When I was younger, summer break was the most exciting time of the year. Finally, I thought, I can hang out with my friends, focus on dancing, and just have fun. There was something so pure and refreshing about having a whole chunk of time to do whatever you wanted without the worries or stress of school (although, let’s face it, young me: school was no where near that stressful during those simpler times).

When I was growing up, every summer for me was dance camp. It was what I was used to, and I never minded it at all. Dance camp for me meant seeing my friends every day and being able to get better and better at something I loved to do. I liked the feeling of coming home exhausted from a full day of jumps and turns and strengthening and stretching. It made me feel productive and fulfilled. To me, there was no better feeling than getting into the car after a long day of dance and putting my sweaty, smelly feet outside the car window to air them out. I know that must sound extremely disgusting, but if you tried it, you would understand!

And the dancing didn’t stop the moment my mom picked me up from the studio. When I got home, I loved to choreograph my own dances to the most emotional songs I could find. The more depth to the song, the better. Some of my favorite songs to dance to were Skyscraper, The Climb, and Unfaithful.

Fast forward to today — it’s summer. But these days, summers have lost their charm. Now, they’re simply classified as a chunk of time that has to be documented on your resume. What experience did you get? What new skills did you attain? What people did you meet? How did you expand your network? What reputable company did you work for?

While no one blatantly asks these questions, everyone is trying to get the answers to these questions out of everyone else. I miss the times when I could tell others that my summer was ‘fun’, and that was acceptable. Now, if you just have ‘fun’ during summer, you are miles behind others on the road to careers and recruitment.

My summer so far has not been the most productive. I find it difficult to be productive when I just have a huge block of days empty for me to do whatever I choose with. I have to admit, most days I resort to watching Netflix or online shopping the whole day just to feel unfulfilled by the end of the day. I didn’t get a fancy internship. I applied to a few, but not enough — and that was no one’s fault by my own. And so now, here I am.

At the beginning of this summer, I told myself I wouldn’t waste any time. Even though I wasn’t doing anything up to the standards of what my friends were doing, I told myself that I could take this time to learn everything that I had wanted to in the past but didn’t have the time to and build on the skills that I lacked on. But it’s hard to keep going on that same momentum when there’s such a strong urge to slack. And then the more I slack, the more I begin to feel depressed, anxious, and static.

Right now, I feel static. I look back on this month of summer, and realize that I have not grown in the ways that I hoped I would. It’s frustrating to me when I think of my friends growing at such a faster rate than me. I feel as if I’m just falling more and more behind. While they are getting more and more qualifications and bolstering their reputation, I’m here sitting at home thinking of how to pass the time. I don’t want to feel static anymore. I want to feel excited about what I can do and where I can go. I cannot stay in this slump, or else these feelings of depression and anxiety will just continue to build until it becomes too overwhelming.

Take control of your time. Put it towards things that will help you move forward. Don’t fall in the trap of becoming static because everyone and everything around you is constantly growing.