Why Summer Break Sucks

I'm An Anti-Social Butterfly And I hate Summer Vacation

I have a love-hate relationship with the summer months... Well, mostly hate.

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Ah, summer. Hanging out with friends, staying up late and sleeping in, going to the beach and swimming, and absolutely no responsibility! It is every teenager's dream. Unfortunately, it is not that way for everyone, especially not me.

How could anyone hate summer, you ask? Well, coming from someone who is an anti-social butterfly, there is a lot to hate.

First of all, social interaction can become limited when you are not forced to see people every day at school. I get into the comfortable habit of curling up in a cocoon of blankets, binge-watching shows on Netflix, and not seeing the light of day for what seems like weeks at a time. Being someone who does not ask friends to hang out very often, they eventually cease to reach out to me and I find myself in a slump.

As someone who also suffers from depression, you can see how this is not a good thing for a mind like mine. I'm a person who needs structure, schedule, and something to keep me accountable. If I have nothing to do, why even get out of bed? Of course, this does not make me happy in the grand scheme of things, and I find myself longing for school to start by July.

So the cycle begins. Not seeing friends, sleeping for 12 hours at a time, literally not doing anything all day, which all results in an anxious, depressed mess that is my mind. As I become so lazy, I get angry with myself for being this way. I put myself down for doing what a teenager does. I feed off stress and busy days, and when I don't have that, my brain takes it and runs.

This happens every summer, ever since middle school, without fail.

Now, I bet you're saying, "okay but why should I care? I'm having fun in the sun with my huge group of friends. I love being lazy, and sleeping is my favorite activity!" Don't lie to yourself. I know someone out there feels the same way as me, so I am here to discuss solutions!

One thing that has been helping me survive this summer is forcing myself out of bed at 7:00, so I can make the 8:30 work out class at my local gym. I get home after a good sweat before 10, I feel good, and the day seemingly has endless possibilities! Even if you scoff at any exercise more intense than walking to the fridge to get a snack, I encourage you to challenge yourself and your physical limitations. You will only grow stronger and more motivated to do something with your bundles of time.

After my work out, I attempt to plan out a day of mild responsibility to get my fix of productivity. Whether it be going shopping for something I know I need, cleaning up my room, or doing laundry, just doing a small chore or two can make me feel like I'm not completely useless.

After that, the day is yours to seize! Don't plop back down on the couch and turn the TV on. If you do, try to limit yourself to one or two episodes of Netflix. A full-on binge will pull you right back into your old habits. Step out of your comfort zone- ask your friends to do something fun, go somewhere new by yourself, create something!

I'm probably preaching to the choir and I definitely should take my own advice. I want to have fun just like everyone else this summer, but in my own, type A way. I'm still dreaming of school and "busy-ness," but maybe I can have some fun with my remaining weeks of summer while I wait.

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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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A Cliche Bucket List For Summer 2019

Summer's coming, so get ready.

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Here are 10 things that I am holding myself accountable for this summer. Whether you're reading this for entertainment or inspiration, I hope it inspires you.

1. Canada.

While Canada doesn't sound like the most tropical summer destination, it is a great place to go with friends. In fact, my friends and I booked a three-day trip to Canada, staying in an Airbnb for only $40 a person. I'm telling you, people; get to Canada! It's cheap, and 18 is the legal drinking age. *wink wink*

2. Myrtle Beach.

From Broadway at the Beach to the amazing food and entertainment options, Myrtle Beach is the perfect getaway for you and your gal pals this summer.

3. Read a new book every month.

Juggling online classes, girls trips, and baecations, reading can get a little difficult. That's why I'm giving myself a one-book-a-month goal. I love reading and I truly believe it is therapeutic for the soul. Whether it's a steamy romance or a nail-biting thriller, I WILL read one book a month.

4. Run a 5k.

This one is a little hard for me. While the extent of my exercise is going on the elliptical for 20 minutes if I'm feeling motivated, I plan on pushing myself to try for a 5k or at least a Color Run. I know that's very farfetched, but hey, a girl can dream.

5. Quit using heat on my hair.

This one is self-explanatory. If I continue ironing my hair at the rate I'm going, I'll be bald in 10 years.

6. Go on a road trip.

This isn't as hard as the 5k, but this one definitely is going to be a struggle. I hate driving in cars for more than 20 minutes, but this summer, I want to push myself and try to enjoy the journey.

7. Write a story.

Now, this one may not apply to all of you if you're not a writing freak like I am. I have always wanted to successfully write a story beginning to end, and for some reason, I always push it off. This summer, I WILL (even if it's just a few pages) write a story. For those of you who cringe at the thought of writing, turn this goal into something you'd enjoy. Maybe paint something or try to beat your mile time.

8. Get fit.

Okay, this may be the most cliche of them all. But seriously, I mean this one. My fitness journal has been slightly below average and I'm sick of it. This summer, I plan on eating right and treating my body the way it deserves to be treated. Maybe my 5k goal will help.

9. Start my own blog website.

This has been a dream of mine for years. I love writing and I love the platform that Odyssey gives me. I hope to one day (hopefully this summer) be able to contribute to Odyssey and to my own website.

10. Give up social media for a month.

A month may be a little too hard for my social media addiction, but mark my words, I will do another social media cleanse. I did one once before and I felt so refreshed. Honestly, it made me want to stay away from social media. I'm hoping that doing it one more time will do the trick for me.

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