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An image of the beach and ocean in Sri Lanka

A Dartmouth year is hectic. It involves 30 weeks of academic rigor, while also being socially involved on campus. Freshman year, with orientation and an introduction to an entirely different environment, is even more challenging. Towards the end of the Spring term, I felt myself getting academically exhausted (aka burnt out). My classes this term were intellectually demanding and it took a lot of dedication and consistency to maintain the grades I wanted. To me, a year of hard work warranted a well-deserved break in the summer. I decided to go back home to Sri Lanka, to see my family and spend time in a tropical climate. 

Surrounded by my brilliant friends at Dartmouth who are all pursuing internships and jobs this summer, I felt some pressure to do the same. I felt that I was taking it too easy by going home and that I should be working much harder than I am right now. However, I realised that my path does not need to be exactly the same as everyone around me. Internships are great, but I will always have the opportunity to do one the next year and the year after that!

Going back home for one summer after my first year of college as a first-generation, low-income student is perfectly reasonable. Being thousands of miles away from everything familiar to me was difficult. Returning for a moment to the familiar people, weather, food and language is a great break before I start my sophomore year. As I am about to return to Dartmouth as a staff member for FYSEP 2023 (First-Year Summer Enrichment Program) in August, I am making the most of the last few weeks of this break. This is me telling you that it is perfectly okay to take some time for yourself, to spend time with family and friends after your freshman year, even if it may not seem like the most productive choice at the moment. I promise it is worth it.

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