Unless you're one of those very fortunate country people who'll be departing us for a Summer of fantastic fun in the States, then like most of us at this point, you'll be packing up your life and moving back home for the next few months. I know, I know, it's shit. Your J1 friends have cheap drink, new friends, parties and beach outings to look forward to, whilst all you have is months of being landlocked by cattle and the sight of 16 year old's on the beer outside your local Post Office. Here's your guide to surviving a Summer stuck at home seething with jealousy and J1 F.O.M.O;
The J1 crew generally arrive off the plane and wilt once they step onto American soil. Prepare for a summer of living in shorts and sweat bitches.This equals a serious case of F.O.M.O for us. It's a different tale at home, sure once the thermometer breaks 22 degrees in Ireland it's officially a heatwave. Now, in the States this is an everyday thing, the parks are full, the cities glimmer with joy and the sound of flip flops slapping the pavements can be heard far and wide. In Ireland it's a fucking nightmare. Ok for the first two days its great, "Jaysus this is great for the grass now, great altogether", then things start to crumble. By things I mean farmers. "The fucking grass is burnt to shite, we're not fucking able for this kind of weather at all, a drop of rain now is what we need." Then it rains and the rain is "a prick". Never happy.
Many's a student dream of going on a J1, many's a farmers child dreams of going on a J1 to escape that evil bastard also known as the bog. It is my firm belief that every Irish person should be dragged extensions first, to a bog in the deepest dampest spot of the Midlands. They will never understand the pain the comes with having to turn even little prick of a sod of turf over, one by one, on what is likely to be the hottest day of the year. There is no shelter in the bog. You are guaranteed to be fried more than the fry you'll get when you all go home eight hours later. There's always a spot on your back that you'll burn from having your arse up in the air. Also, don't ask your father can you wear gloves to stop the turf cuts. He won't be able to hide his disgust at your weakness. This will make you feel better, just think of the lads boozing it up in Boston. JUST MESSING, LET'S ALL CRY TOGETHER.
Oh we've all heard the stories of the lads on the J1, chilling around the bonfires on the beach, downing the (probably stolen) cans and having a sing song about home. Am, why? Home is shit. We have bonfires too though, I hear you protest. Somehow, just somehow, I don't think that burning the rotten tree your father chopped down, along with half the farm debris, in a back field on a Thursday afternoon is quite the same thing. Nice try though.
8) Knacker Drinking
Nothing will pull you further into the deep recess of doom than getting a snapchat from the lads downing some cans of foreign looking beer whilst you once again sit in, having a bottle of warm Miller with your brother on a Friday night, because you're broke as fuck again. Oh you think that's depressing? Just wait until you cop that they're sitting beside a pool and it's 6am. Thanks people. Well just to show you all we're going to go knacker drinking in a field beside the church. Ignore the drizzle. We're having a fucking blast.
7) Let's Go To The Beach Beach
You're happily snoozing away, it's no later than a quarter past eleven in the morning and your mother comes in and wakes you with a postcard from the boiis living the dream. She wants to know why your "so called friends call you a cunt and why do they use the word slut so many times? Is there something you want to tell me Siobhan????" Yes, get the fuck out Mammy. So thanks lads, what a lovely message and what a lovely picture of a beach. Well I can do one better than that. Huntington Beach looks shite anyway, Salthill here we come. It's awful cold in Salthill though. Maybe bring a hoodie just in case.
6) Out On The Town
Getting drunk messages from some bar in America is almost kind of touching, oh they really do miss me. Until the same message comes through 17 times and you're charged for EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. I hope you spend a large portion of tomorrow over the toilet. You think it's time to take matters into your own sorry hands and organise a night out with the other J1 rejects. You get all riled up, get the best cans you can afford and then at about eleven o' clock that night it hits you that getting pints of Bulmers spilled on you is shit craic and that all you want to do it eat chips and cry. Preferably at the same time.
Your 'friends' (its questionable at this stage) soberly ring you from time to time, painting you a wonderful picture of their Summer so far, Don couldn't draw it better than these lads. Sadly the only painting you'll be doing this Summer is the sheds your father has bullied you into looking less shitty, although deep down you both know that the only thing that'd achieve this is a bulldozer. Not to worry, art always was your best subject, I just don't recall the art teacher calling me "a complete and utter gobshite" for painting in the wrong direction.
4) Mass Misery
There's always the slight fear that J1 students won't make it back home in one piece or without a criminal record. You can spot their parents a mile away, telling other parents about the last time they heard from their "young one" and lighting enough candles to illuminate the whole village. How could we spot them you ask? Because we'll be spending our whole fucking Summer in mass that's why. By God, Summer really lends itself to a good mass. There's masses of mass. Summer mass, exam mass, cemetery mass, July mass, Tuesday mass, you get the point. I'm massively depressed now just thinking about it.
3) Festival Fun
Summer is made of festivals. No doubt that any J1 goers out there will attend some fabulous sun drenched ones, probably on the beach too, just to rub it in. Oh well, us stuck at home will have our fun too. Forget Electric Picnic or any of the good ones though, I'm talking about the Lamb Festival (it's a thing) or the car show up the road that has bumper cars and 'shops' composed solely of Lilt and Banshee Bones. EAT SLEEP CRY REPEAT.
2) Old Material
All of us stuck at home for the Summer will hate to admit this, but we're very envious of the fact that right now you're probably sitting amongst a group of sunkissed babes, you could be on track to meeting the love of your life and we, well, we're stuck looking at the same faces we've been shifting in a sticky corner of the local nightclub since we were 17. This is known as J1 Love F.O.M.O. This is also not a good reflection of our ability to move on....
1) Social Not-Working
This is the most important advice you will ever read. Block all of your J1 friends from all aspects of your social networking accounts. There is nothing that'll make you hate life and your friends, more, than the constant stream of Instagram filtered images of them and their new hot and super tanned friends, partying their arses off on the beach. I do not need to see the fact that you've just checked in at the Hollywood Walk of Fame and I certainly do not need to see your Snapchat stories about the 'mental night' you had last night. The only thing I've seen all week has been my neighbour telling an Eircom salesman to piss off. I feel like doing the same to my 'friends'.