Creating a Summer Bucket List

Every year I tell myself to pay attention to time, and every year I am surprised at how fast time has passed. I tend to apply this, and my YOLO attitude, to the summer in particular, as two months are much shorter than they seem. As I wrap up my freshman year of college though, for the first time in my life I have four months of summer. What am I going to do for four months at home, away from all of my new friends from Rutgers? How will I fill my long, hot days, and the weeks that seem to each pass by quickly? After a shorter and rather dull winter break as previous experience, I have decided that in order for me to enjoy my summer to the fullest, I need to give myself purpose. Purpose comes in many forms and may be different for each person. As my life consists of lists, I decided to make myself a “Summer Bucket List”, make others aware of it as to hold me accountable, and check off as much as possible (corny, I know, but hopefully it will work). Of course, I have the classic action items on the list, such as going to the beach and reading books, but I’ve also thought of some unusual ones, which are listed below for your reading pleasure.

Have an e-free dayHikers with backpacks walking through a meadow with lush grass

During the school year (and life, in general) we are constantly using technology. Whether it is looking at my phone on the bus, or taking notes using my computer, then studying, doing homework, and writing essays on the computer, I am in front of a screen for a large portion of the day. Summertime provides the perfect opportunity to get away, if even for a day! Either leave your phone at home or put it on airplane mode and go outside! Do something really cool and don’t even Instagram it (I promise that even if you don’t take a picture, it actually happened). Try using this time to really connect with nature, or have some alone time without distractions — there are so many opportunities! To think that just ten years ago we all would have had no problem doing this, and it would not have even been a challenge.

Plan a themed party

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Pick a date, pick a location, and pick a theme! Get a friend to help you with preparations, create a guest list, and you are set! My themed party this summer will be a puppy party! I plan on inviting all of my friends that have dogs (luckily they all do), buy or make some dog treats and have an AMAZING day playing with dogs. It cannot get any better than that… feel free to use this idea!!

Look for opportunities

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As fun as this time of year is, summer also provides a lot of free time to put to use for the future. Try to take advantage of this and set aside some time for yourself every day or week to search for scholarships, jobs, or internships. Not only look out for them but begin to apply too! There are SO many opportunities out there just waiting for someone to reach out and take the first step.

Farming

This summer I plan to develop my ‘green thumb’! There are so many benefits to gardening and farming, including taking ownership of your food, and knowing where it comes from, stress relief, vitamin D, etc. You can start your own garden with simple plants like mint, tomatoes, or lettuce. You can also choose to get a full on farm experience by volunteering or working on a farm! There are many opportunities for this, include practicums that count as school credit, or WWOOFing (linked). If you’re spending time outdoors, just be careful not to get sunburnt!

 

These just provide a glimpse into my summer to do list, but take them into consideration. Create your own summer bucket lists and share them to inspire others to do the same! Have a great summer!

 

Taking a Break

School is stressful: there are constant exams, papers, and projects due, and with the beautiful spring weather it is difficult to concentrate on anything. I’m sure everyone knows this feeling. And so I had no trouble agreeing to take a week off to go on a trip with my family, to Italy nonetheless, as they all had spring break on the same week.

Not gonna lie, the idea of missing a week of school, while taking 19.5 credits, kind of worried me. This is a lot of school work to miss, and I did not want to have to do work throughout vacation. So I made sure to talk to all my professors ahead of time, fill out a self-reported absence form, get some homework out of the way, as well as mentally prepare for cramming that would happen post trip (which in fact, is happening). I only took two notebooks with me on the trip, so I could at least do some HW, but not overdo it. And then, I went on vacation.

Let me tell you, this was exactly the break I needed. Of course, the vacation itself was fun and amazing, but the fact that I was ‘on a break’ with college added even more to it. I think I was able to appreciate it and relax more. Needless to say, I didn’t have to bring those notebooks because once there I did not intend on doing homework. I saw great sights, ate (a lot of) great food, went shopping, hiking, sailing, slept eight hours every night. Essentially, it was as if I ‘recharged’ myself.

Now that I am back, it is back to usual with work and cramming. Truth be told, jet lag is currently my biggest advantage. I woke up at six this morning, feeling like it was one pm, and started to do work. And, since no one is awake yet, there are no distractions and it is easy to concentrate. Now I have a few more hours until I would normally wake up and am able to get more done! I would, without a doubt, urge anyone to take some sort of break every once in a while. You clear your mind and come back refreshed, and we all know weekends are not always enough.

A Wintery Spring Break

Last week was spent juggling midterms, performances, and events, but the entire time my mind was preoccupied with the thought of spring break. Spring Break is a much needed rest in the midst of exams, assignments, and general stress. It’s okay that I’m not going to Mexico, I thought, and it’s no big deal that my hometown friends have their breaks a different week, because if this 60 degree spring weather continues, I’ll still have a full week to appreciate the change of season!

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I woke up Friday morning, ready to head home, and looked out the window only to realize that the first day of Spring Break would not be so springy. Alas, with all the things happening throughout last week, I didn’t even think to check the temperature for this one. Opening up the weather app, I saw day after day of freezing temperatures and snowfall… much more like winter break. Well, there goes my “Spring” Break. No Cancun beach, no reunion with the high school crew, no blossoming spring. So what else is there to do…?

With winter storm Stella on its way, I’m guessing I’ll be stuck inside for a day or two, with nowhere to go anyways. But this is a perfect chance to relive my childhood snow day… but for an entire week! Of course, I don’t have to wait in anticipation for the call announcing no school, but that means I can plan out these days ahead of time.

My favorite type of storm, by far, is a snow storm. It doesn’t matter how much or how hard it snows, it is always quite serene. As snow doesn’t make any sound when it hits the ground, the amazing thing about snow storms is that they are silent. And so, I love bundling up and taking a walk outside at night during snow fall. No one else is outside, since it is dark, so it is quiet, and everything is illuminated, including the sky, because of the white snow. As school is always non-stop bustling outside , I never get the chance to experience this there — but my quiet suburbs and forest behind my house are prime locations.

When the sun comes up, after shoveling the driveway, there are a plethora of fun snow activities! Throwing a snowballs for my dog to “catch” or at my brothers, falling backwards into the powder and making snow angels, finding a small hill to sled down. My brothers and I used to fill bowls with snow and drizzle maple syrup on it, essentially making a snow cone. In Quebec, they pour a line of syrup on the snow and roll it up on a popsicle stick to make toffee! Then head inside for a hot cup of hot cocoa or tea to warm up.

If the temperature stays very cold, and the snow becomes icy, it becomes a great consistency to build an igloo! I kid you not, igloos can easily be built with any sort of rectangular container as a brick mold. If you are not able to close off the top, at least you will have built yourself a fort, perfect for an intense snowball fight. Let’s not forget that if a snow ball gets too big, simply continue to roll it and make a snow person!

This may not be the Spring Break you’ve been hoping for and expecting, but it can still definitely be fun. Time to get in touch with your inner child!