery stores, or even a higher-paying road construction position, selling one’s soul to a corporation in exchange for cash during the only time of the year when a certain amount of leisure is sanctioned and encouraged without guilt has its drawbacks. And feeling like the summer has passed by too fast without enough time to partake in typical seasonal activities, even a trek to the local swimming pool, is definitely one of them. You may be a tad richer, but, dude, that’s one summer you’ll never be able to get back. Ever.

Get too much sun? One word for you: sunburn. Sunburn is the single highest cause of penguin suicides each year (no, it’s not), and if they can be troubled over their sunburns, so can you. Like tan lines, nothing can ruin a good complexion or trendy strapless summer wardrobe like speckled, peeling red skin. To make matters worse, sunburns generally prefer to attack where least expected, making victims resemble a certain winter mammal with a blinking nose, or forcing them to bear visible handprints on their backs from a patchy application of sunblock. They may fade to a lovely mocha hue, and then again they may not, but either way, prepare yourself for “lobster” comments from school friends on the first day back. And apply aloe vera in the meantime. Lots of aloe vera.

Butt heads with weather? Mother Nature’s unpredictable rage can hinder the potential of any event in the blink of an eye. Maybe a freak lightning storm ruined your outdoor sporting event, torrential rain spoiled your highly-anticipated backyard birthday party, or unbearable heat turned your pile of delicious frozen treats into a swampy puddle of sticky goo. Or perhaps fluctuating temperatures made choosing one wardrobe for a day darn near impossible, resulting in ridiculous clothes changes, massive loads of laundry and therefore a soaring hydro bill. It’s always impossible to know whether the weather will behave, given this is Manitoba. But feel free to take comfort in the knowledge that for the next few months the weather will remain fairly predictable: freezing cold.

Drink too much? Can’t remember last weekend? Or the weekend before that? Or the entire month of July? Sometimes a beer or two while barbecuing becomes a few more when friends stop by to borrow the latest and greatest Nicholas Cage flick, or a sober night as designated driver is anything but once Twisted Teas emerge, and—BAM!—you can barely find your ID, never mind the wad—well—the few twenties you’re certain were nestled snug in your wallet the night before. Alcohol damages your liver and oftentimes your reputation, can lead to extremely dangerous drunk driving, and, worst of all, drains your bank account. He’s a sneaky one, that Captain Morgan, and he’ll getcha every time! So maybe drink responsibly next summer, eh?

Fail to achieve that Cosmopolitan magazine beach body? In Manitoba, the only time to strut along the beach or poolside looking sexy and sultry in that scandalous bikini (or fashionable one-piece, if that’s more your style) is during the summer. If you opted for delicious frozen treats and seconds at grandma’s outdoor dinners, missing the opportunity to obtain a slim physique, there isn’t much of a second chance. But at least you had fun – and besides, the best way to get a bikini body is to put a bikini on your body.

Experience summer learning loss? Yes, it’s a real thing. Apparently, students score lower on standardized tests following summer break than they do at the start. One study reported finding that the “summer loss for all students is estimated to be equal to about one month, but this varies across subject matter.” After considering a student’s general tendency to avoid any strenuous learning during summer holidays and the previously presumed over-consumption of alcohol, it comes as anything but a surprise.

Attend that family gathering? Ah, everyone loves their family. Always and forever. And all the time. Even when Uncle Jack grips the stem of his martini glass, wobbling around the dance floor at your cousin’s wedding while sloshing its contents all over the dance surface and drawling along to an Aerosmith ballad (think “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”) or a Bee Gee’s hit. Sadly, you’re grateful at least Cousin Ted wasn’t streaking, high as a kite, down the aisle as your aunt and uncle said their vows. Or perhaps you were the obnoxiously drunk relative corrupting your small cousins and puking behind the house while your dad toasted to wholesome things like living long and prospering at the centennial celebration of your family’s farm. Maybe it was a family wedding, the annual camping excursion, or a grand ol’ family reunion that spoiled your weekend or summer, or tarnished family relations for the foreseeable future, and you didn’t even want to be there to begin with. It seems people along the same bloodline shouldn’t all have months of free time on their hands all at once, but they did, and now you’ll never forget it.

Become invigorated by summer love? Well, welcome to the real world, love bird—it ain’t gonna last. When combined with elements like picturesque sunsets, high seasonal temperatures, buttless night skies, or spontaneous showers, the cute, chiseled guy planting trees with you in British Columbia and the Brazilian exchange student with incredible eyes and an alluring accent can send you tumbling through treacherous chasms within the tunnels of lust reserved especially for summer love. But just as quickly as it arrived, so it shall vanish when it’s textbook time. Perhaps the feelings of confusion, bitterness and anger have already begun settling in, and rightly so. Summer lied to you; it always lies.

Not regret your summer enough? Yes, that’s right: Did you actually have a fantastic summer, perhaps not by anyone else’s standards other than your own? Is there a chance you genuinely enjoyed the summer of 2013 for one reason or another? Could it be that you actually have absolutely nothing to complain about? Well, if that’s the case, complain about this! Having a perfect summer of relaxation and liberal quantities of fun makes the transition back to school work and musty classrooms even harder, and can leave one with a false feeling of hope for a prosperous, intriguing, and fun-filled school year ahead. So maybe a summer of misery wouldn’t have been so bad after all.