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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Guide to a scholarly summer

After a grueling spring semester of mediocre basketball, laying out and not going to class topped off by the rude awakening of a caffeine-fueled, expletive-laden finals week, the summer recess may seem like a much-deserved break from the rigors of a university education. Some might be jumping into a part-time job, happy with only a beer pong championship and a grade point average lower than a supermodel’s body fat percentage to keep them company, or perhaps will be taking a summer course in tanning and will aspire only to appear on the esteemed scholarly forum Texts From Last Night.  

But for the esteemed few who are actually aware of the location of the UA Main Library, summer can seem like a wasteland of minimum-wage flashes of the future, bad television and an utter lack of academic stimulation. Even the lucky legions who secured internships with Suspenders Monthly might feel their intellect dropping like a baseline energy level after a gallon of 5-Hour Energy that seemed like a great idea the night you crammed an entire semester of Traditions and Cultures 101: Nutrition, God, You and Sexuality in East Africa.   

Readers of this column are already ahead of their classmates; those who read newspapers will probably have less trouble remembering to, say, bring a pencil to class when courses begin in August. For those interested in keeping their noggins in the tip-top form that secured them placement at this esteemed institution in the first place, what follows are a few tips to keeping form during the languid summer months.  

A first tip to keeping both one’s self respect and one’s sanity this summer: avoid initialisms, and especially avoid people who think an initialism is an acronym. The most egregious example would have to be the ever-eloquent “”GTL.”” Coined by the aspiring alcoholics on MTV’s “”Jersey Shore,”” this stands for Gym, Tan, Laundry. Though the cast of this television series is often making guttural noises, even they do not try to pronounce this phrase as a word, making it not an acronym but an initialism. Other examples of phrases to avoid in usage and in proximity include the vintage: SOS, AOL, DUI; the vapid: OMG, LOL, KKG; and the vulgar: LMFAO, DTF, MILF, WGAS. Also: PBR.  

Another tip to keep in top form for another semester of concentrated procrastination: avoid vampire media. Blood sucking seems to have become a cultural fetish, but this phenomenon drains independent thought more quickly than Hollywood drains red corn syrup. From the maudlin Mormon parables of “”Twilight’s”” Forks, Wash., to the softcore suckfest of “”True Blood’s”” Bon Temps, La., any screened format of these most popular parasites are a drain on the few brain cells a college student has left after a semester-long “”research project”” in “”how vodka is metabolized.”” If the popular culture has given you a thirst for fangs, blood and sickly-looking Englishmen, books inspired all of the aforementioned vampiric masterpieces.  

In order to tread the intellectual waters until your life raft of the school semester comes along, there is one easy, usually free way to keep one’s noodle in top form: read. Whether it’s crap or Kafka, US Weekly or the U.S. Constitution, Twilight or Dracula, Steig Larsson or Rivka Galchen. Do it ironically. Do it while at the gym, or tanning, or doing laundry. But if you want a university education to be anything more than a ticket straight to middle management, reading is an easy, cheap way to learn something not on a syllabus.

— Anna Swenson is a junior majoring in English. She also writes for the Desert Lamp. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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