Ideas For Enjoying Summer

10 Suggestions For A Sweet Summer

Have a great summer with some of these cute ideas.

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"Summer... summer... summer, summer, summer, summer.... WOOOH!" Doesn't everyone think of the opening scene from High School Musical 2 when they're let off the hook for the summer? I mean the excitement is so tangible - relatable! Chances are you have some pretty big plans for what you're going to do with all your fun summer free-time. But when that excitement wears off (and you're stuck thinking about how your summer jobs allow you little to no social life) do you still have a plan for making every day of summer count? Allow me to list some fun and simple ideas for creating a relaxing, memorable summer.

Coffee shop hop.

Sidecar Coffee in Cedar Falls, Iowa!

Hallie Spore

I'm all over this one. If you love coffee (or even hot chocolate + the charming aesthetic of a coffee shop), spend some time investigating the best ones around you! I get that between jobs and other important things on your plate it might be hard to spend a lot of time idle in a coffee shop, so maybe take your laptop and do some work, while you're at it. You don't have to buy coffee every time, either - if you find one shop you really like, just go and read, or draw, or whatever your creative, wonderful self loves to do. Sometimes they even have live music, so be on the lookout! (I think this is where I slyly promote Sidecar Coffee in Cedar Falls, Iowa? Yeah, best latte I've ever had, soooooo...)

Go for morning walks.

Woman walking in the morning

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Though summer is *traditionally* a season of sleeping in, it's also a season of beauty! And who wants to experience that beauty while you're frying like an egg and pitting out in 100 degree heat? Exactly. Wake up just a little earlier (like 7 AM) and go walk when the air is still light and the sun has yet to fully expose itself. It is SO relaxing and a great way to start the day.

Have a picnic.

picnic

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

Whether that means you eat outside during your lunch break or you go all out and have a picnic blanket, basket, and someone to share it with, a picnic is one of the most summery things I can think of. It's also cheap and cute, and doesn't HAVE to be some huge ordeal (unless you want it to be.)

Family/friend game night.

Monopoly game

Ylanite Koppens on Pexel

If you're home with your family over the summer, take advantage of it! Or invite some friends over - either way, choose a night to get the board games out for some competitive rounds of dominoes or Apples to Apples, or a whole day devoted to Monopoly! And if it's nice out, maybe take to the yard for an evening game of soccer or kickball! Even if you can't always be out and about, you can have fun with the people around you.

Explore.

Man walking in a field

Bas Masseus - pexels.com

Go somewhere you've never gone before, maybe with some buddies or a few other people you love. Drive down a gravel road just to see where it ends. walk through a field or go take a hike on some cool looking trail. Acquire that bold and carefree spirit of adventure! I promise it'll serve you well.

Have a summer reading list.

reading a book outside

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Maybe you're not a reader, and that's okay, but I challenge you to find at least one interesting-looking book and make it your goal to finish it over the summer. I find that reading makes me think and also gives me something to look forward to when I get off work. If you love to read, you're never going to have a better time! Knock a few (or 10) books off your reading list.

Use Your Weekends Wisely.

Weekend breakfast

Photo by Lum3n.com from Pexels

Okay, so most of us have jobs, and if we didn't, we'd have no funds for important/fun things (like college!). I get it. And that's why a summer weekend is SO valuable! Friday nights into Saturday and Sunday are usually pretty wide open for most people, and though I don't know what your idea of fun is, mine would involve movies with friends, golfing, traveling with my family, visiting grandparents, going shopping, fishing, or meeting up with my college friends - and then going to church with my family. Whatever you do, just know summer weekends are the most carefree times you'll ever have, so use them wisely.

Stop and listen.

Couple sitting on a bench near a pond

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Listen to the birds chirping when you wake up. To crickets humming from the grass as you relax on your porch. Listen to the sounds of the neighborhood: kids playing a couple yards down, two or three lawn mowers buzzing and growling at the same time - maybe you're close enough to hear "Despacito" playing over the speakers of the local pool (which I'm sure can either be a positive or a negative!) Motorcycles zip by. The ice cream truck's familiar, nostalgic tune makes your heart beat fast and mouth water. And THUNDERSTORMS!! Oh, don't get me started. Summer has so many great sounds.

Take Lots of Photos.

Taking a photo in a busy street

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

Document your summer well! Snap a few shots of that beautiful tree blooming outside your window, and lots of sweet photos on your adventures with friends! Even your dog getting totally drenched in the sprinkler is memorable. And if you're in it for the Insta, you should already know just how much aesthetic potential summer has.

Give of yourself.

Assisting the elderly

Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels

Do something truly meaningful with the time you have this summer. Volunteer at a nursing home and read to the ladies and gentlemen there. Go play with your little siblings - I bet they'd love that. Or maybe find a younger kid or friend who really needs someone to look up to. Once you find what you're passionate about, go do it. And do it with all of you. A very smart man named Bob Goff once said, "Quit waiting for a plan; just go love everybody." I think he's right to say that. You'll make a real impact on someone else's life, and wouldn't you like to look back on a summer like that? One where you gave yourself away a little more and gained a joy you never knew about?

Cover Image Credit:

Oleg Magni - pexels.com

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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Why Its Okay To Not Go Back To Your Hometown For The Summer

What you need this break is the right way to spend it.

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As the week of finals ends every college student begins to feel this sense of relief. It's the time of year that the sun is shining and outside adventures begin. Plans laying by the water with a cool drink begin to come true.

But for many students that are just ready to enjoy a very much deserved break, there's an overshadowing pressure. A pressure to spend summer, not in the college town that's become important to you, but to spend all your time in the hometown hours away.

Torn between your homesickness and the home you once lived and the new home you've finally settled into. But what's the right answer to how much time is spent in your hometown this summer.

Simply there is no clear answer. Each of us needs mentally, emotionally, and physically something different this summer break. Maybe weekends, one week, or the whole time is what you, personally need to enjoy this time off. But I encourage you to really think about what you need, and not feel pressured to do anything.

Invite your family to spend time with you in this new world of yours. Ask your friends from home to come to visit and meet your friends here in college. The road runs both ways, and if they love you they will spend time with you.

Your friends, job, and life you've built since you moved to college shouldn't have to be put on hold every summer. Never let yourself feel like you have to live a double life just to keep others happy.

But never forget there are more options out there. Those who care about you will understand that you need to refresh from school is an important aspect for your health.

Going home this summer would be great! But if you need to just chill at your apartment to be able to mentally refresh from the year then go for it! If you want to spend your summer back in the town you love with your friends and family you have missed so dearly, then awesome!

This is your summer. Take ahold of it. Use it for fun adventures, long laughs, unforgettable memories, and most importantly a much-deserved break.

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