Summer holidays have gone on so long I've run out of stuff to do...

Columnist Eleanor Doughty discusses the aimlessness of the summer vacs

I was going to write something about students this week, but I decided not to. I got distracted. You can blame my candle. 

You see, it’s bent. Warped and leaning, like that famous European tower. It is one of those straight up and down flavourless candles that has its own holder with a thumb ring, just in case you need the loo in the night and the ‘leccy has gone off. The poor thing has been deformed by the sun because it has been so obnoxiously warm recently. It’s the kind of hot that reduces grown men to shorts in the work place. The kind of hot that means half my wardrobe is defunct. And that won’t do. Apparently, it’s been summer. Who knew?

Perversely, I began writing this as the first of the rains began. A drop of rain hit the deckchair I had acquired on Embankment where I had been enjoying a Magnum in the usual way. A Magnum and a can of San Pellegrino are what summer holidays are for, if you’re in the city. If not, then do refer to my National Trust to-do list and Enid Blyton’s back catalogue.

All of this made me think about time off. Two days off a week is great – personally I’d campaign for Wednesdays too, to break it up – there’s a generally nice balance between work and play, if you like your job. Which I do, luckily. But university time off is something else entirely. This coming term I’m in for two mornings midweek. I will have five full days off, with room to spare. Of course, I’ll be holed up somewhere reading but on face value this is gulp-worthy.

So the real reason that I wasn’t going to write about student life this week is because I don’t much feel like a student. I shan’t bore you with the guff concerning how long my spring-summer-and-autumn hols are, but this year I’ve been off more than on.

I haven’t been in a classroom since March, my tutor is away and the library is shut at the weekend. And academics aside, I haven’t felt like the sort of person who studies for a living, for a while. On Saturdays I hoover, on Sundays I buy flowers. And this week I became the owner of a new fridge. I’m only half-complaining – it’s been a scream but knowing there’s nearly two months more of this marathon is tiring. Returning to college shall be the holiday.

Idle Sundays aside, my summer education has been extra-curricular. My brain has been sharpened in other ways. My favourite of the new skills I’ve acquired is meal planning: yesterday I remember to defrost the chicken so I got to eat that night. Sometimes, I even plan two days ahead! Last summer I suffered at the hands of my own culinary disorganisation.

I think I’m one step closer to being an adult. The most valuable thing I have learnt is that this summer is the last one I’ll ever have. After 20 years, play dates and month-long European excursions are on their final leg. Soon, the education shebang will be over too, and the real world won’t wait. So hop to it kids, remember to pick up your post and change the loo roll. You can’t be Peter Pan forever.

Eleanor Doughty is a second-year student at Queen Mary, University of London. Follow her on Twitter here. She probably won't follow you back.

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

First Class Graduate (Computer Science, Economics, Finance)

£23000 per annum: Harrington Starr: First Class Graduate (Computer Science, Ec...

Drama Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Liverpool: We are looking for someone who can t...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice