Everyone else seems to count down the days till summer, but year after year I find myself counting down the days till summer ends. Why? Partially because I don’t like sitting around the house all day and I can’t stand sweating before I’m done drying off from a shower. The main reason, though, is because summer gets so incredibly lonely.
School is stressful, sure. Projects stack up and the to-do list grows longer than a convo with a Game of Thrones fanatic. The big difference between the school year and summer is that college is a bundle of non-negotiable socialization. I live in a dorm with 400 other dudes, I go to classes with all sorts of students and I eat with friends in a café on the reg…a day without human interaction feels next to impossible. When summer rolls around, I easily mutter less than 100 words over the course of a week. For those of us without SOs who live within driving distance from our summer homes, the summer months seem as exciting as a trip to the DMV on a Monday morning.
This past spring, I lived in denial that summer was on the way. I spent almost every weekend at a concert, on a camping trip or appreciating my college town with friends. When finals week came and I realized my three-month break from school was inevitable, I decided this was the year to man up and make summer different. Better. I mean, I didn’t magically find a girlfriend or get hired full time for some dope company, but I chose to change my attitude and find ways to spice up the summer. If Jason Derulo can ride solo and be happy, why can’t I?
My first step? Look for a job or internship to prevent me from watching TV for 22 hours a day. I got hired by College Magazine and felt good about finding an activity to keep my brain fresh during summer. Once I lined up a writing job, I figured planning a few trips in my spare time would be beneficial to my new and improved summer. No, I’m not talking an expensive cross-country adventure, just some cheap camping trips with high school buddies and a short list of nearby hikes to conquer. I used up my savings (maybe more than I should have) to get a DSLR camera and made up my mind that this summer would also consist of waterfalls, tents and original photographs.
Much like a gazelle on the run from a lion, I struggled to escape from a few issues over the years. It’s always been tough for me to enjoy the slow days–you know those days when friends are busy and you’re itching to leave the house? Even though I have plenty of family nearby, I’m not down to spend my summers making casserole and teaching people how to use the printer. I’m only partway into summer and I’ve found that family time and friend time are equally as enjoyable. Already, I’ve gone to the movies, restaurants, coffee and the ocean with my family and it was surprisingly fun! For Father’s Day, we got creative and took a weekend expedition to the San Francisco Bay. Sure, it’s only a couple hours from home, but who doesn’t love a quick getaway to a nice hotel in the city?
When my hometown friends can’t hang, I leave my stress at the door because I know that other options are out there. Don’t count on me to invite my parents everywhere; I still want a small social life, but I’ve come to realize I don’t need a total babe or a picture-perfect group of friends to make Summer 2016 one for the books.
Transitioning from daily adventures with college friends to a quiet home hundreds of miles away is no walk in the park. I check Instagram and see friends going to Europe, backpacking through the wilderness and hitting up clubs and a part of me gets jealous, but I double-tap their posts anyway and remember that nothing should stop me from making others green with envy. As long as I keep my attitude in the clouds and my Snapchat accessible, summer won’t be the same boring season I usually dread. I still feel pretty stoked for the pace to pick up in the fall, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not taking advantage of these months of freedom.