As students we spend hours – no, weeks fantasizing about the perfect summer and how this summer is going to be that summer. Then, summer rolls around and passes by and you find yourself wondering how you spent every night binge watching Arrow, texting your friends but never really hanging out and basically being a total couch potato. You swear that someone turned your life on fast forward because you distinctly remember the last day of school being yesterday.
I think with summer, and life in general, we spend too much time living in our heads, that we never really do anything. You tell yourself that you’re going to have a bonfire every weekend, or that you’re going to the beach every other week, or you’re going to get the whole group of friends together every month, but when push comes to shove you don’t do it. Why? No one wants to be the one to plan it. It’s too much work for summer break.
Well, now it isn’t because I’ve made a list of everything you need to do this summer to make it one for the books. Every activity/step is rather simple and only requires the amount of effort and planning you put into it, but will still be fun no matter the level of effort.
1. Unplug from your phone
Now, this is something every young person needs to, and you know it. Don’t joke with yourself here. Get off your phone or your computer or you fancy tablet and stop staring at the tv. Everything these days is digital and it can be draining, and very very addicting. Coming from someone who reaches for their phone out of habit every two minutes and has also gone a whole month without using any form of social media, my life feels so much more at peace when I’m not on my phone.
Whether it’s setting aside a few minutes, hours or specific days of the week to not touch your phone, or it’s going a whole month without social media, challenge yourself to unplug. Instead, you can read a book or actually talk to someone face-to-face or go outside and get some vitamin D. Which leds me to my next point.
Read the full-length post on this topic here
2. Get out in nature
There’s just something about being outside that puts my racing mind at ease, and settles any unnerving fears I have. Maybe it’s the fresh air that clears my head, or maybe it’s feeling like I’m back in simpler times when there were no concrete jungles or massive screens that we had to stare at all day long.
I recommend that everyone try to get out the house, or office, for at least 5 minutes everyday. Just to help you recharge and feel more human and less like a robot. I mean this one shouldn’t take too much convincing, because look at that sunset. I only had to walk about 20 feet outside of my house to experience this and no words can describe how enchanting it was to see the orange light wash over the ground and make everything look and feel like a fairytale.
You don’t have to travel far to see the beauty in nature. You don’t have to drive hours to hike eight miles to see waterfalls to feel like you’re one with nature. Just taking a few moments to sit outside and really see, feel, smell and hear your natural surroundings is enough to make you wish you could sit there all day.
Read the full-length post on this here
3. Spend time with your family
Now this should be something you do anyways, but it’s easy to get caught up in your own life during the school year to the point that going out to brunch with your family doesn’t even cross your mind. Especially not when you live away from home in a college dorm for eight months.
To help make up for this, try and spend as much as you can with them in the summer. Let’s be honest, you really aren’t as busy during summer as you think you are because Netflix isn’t going anywhere but you never know how much time you have left with your family.
(Yes, the photo above is very old. It’s from when my brother started his freshman year of college about two years ago, but this is like the nicest and most recent family photo I could find. I guess that goes to show how much I personally need to work on this.)
Check out my full-length post on this here
Don’t freak out! Yes, I put volunteering on a list of FUN things to do in your own free time on summer break. No, I’m not crazy. I think through things like senior projects in high school, and different clubs we joined to have a good portfolio for scholarships that forced us to do community service and society’s negative view, that everyone has been fooled into thinking volunteering is a waste of time and boring. Well, that’s just wrong.
Volunteering is only boring if you are doing something that doesn’t interest you. Personally, I like to volunteer at local runs because I’m actually really into the sport. This photo is from a color run I volunteered at a couple months ago, and if you don’t think having a color war is fun then I don’t think we can be friends.
There are so many different places where you can volunteer and every place is very flexible with volunteer hours, unless it’s a specific event of course. To start out you could just google “volunteer opportunities in [insert city here].” Or you could go in somewhere you find interesting and ask if they are looking for volunteers. I know a lot of people do this with animal shelters. Or you could look up events in your city and contact the coordinator and see if they are looking for volunteers.
I promise you won’t regret spending a couple hours of your summer doing work for free because it’ll make you feel good inside knowing that you are helping a cause greater than yourself.
5. Go on a road trip or vacation
Here’s where things start to get a little bit tough for those people who are lazy and don’t want to put any effort into planning something. I mean just thinking about planning a road trip/vacation can seem really daunting and overwhelming, but I promise it doesn’t have to be. And you can’t lie to me and tell me that an epic friend road trip or vacation isn’t on your ultimate summer bucket list, so don’t even try.
Going on a road trip could be as easy as grabbing a few friends, or driving solo, and just hitting the road and going wherever the road takes you. The only thing planned is who’s driving, who’s paying for gas and when you’re going home.
As for vacation, it could be something as simple as staying at a friend’s house for a couple days or a week or two. It doesn’t have to require a plane anywhere if you don’t want it to, or don’t have the money for it. Taking a vacation isn’t all about where you’re going, it’s about getting away from home and into new surroundings to see things from a different perspective and get back to enjoying life, and you don’t need to be in Costa Rica to do that. I promise.
Read my full-length post on this topic here
6. Explore your own city
This one sort of ties in with the last one, and is almost the complete opposite of number two. Become a tourist in your own city you guys! You know how lame it feels to go somewhere else and you can tell people just know you’re not from around there? Well, you may feel strange but you still have fun and learn more right? So why not do it where you live?
Go walk around downtown and figure out the best local coffee shop or find the hidden secondhand store with all the awesome records. Browse through small thrift shops and other local businesses. Check out all those tourist attractions like monuments or bridges. Go to a local sports game. Just spend a day in your city, and fall in love with it.
Read my full-length post on this here
7. Go out with a bang
Time for the grand finale, right? That thing that really ties the whole summer together and really makes the summer one you will never forget. What exactly is it you ask? Whatever you want my dear. Whatever comes to your mind when you close your eyes and think about the end of summer. It could be a giant bonfire, an end of summer party, a squad day at a theme park, a giant family get together, a community barbecue or even just a day trip to the biggest mall around.
This list is all about having your best summer, so do what you want to do.
I thought I would share this on here because after being home from LA for about a week now I’ve been feeling like my most exciting part of summer break is already over. How lame would that be? So I created this bucket list/guide/to-do list for myself to break up the monotony of working 35 hour weeks and basically just going through the motions like I do during the school year.
The order of these doesn’t matter too much (except number seven of course – that one has to be last). As summer goes on, I’m going to be trying to cross all of these off my list and then as I complete them I’ll share my experiences on here. Feel free to join me in completing the list! If you do, be sure to tell me about it in the comments or send me a message. I love hearing all of your responses. They truly do make my day and keep me motivated and excited to write something every week.
So here’s to finally having that unforgettable summer you always dreamed about.