It's Finally (Almost) Summer, So Here Are 5 Ways To Spend It

It's Finally (Almost) Summer, So Here Are 5 Ways To Spend It

Just in case you have a week plus finals left and you are dreaming of going home for summer vacation like I am.
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Finally, the time that we have all dreamed of. It’s summer, or almost, and I could not be happier. Start thinking about everything that you want to do this summer and try to do all of it because this is going to be a summer to remember.


1. Relax.

You deserve a break after a whole year of working hard at school and taking a total of 10 (or more) classes in just two semesters. We all know the struggle of finding balance while away at school, so after finals just go home and take a bit of time to just destress and prepare yourself for a summer of fun and sunshine. Lay outside and tan (use sunscreen so you don’t burn), learn how to bake something sweet, catch up on your favorite show, and sleep as much as possible.

2. Work.

If you’re like me, you can’t possibly just sit around all day and wait for plans to happen. Get a part-time job and make some money this summer. Luckily for me, I have a job at home and I’ll be working, but if you don’t have one then look into industries that are always hiring such as restaurants and places like Target. You’ll have money to spend for next semester and you’ll keep yourself from going absolutely stir crazy.

3. Catch up with home friends.

Take this summer to really hang with the friends that don’t go to school with you. This will make you happier than anything in the whole world because you’ll be able to see the people who know you better than anyone else. I can’t wait to go home and hang out with my two best friends as much as possible because I have absolutely no idea how I’ve survived this year without seeing them every day like I did in high school.


4. Go on adventures.

Explore places that you haven’t been before and revisit places that you go to all the time. It’s summer, be creative and adventurous and try new things. If you live anywhere near Exton, Pennsylvania, you should definitely be going to places like Marsh Creek, St. Peter’s Village, and Yellowstone this summer for super Instagram worthy pictures and life-long memories with your friends.

5. Be you.

Do anything and everything that makes you happy. Do what you want to do this summer because everyone needs to have a few months where there’s no stress and everything is as happy as possible. Take advantage of all that your hometown has to offer and venture off into new places that sound interesting to you. Go to museums and parks and the beach, or try sailing or paddle boarding at your local lake. Break out of your comfort zone and be true to yourself too, it’s all so important to keep yourself happy this summer.

So happy (almost) summer to my fellow Blue Hens, and happy summer to basically everyone else.

Make a summer bucket list with your friends and try to actually check everything off for once, because we all know that the list gets forgotten about somewhere around June 20 almost every year.

Cover Image Credit: Mekenna Passner

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Snow Hinton Park Is A Blast, If You Can Get Over Your Fear Of Heights

Sometimes you need a little adventure to spice up your day, which led my friends and me to take a quick side trip to Snow Hinton to tackle the giant rope course. Here's a recap of our experience.

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Last week, my friends and I decided to take a quick trip to Snow Hinton Park. "What's Snow Hinton Park?" you might be saying, "I've never heard of that park before!" I bet you at least know what it's known for. Have you ever seen the mountainous, red climbing structure along McFarland that seems to be plaguing people's snap stories? Well, Snow Hinton is where to find it!

My friends — Sydney, Alexis, Eva and Jacob — and I just finished eating lunch, and, on our way to Walmart, we saw the iconic structure, and Sydney interjected that we should take a quick stop there. As I've never been before, either, I agreed, and we took a sharp left towards the park instead of continuing straight down McFarland. As we walked towards the ropes, Jacob and Eva, who'd been there before, started to back off; they weren't up for the challenge a second time.

Syd and Alexis walked towards the structure as I took off running. As soon as I reached the structure, I reached for the highest rope I could, did a pullover, and hung upside down, my hair a couple feet from touching the ground. Sydney and Alexis took a more cautious approach, starting from the ground up, and carefully planning each step, as I scaled the structure with ease, tearing up the red rope with each step. I got to the top in less than five minutes, doing acrobatic moves while holding onto the ropes along the way. I was being so extra, that Syd shouted at me, "Stop it! I don't want to have to get a new roommate this semester!"

Once I finally reached the top, I felt like a king, towering over two stories above Tuscaloosa. I waved down at Syd and Alexis, as they finally got halfway up the ropes. Going down the giant, silver spiral slide was one of the most satisfying things in the world, sealing the fact that I made it to the top of the mountain; a fun reward for a slightly terrifying journey. As Sydney and Alexis were almost to the top, I scaled it again and encouraged them to continue climbing. Once we were all were finally at the top, we waved to Jacob and Eva, who were seated on a bench nearby, to signify our success. We wrapped it up by going down the slide, but I guess Sydney wanted to leave a piece of herself on the mountain because she managed to lose her phone before she hit the ground at the bottom.

I'm glad I finally got to experience the rope tower at Snow Hinton, as it's really fun if you're athletic or looking for a challenge, especially when you have friends to conquer it with you. While the height of it may seem scary, getting to the top is satisfying because, you did it, you managed to get past a possible fear of heights (or fear of falling, in my case), and are at the top of the world, or the top of Tuscaloosa, at least.

Me casually flipping upside down about 15 feet off the groundAlexis Whitfield

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