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“Hey, what did you do this summer?” is a really stressful question for me, and one that usually abounds in the first few days back at Princeton. I’m sure people ask just to have something to talk about or because they genuinely want to know, but I’ve spent way too many years responding with “nothing much, it was pretty relaxing.” 

The typical Princeton student spends their summer doing an impressive internship at Goldman Sachs or J.P. Morgan, taking classes in Germany, France, or Spain, or attending Global Seminars in India. Not me. I’m the rare lazy type. I didn’t apply for anything so I found myself at home with nothing to do for a month. 

Dreading spending the long summer days at home, waiting for time to pass, I asked my parents to send me to England where I have cousins to keep me company. As soon as my aunt heard I was going, she told me to take her 15-year-old son with me too. 

What follows are five reasons why you shouldn’t go on vacation with your 15-year-old cousin.

1)   The Halal Police.

I am from a Muslim family, and I like to call those who preach and try to dictate the way I follow my religion “The Halal Police.” When it’s the summer, maybe you want to show off your shoulders – but there’s always someone there (well, only if you travel with your 15-year-old cousin) to tell you that your outfit is inappropriate. Oh, and in England, I’m of legal drinking age so I would look at the pubs longingly and my cousin would always joke saying “We out?” Little do they know... it’s not a joke.

2)   Arguments.

It’s a simple fact, you argue more with people you know are there for the long run. That’s why I’m constantly yelling at my brothers. Friends can cut you off for any petty argument, but family won’t disown you for talking back. So what do you do when you’re trying to relax and enjoy the time you have away from Princeton when your 15-year-old cousin is sensitive and takes everything as an insult and starts to argue at every little thing? You argue with him and call him a couple names.

3)   Reports back to your parents.

Ah, speaking of arguments... none of them are private. As soon as you and your cousin have one, there’s a race to see who can Usain Bolt to the phone and snitch first. My cousin’s 15 but he’s six feet tall and an athlete. I am neither of those things, so you can guess who got a stern phone call from a parent asking “Why did you do this?” later that night.

4)   Speaking of parents – they’re practically with you.

Maybe it’s because they’re hearing about how often you and your cousin argue and want to make sure you don’t strangle him in his sleep, but my parents and my cousin’s parents Facetimed us at least two or three times a day for hours at a time (mostly his mom). They might as well have come with us!

5)   You never want to see them again.

After spending a month with my cousin, I have been trained to say “ugh” every time his name comes up. It’s been exactly 23 days since we’ve gotten back and it’s still too soon for me to want to see him again. I think I’ll be ready to see him next summer.

Is it really a vacation when you have to babysit a 15-year-old who acts like a baby but thinks he’s a man? I think the only perk is not having to sit next to a stranger on the flight and having a fellow obnoxious American to make fun of Brits with. Below is the only picture I have with my cousin (in the red hoodie). None of us were having it.

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