We all know that when it comes summer and everything is winding down, it can be pretty easy to slip into the feeling of not wanting to do anything. However, once you’ve arrived at that point, it doesn’t take long until not doing anything morphs into being bored. While it is perfectly acceptable to feel that you have deserved a break after duking it out with the school year, don’t let too much of a “good” thing bore you down! Try some of these ideas to still maintain the freedom of a vacation, but also keep your summer exiting and memorable.
Planning a fun road trip with some high school friends, or perhaps college friends who live nearby, is a great option and relatively inexpensive if you split the gas cost amongst four or five people. Another alterative could be driving to visit other friends a few cities away, which then provides you with a place to stay overnight without having to pay hotel/motel fees. Or, if you’ve decided to save up for a travel splurge, going abroad or flying domestically – either to tour or visit friends – is very rewarding and calls for a great way to spend some of your vacation.
2. Get a Job
While working isn’t always the ideal way to spend a summer, the money racked in can more than make up for it. A summer job doesn’t necessarily have to be related to retail or food service. There are a lot of opportunities to make good money but also enjoy what you’re doing (but that’s not to say that some retail and food service jobs will never meet that criteria!). Working at a day camp or water park is a good option if you like working with kids. You can serve either as a counselor or a lifeguard, be able to relax in the sun all day, but still earn your keep. Babysitting is another viable option if you have the qualifications and the ability to reach out to your community as a trusted sitter.
3. Do Some Summer Cleaning
If you’re one of those people (like me!) who enjoy cleaning out that cluttered basement or garage, take on one of those projects this summer. It’s a great way to be on your feet and concentrate on a worthwhile task at the same time. Once the space is cleared, you can even decorate and make the place more “live-able”—who knows, you might have just created a new summer hangout spot! Even better, your parents may offer to pay you a small sum for the service.
4. Make Some Money off of Your Clutter
Once you’ve cleaned out that living space, you’re probably going to find a lot of old furniture/toys/clothing that you don’t really need anymore (or didn’t even remember having as a kid!). Talk it over with your parents and see if a garage sale might not be a bad idea. Other options for your nicer furnishings are to take them to a consignment store in your area. These stores will typically accept and display your belongings on the storefront for a specified amount of time (perhaps 60-90 days on average) and cut you part of the profits if they sell. Many other thrift stores will pay you cash on the spot for your items (usually in the clothing and toys category). Hop online and type in those keywords and your zip code to find such places near you.
5. Earn Money by Taking Surveys
On those slow days when you’re not sure what to do, and feel like making some extra cash, enroll in a few online survey websites that pay you by check or by PayPal for the redemption of a certain amount of points. This is fun if you already love sharing your opinion. However, always check first to make sure the site is legitimate (there are scams out there, after all). The best way to do this is by searching for reviews online by people who have used the site, and likewise by checking the Better Business Bureau website for accreditation. Once you find the right survey site, you can take multiple questionnaires that may award you points immediately so that the site knows what kind of surveys to match you up with. It is also recommended by survey takers that you join multiple panels to yield better results and increase the amount of surveys that you qualify for (you will screen out after the first few questions if your answers don’t match the type of person the survey giver wants). Despite that, if you put the time and effort into it, you can rack up enough points that can be redeemed for a cash payout, or other type of reward. Just make sure you understand how each site regulates their points/payout system, and you’re good to go! You won’t get rich off of this by any means, but you may make some spending money.
6. Take on a Crafting Project
I’m also one of those people who love being creative. One of my early summer projects this month was making a T-shirt quilt out of some old shirts I found shoved into the back of my dresser. Seeing as I already had sewing materials, the shirts, and one black throw blanket to sew them onto, it only cost me approximately $15 to complete: $10 for another black throw to sew as the back of the quilt, and $5 for some quilt batting from the local crafting store. It’s an excellent way to keep yourself busy and make something useful at the same time!
Whether it’s joining a local gym for the summer, jogging around the neighborhood, or exercising at home, keeping active is a great way to avoid gaining weight during a summer of being stagnant, and to promote positive energy and self-esteem. Exercising outside especially helps you to get a safe amount of sun (as long as you monitor how long you’re outside and make sure to wear sunscreen) and release more endorphins. Make it a group activity when you can as well. Exercising in a social setting can make the act of exercising in itself more enjoyable and doable. And in the end, who doesn’t want to come back to school in the fall looking their best?
8. Attend a Seminar or Workshop
If there’s something you’re really interested in but don’t have time to pursue at school, summer is the perfect opportunity to let that interest take hold. If you like art or writing, for example, take some summer writing workshops or art classes that may be offered at your local library or on a nearby school’s campus. Explore something you’ve always wanted to try, but just never had the time to.
9. Explore the City
I never knew how many attractions were available in my own hometown until after I had already gone away to college. When I came home for my first summer, many of my college friends who were also from my hometown (but had attended other high schools), showed me a wide array of places I had never been to. Keep an eye out for areas of town that have great restaurants, bars, and clubs for that fun Friday night with your friends—but also check for some good theatre, museums, and concerts that you may have never known existed. Larger city parks (like, for me, Forest Park in St. Louis) usually house more than one of these attractions, so just by traveling to one area you can discover a multitude of fun activities. But as always, remember to stay in a group if you’re in an unfamiliar part of town. Be safe—while also being classy!
10. Take Some “You” Time!
While it’s great to have an eventful summer, remember to relax and focus on you. Some alone time can be a good thing. Keep a journal, decorate your room, shop around the mall—do something that you enjoy that doesn’t necessarily have to be done with other people all the time.
Your entire summer shouldn’t be limited to these ten things, but the most important concept is making sure that you maintain an active summer but also get that feeling of elation. After all, you did make it through that school year; perhaps you didn’t get all the grades you wanted, or perhaps you were more stressed out than you would have liked. But regenerating over the summer can certainly lead to a more positive school year in the fall. The more relaxed and prepared you are for the upcoming semester, the more successful you will be.