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Posted at 10:59 AM ET, 08/21/2010

As he heads to college, a freshman looks back

By Valerie Strauss

My guest is Adam Turay, who is about to start at the University of Virginia as a freshman. In fact, he is heading there today. He graduated from South County Secondary School in Fairfax County, where he was editor-in-chief of his school paper, The Courier, and a member of the school’s "It’s Academic" team.

By Adam Turay
The summer days have been a blur. If you asked me what I did last week, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you. Responsibility has become a concept so foreign to me that on a normal day I’ve been rolling out of bed around 2 p.m. The other day I actually had to remind myself how to use a pencil. In other words, I am living a charmed life. With an expiration date.

I graduated high school June 18, and I go to college today. Purely in terms of the number of days, the break between the last year of high school and the first year of college is usually the shortest.

It doesn’t feel like it.

I honestly feel like I’ve been on summer vacation forever. Maybe it’s because I stopped exerting any scholastic effort well before June (read: senioritis), but it’s probably because, for the first time in a while, I have absolutely nothing to worry about.

That’s not completely true. I’m worried about getting all my textbooks for next year. I’m worried about getting along with my new freshman roommate. I’m worried about getting up at eight in the morning.

But I can’t remember the last time I’ve been really stressed out about anything. Instead, I’m both relieved at finishing one chapter of my life and excited at the prospect of starting another. Summer doesn’t feel like a fleeting break between two grueling nine-month periods of drudgery. Rather, it feels like a reward, something earned.

And as it comes to an end, I feel more and more grateful for what this summer vacation did for me. The lack of productivity was exactly what I needed.

This summer was not about being productive. It was about lazing through the days and staying out late with familiar people in familiar places. It was about saying good-bye to people I’ll never see again and spending time with my close friends before we all part ways. Bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter.

And although in a matter of days, I’ll have to start doing things like holding pencils and waking up before noon, something has changed.

For the first time ever, I’m looking forward to school.


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By Valerie Strauss  | August 21, 2010; 10:59 AM ET
Categories:  College Life, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  a charmed life, adam turay, college clases, college freshmen, new school year  
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I'm not sure what the point of this blog entry is. I would think the average student entering higher education would have to work during the summer to be able to afford expenses. Your "charmed life" doesn't end if you are entering one of the top universities in the country, either.

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Posted by: strade37 | August 22, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like fun. My parents let me have summers like this when I was in middle school, but as soon as I started high school I had to take a part time job or volunteer somewhere every summer. My food service job before I started college was so awful that a full time course load felt like a vacation. Working definitely helped me appreciate college more.

Posted by: crazycatlady | August 22, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Adam is a master of words. "I am living a charmed life. With an expiration date", I love it!

Posted by: knowledgenotebook | August 22, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"For the first time ever, I’m looking forward to school."

So much for your high school years being the best years of your life. Like most of us, he is about to find out that high school was sheer drudgery and college is about education.

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strade37: Take out an ad if you want to sell a product and quit wasting readers' time.

Posted by: sideswiththekids | August 22, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... Valerie, there is not much about this article is that is news worthy, interesting or inspiring. Let's hear from a student who had a summer job or volunteered for a non-profit organization. Many UVA students have worked all summer rather than just "lazing through the days." Those are the students who should be guest writers, not this student who is resting on his high school laurels.

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