Summer Diaries: Haley Oeur


Haley Oeur

During our visit to see our Canadian cousins, we drove to downtown Toronto. I thought Canada was supposed to be cold, but somehow the humidity of the city was just as bad as in Virginia.

Haley Oeur, Copy Editor

It both annoys me and excites me to know that I am experiencing an aggressively normal summer. No camps, no internships, no jobs, just me doing what I want.

I try to keep myself busy by completing mundane activities at home. Although I have a monitor and a desk to use, I’m found most mornings in an atrocious position on the couch with my laptop splayed on top of me. I’ve certainly spent dozens of hours on Khan Academy at this point—what with prepping for the SAT in August and four AP classes next year, there’s enough material on that website to keep me occupied. Unfortunately, I am frequently sidetracked from contextual applications of differentiation by my obviously much more important endeavor of running through the entirety of Khan Academy’s 3rd grade math curriculum.

Most afternoons, I leave the house to walk my meticulously routed two mile path around my neighborhood. It may sound bad, walking along sidewalks in my pink flip-flops, sweating profusely because I decided to walk when the sun is shining directly over me. But taking pictures of random trees and lining up my steps with the music I’m listening to always allows me to get a breath of fresh air and have a time to reassess what I’ve been doing with my life.

In the evening, I naturally gravitate towards my instruments: my piano, guitar and ukulele. I’m not a professional or prodigy at them by any means, as I no longer take piano lessons and I taught myself the guitar and ukulele last year. My lack of expertise doesn’t stop me from having fun with the instruments—from playing only the first page of classical pieces out of my battered songbook to seeing how jazzy I can change root chords in pop songs until they don’t work, experimenting with music is something I never get bored of.

In the hour or two before I go to bed, I am often found reading. I’ve always loved reading, but during the school year it’s hard to find the time or brainpower for it when there’s already so much dense, required content I have to get through. Reading what I want during the summer makes me more excited for the activity and improves my focus.

One of my goals this summer was to read one of the five Shakespeare plays that reside on my bookshelf, and after conferring with my English teacher at the end of the year, I’ve settled on attempting to read Julius Caesar. However, I haven’t started yet because of the six book pile on my nightstand that I’m trying to work through first. This is definitely not an excuse to avoid starting a play written in Early Modern English; the books are from the library and I clearly have to finish those before they’re due.

My summer has been tedious compared to many of my friends. It hurts sometimes, hearing of all the opportunities they’ve been given, the events they participate in, when I compare it to me at home 90% of the day. But I’m having my own experiences: practicing driving and always being slightly off when trying to park in our garage, staring at a blank Google doc because I signed up for an essay contest and still haven’t written a word or going to malls and outlets once a week with my mom to buy something for our relatives in Canada we’re visiting in August and always returning with something for ourselves instead of them. I love that there’s an intricacy to my monotony.

The feeling of laziness I’m allowed during summer break is so different compared to the always-busy energy I have during the school year—but I don’t mind it. There’s a certain liberty and privilege with having nothing to do, I usually don’t have the time to be bored. This summer, I’m finally relaxing and using summer vacation for what it was made for: a break.