It’s summer: No alarm is set. No rude roommate is creating enough noise in the morning to wake the dead. You can even extend your beauty sleep to 3 in the afternoon…ha, you wish. Instead, your dog Ralphie, greets you good morning with a slobbery kiss, your mother is yapping at you to get your ass out of bed and you can no longer drown out your little brother’s Halo game by sandwiching your head between two pillows. Gosh, there is no way to survive three more months at home with nothing to do…. Or so you think. Brace yourself, you can survive a summer away from campus, and you will.
1. Mo’ Money, No Mo’ Problems
Two college semesters have left you more broke than you care to admit. The money you spent on gas, alcohol and 4 a.m. trips to Taco Bell is now a figment of your imagination. Summer jobs will not only bring your wallet back to life, but it will also keep you busy. Your own neighborhood is a gold mine for raking in some cash. Cut the grass for the elders down the street. Babysit for that family of eight next door; the parents will be so grateful to have a night off, they might even repay you with enough money for half your rent (no, but really). If you don’t love kids, try pet-sitting. I pet-sit for a family that pretty much owned a zoo. The $100 was worth it, even if I did have to feed a pet tarantula live crickets.
2. No one likes a couch potato… not even themselves
Remember that Parks & Recreation episode where Leslie made a five-year life plan binder for her beloved friend April? Leslie isn’t crazy; she’s my role model. Don’t be that kid who says, “Oh, I’ll just see where life takes me,” ‘cause life is going to take you right to your mom’s basement where you’ll be staring at your beer belly wishing you didn’t waste away in Magaritaville. Get up and show up—it’s just a wonderful feeling when you know you are working towards something in life. Whether it is a job or internship you are aspiring to land, do your research to get there. Shoot for the moon; at least you’ll land amongst the stars? No. Shoot for the moon and get there.
3. Bulk Up, Bro
Before you turn heads at the beach, you have to put the work in at the gym. Make those dumbbells your new bffs and morph into a summer gym rat. It’ll be tough in the beginning to stick with it, but once you’re bitten by the gym bug, you have to go; you crave it. Don’t skip your meals. Don’t workout ‘til you pass out. And certainly don’t ever skip leg day. My last piece of advice is to never mix protein powder with your white chocolate Frappuccino; I’ve seen it happen, and it doesn’t end well for anybody.
4. There’s a whole world to see
If you are ever so fortunate to vacation in exotic places over the summer, then I might strongly dislike you, stalk your Instagram for breathtaking photos and wallow in jealousy while binge-watching Netflix with my good friends, Ben & Jerry. But really, if you have the time and the money to travel, take advantage of these few short months. If you’re dumbfounded as to where to start, Fathom has a list of the Best 24 Travel Blogs and Websites of 2015. Browsing the first few makes me wish I were lucky enough to attend swanky art gallery soirees, eat authentic pasta straight from Grandma Abruzzi’s kitchen, and pet cute, cuddly koalas.
5. Bake Like an Iron Chef
All that free time you have during summer means you can take a few hours to perfect your airy soufflés and food photography skills. Chop, bake and mix your way to an all-star food blog, or at least learn how to feed yourself when you go back to school. So your talents may not be so extreme to be the Next Iron Chef, but the passion and love you put into cooking and writing that stellar blog might set you apart from the rest. Sure, the summer days are filled with hot sweltering temperatures. But if you can’t take the heat, then stay out of the kitchen.
6. The beach is calling
If I could live on the beach, I would. At the age of five, some toddlers wanted to become astronauts or doctors— my dream was to be a beach bum. 15 years later, I can happily live out my childhood wishes for three straight months and you can join me. All we need is an endless supply of Publix chicken tender sub sandwiches, a few beach towels, buckets of sunscreen, and a shovel to whack any intruding seagulls. Once the three months are up, you’ll be returning to college as a golden brown crispy nugget. You can also proudly flaunt to the sorority girls that yes, you can get bronze like this without spending half your day in those tanning beds.
7. Singles are mingling
Delete your Tinder, and for the love of God, think about what you are doing before you hit send on those private Facebook messages. Stop flirting with people via the Internet and go out in the real world for some husband hunting and wife shopping. Many people find their spouse during the college years—why not be proactive and do some searching this summer? Spend some extra time at the places you enjoy— a sporting event, hiking trails, Whole Foods, coffee shops or Ikea. Be observant and when you spot something you like, use smooth moves and start small talk. You must have some of the same interests if you bumped into each other in the almond butter aisle of Whole Foods. Be outgoing and if you so happen to score their number, just let Cupid handle the rest.
8. People need your help
Dedicated volunteerism is making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless when you are allergic to peanut butter. That was me a few summers ago. I was able to provide a meal to the less fortunate and skillfully avoid anaphylactic shock, but I do not advise the “daredevil” volunteering lifestyle. If your passion for volunteering is as strong as mine, the three months away from campus won’t seem long enough. Time will fly whether you are keeping company with Alzheimer’s patients or making a new best friend in mentoring programs for younger kids. CM already has your back with ideas on where to start. We’ve got you covered.