Vacation Postcard: Relaxation vs. Productivity


Like many others, I frequently spend my vacations locked in a struggle, trying to find a balance between resting and getting things done. This year was no exception; as vacation began, I set myself various goals. I wanted to read a few books, do some research about universities, and finish my Extended Essay draft (as well as all other vacation assignments) within the first few weeks of the break. However, as I woke up on the first day of vacation, I thought to myself, “Well, you can take these first few days off. You deserve it after such a grueling year.”

As you can probably guess, that thought process continued for a long time. With every passing day, I found new reasons to avoid getting started on my list of things to do. At some point, I stopped making excuses and just thought to myself, “Let’s be honest. Would you rather watch the Euros or write a 4000-word essay on color as a symbol representing social class in The Great Gatsby?”

Speaking of the Euros, they were a huge source of distraction for me, albeit a very welcome one, as this past tournament was an incredibly entertaining one. Between the hype of football potentially “coming home” to England, Denmark surprisingly reaching the semifinals after star player Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening game, and Italy ultimately winning the competition, it was a thrilling tournament. 

The enclosed image actually has me attempting to read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, but ultimately succumbing to the semifinal match between Italy and Spain. For the record, though, Slaughterhouse-Five is an incredible novel; Vonnegut cleverly intertwines his own experiences as a prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden with science fiction story elements to create a powerful, but admittedly bizarre novel. As far as reading the book went, it didn’t feel like a chore, which allowed me to be more productive without putting too much effort in. As for productivity in general, most of that was left until the last week of the break (such as the EE draft).

Ultimately, this vacation was like many before in that I wanted to get things done, but neglected those things until the last few weeks. Though the majority of my vacation was restful, it did create an imbalance where the last bit was more work than it should have been, but it was a much-needed break as I head into the second half of the IB.