Why I enjoy being a camp counselor

working with children is the most rewarding summer job

Because summers are for camp!

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For the past four summers, I have had the opportunity to work at the place I have called my "summer home" since I was 8 years-old. Summer camp was always the highlight of my year, and was the thing I looked forward to the most. It is the place that has given me countless memories, plenty of laughs, and amazing friends, so it was only fitting that I would work there for as long as I could.

Working with 5 year-olds is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. When your biggest concern is going into kindergarten, life is pretty simple. There is no teenage dram, or stress of finding what you want to do with your life- they just want to have fun! Working with kids has taught me to let go and not stress over the little things. As a counselor, it is your job to make sure kids have a great summer... what's a better job than that?!

Many of my childhood memories come from spending summers at camp. I remember the names of the counselors that have given me these incredible memories and who have truly had an impact on my life. Working at camp has given me the opportunity to give back, and be the counselor that my camper's will remember.

Although people may laugh at the idea of being a camp counselor and say that it isn't a "real job," I can testify that it is one of the hardest jobs out there. Being a camp counselor requires high energy, attention, and A LOT of work. It has also taught me important skills that will help me when I decide to venture in the professional world. I have learned about leadership, decision making, and time management while working at camp- and the best part of it all, was that my job didn't really feel like a job.

So for anyone who is feeling the stress of finding internships that will look great on your resume, you have TIME! Although it may seem that you need to be working in a fancy corporate office and networking 24/7, the truth is that all of that will come in the future. Enjoy your summers while you can, and find a summer job that actually makes you happy before you sell your soul to a summer internship.

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40 Things To Do During Summer Vacation

Because we all know four months without college friends or classes is WAY too long.
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It's been less than a week since finals wrapped up at the University of Minnesota, and I, among many of my other friends, are already lost on things to do. Since January, our entire schedules have been filled with homework and studying. The new freedom summer brings provides endless time (in between our summer job shifts, of course) for new activities and things you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do during the school year. Below is a list of 40 different activities to keep you entertained during your break and to ensure you make the most of your summer.


1. Learn a new language.

I highly recommend starting with Duolingo. It's an app that provides free language tutoring through a series of activities and exercises. It offers a wide variety of languages such as Spanish, German, Greek, Swahili, among many others.

2. Volunteer.

There's an endless amount of volunteering opportunities offered throughout every major city in the country. For example, many hospitals will accept volunteers, as well as organizations in Minnesota such as Feed, My Starving Children, or the Ronald McDonald House. Most positions only require an application but be sure to check for minimum requirements such as age or experience.

3. Read a book.

Go to a library and wander until you find a book you think you'll like. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

4. Watch a TED talk.

This is one of my favorite hobbies any time of the year. TED is a nonprofit organization that shares short, approximately 15-minute videos ranging from science to business to global issues. There's a topic out there for everyone.

5. Start a garden.

Even if you don't have any outdoor space, succulents and cacti are very low maintenance and still add a little "green" to your indoor space.

6. Go camping.

Whether it's at a campground or in your backyard, enjoy the technology-free time with your family or friends.

7. Paint.

If you're not an artistic person, go to the store, buy a set of Crayola watercolors, and just paint.

8. Take an online course.

Coursera and edX both supply free online courses from top universities such as Yale, MIT, and Harvard. If you're trying to further your understanding of a particular topic such as physics or biology, I suggest starting with these websites.

9. Bake brownies or cookies.

Most stores stock up on the prepared cookie or brownie mixes, but if you have the time and ingredients, try making them from scratch.

10. Fly a kite.

Kites are available on Amazon for $10-$15, and instruction videos are available on YouTube to help you get started.

11. Play board games.

Life and Scrabble are my go-to's.

12. Make a scrapbook of old memories.

If you have the time and a little extra money, I promise the end-product will be worthwhile.

13. Start a journal.

You don't have to go buy the fancy Moleskin journals or buy an expensive one from Barnes and Noble, a simple notebook will do the trick. Write down your thoughts and document your summer.

14. Go to the beach.

Enjoy the sunshine, but don't forget sunscreen!

15. Go fishing.

Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and one of them is most likely within driving distance. Take the time on a nice, calm morning, and go fishing.

16. Binge-watch a TV show on Netflix.

"The Office," "Friends," "New Girl," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Grey's Anatomy" are good places to start.

17. Start a bucket list and cross off one item every week.

The items added don't have to be spectacular and nearly unattainable, they can be little things, too. In other words, I'm not expecting you to go skydiving, swim with sharks, and go on a cruise all in one month.

18. Learn to rock climb.

Both indoor and outdoor rock climbing are available depending on your level of comfort and experience. Remember to take every safety precaution and have fun.

19. Catch up with an old friend over coffee.

Call the friend you haven't seen in three years and ask to catch up over coffee. You never know how much their life has changed since last speaking with you.

20. Have a picnic.

Pack a basket with sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and juice, and find a nice spot with a view. Maybe bring a book for a post-picnic activity.

21. Meditate or do yoga.

If you're unexperienced in both of these activities, many YouTube channels provide instructional videos. I'll post a link to one of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors here.

22. Learn a new instrument.

Whether it's piano, guitar, or even this $7.49 recorder from Amazon, try something new.

23. Discover new music.

Spotify and Pandora are great music platforms to discover different songs and artists. Keep checking your local venues and maybe attend a concert if possible.

24. Complete a puzzle.

You can buy puzzles online for around $10-$15. However, thrift stores and stores like Goodwill often sell them for less than $5.

25. Visit a museum.

The Science Museum of Minnesota and Minneapolis Institute of Art are two of the post popular museums in Minnesota. If you check their websites and other internet sources such as Groupon, you might be able to find a discount for admission.

26. Go to a comedy show.

I'm unaware of good comedy events around the country, but if you ever find yourself in downtown Minneapolis, check out Brave New Workshop.

27. Build a card tower.

If you're unsure how to do so, here is a link to instructions.

28. Reorganize and redecorate your room.

If you'd like a change in your life, try redecorating or reorganizing your room. Donate old clothes, books, or furniture no longer in use.

29. Marathon the entire Harry Potter series.

I challenge you to do this back-to-back with each movie, but I also realize that is 19 hours and 39 minutes of watching movies, not including snack or bathroom breaks.

30. Play with a pet.

It doesn't have to be your own. For a real adventure, check out the nearest animal shelter.

31. Start a blog.

Wordpress and Weebly are two online blogging websites that I highly suggest. Although it takes awhile to become accustomed to the platform, these websites are great because they're entirely customizable to the type of blog you wish to create.

32. Go for a bike ride.

Whether it's along the river or out on back roads, go for a ride.

33. Teach yourself how to juggle.

This might be easier said than done, but some videos on YouTube might be useful.

34. Take a bubble bath.

Some bubble bath or a bath bomb, music, and a good book will have you relaxed almost instantly.

35. Go to a farmer's market.

Support the farmers in your community and try buying local. With a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and flowers, there's something for everyone. The farmer's market in downtown Minneapolis is open Thursday's from 6am-6pm, while the Lyndale Market is open daily from 6am-1pm.


36. Exercise.

Go for a walk. Run. Bike. Do yoga. Play soccer. Just get up, and get moving.

37. Become a tourist in your own city.

Pretend you're from out of state and only have a limited amount of time to explore your city. Take yourself and your friends or family to the must-see places around town.

38. Color.

Adult coloring books have become an increasingly popular trend. Available online, Barnes and Noble, and Target, they're easily accessible. You can buy a book, some colored pencils or pens, and enjoy the relaxing day.

39. Spend time with your family and friends.

Whether it's a movie day or going out on a walk, put away your phone or laptop for a day and appreciate the people standing around you.

40. Enjoy all the time you have not worrying about studying or homework.

Cover Image Credit: Joe Pizzio // Unsplash

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You're Not Crazy, Your Seasonal Allergies ARE Worse Than They Normally Are

Between all of these symptoms, I've felt miserable the last week.

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We've all been waiting for summer to come, and it's finally on its way. I started putting away my jackets and heavy clothes, and I'm so excited to take out my dresses and bathing suits. Classes are ending for students and we can start the beach trips on these warm, sunny days. What could possibly be wrong with summer coming?

If you have seasonal allergies, specifically to pollen and tree-related allergens, you may be in for a real problem.

In certain states, especially in the northern and eastern US areas, the pollen count is at drastically high levels. So much so that people with only minimal seasonal allergies are having intense reactions, and people who didn't even know they had allergies are having their first reactions.

I've only ever had an itchy nose when seasons change, and only when standing in the middle of lots of plants that would aggravate it. I never suspected my allergies would be making me so sick right now until my physician told me what's going on with this season's allergens.

Since the pollen levels are so dramatic in New York right now, I've had sinus congestion so bad it turned into sinusitis, and a sore throat so swollen and painful I swore it had to be strep. The sinusitis was giving me fevers, aches, and chills, making me feel like I had the flu — all of this traced back to allergies. Between all of these symptoms, I've felt miserable the last week.

Once I started asking around about what my doctor said, several people have told me they're having the same problem with their allergies now. If you're suspicious you may have allergies, get tested and ask your doctor's opinion. It's best to be well-informed on your medical issues so that you'll be prepared if a bad allergy season comes along (like this summer).

If you want to know what the pollen count looks like in your area, go to Pollen.com and allow access to your location — it'll show you a map of the states and their current pollen levels, as well as a specific analysis of the town you live.

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