VERSA Summer: An Etymology of the Word ‘long’

‘Long’ – it’s an interesting word, isn’t it? When my tutor first mentioned the ‘long vac’ I nodded my shrivelled post-Prelim brain naively and imagined scenes of ‘summer’, ‘holiday’, and other such delightful things.

Not so…

Now, four months in, I have come to realise the full meaning of the word ‘long’. It’s a nasty word: short in syllable, **** on vowel. ‘No wonder it’s originally German’, I thought, googling ‘etymology’ (another nasty word) – perhaps giving you an idea of the kind of summer that I’ve had…

So, rather than whine about my own holiday, I’m going to bitch about everyone else’s. And, starting 2nd year as I finished 1st, why not steal everyone else’s work in the process?

1.You start the vac on a high, greeting parents with an indifferent smile and vague sense of elitism:

Love me

2. All sense of triumph is lost with the inevitable family reunion:

Note the bull.

3. In order to escape said family, you go travelling –  preferably edgily – leaving a trail of noir photographs on social media for your friends to lap up:

Somewhere in Peru…

4. On edgy trip you may even start a ‘summer romance’ (etymology: Mean Girls). You think it’ll look something like this:

Aren’t we cute

5. Inevitably, it doesn’t…

^sun costume bad choice

6. Several attempts at a novel failed, $$$ gone, you return home and submit to honest toil

– at your cross-dressing local pub

7. Meanwhile, your best friends have all organised internships shadowing either the Queen, the Queen Mother, or Mark Carney:


8. Your arty friends are at the Fringe standing on the Royal Mile looking something like this:

9. Whilst your Christ Church friends are in Majorca:

Why are they all blonde?

10. You finally get dragged on a family holiday to Dundee where you narrowly avoid drowning in the North Sea:

(Global warming has increased shark activity around Dundee)

11. Then there are a few 21st’s – notably the one where you spectacularly misjudge the tone:

What do you mean ‘black tie’?

12. And then back to the reading list, which is really very, very long indeed…

Tags: holidays — intern — summer — vacation — work