How to Make the Most of Your Summer If You're Staying On Campus

At the height of the finals week frenzy, you probably swore that when all the studying and exams were over you would grab your favorite snack, curl up in your bed and binge-watch your favorite show for the rest of the summer. That might be an ideal plan during the semester when there are a million things to do and you just want to relax, but during the summer your free time is endless and so are your possibilities for fun—even if you are stuck on campus. If you’re living on campus for the summer, you might have a “been there, done that” attitude, but we promise that there is way more to your campus than the inside of your dorm room. Instead of making your weekly trip to the closest Starbucks or grabbing lunch at your usual favorite place, try these six tips for making the most of your summer on campus. 

1. Get an HGTV degree

All year you have been staring at the same four walls and, to be honest, it’s probably getting a bit old. You may have to stay in the same room this summer, but it certainly does not have to look the same. Whether you want to make the room look as good as new or do a complete HGTV-worthy renovation, a room makeover is the perfect way to keep yourself busy and productive.

If you’re living by yourself, your room redo process can be as creative (and messy) as you want. “I am obsessed with Pinterest, but I never have time to try out any of the cool ideas during the school year because I am so busy,” says Kerry Moore, a junior at the University of South Carolina. “When I found myself with an abundance of free time and an empty room, I thought that it was the perfect opportunity to try something new with my room and take on a Pinterest project.”

Pinterest is one of the best places to go if you are looking for an artsy décor project. A DIY project will ensure that you are entertained for at least a little while and as an added bonus you will have fabulous new surroundings!

Related: 10 Ways to Redecorate Your Dorm Room for Relatively No Money

2. Commit to be fit

It is common for collegiettes to make a New Year’s resolution to work out more or to eat better. It is also common for collegiettes to break said resolutions by January 2nd. What better time to rededicate yourself to your goal than this summer? Take advantage of the beautiful weather that summer has to offer and encourage yourself to be a healthier you!

Since it’s summer, it is very likely that the gym on your campus will not be packed with people. That means less sweaty individuals making the machines equally sweaty—and more of an opportunity for you to commit to be fit.

"During the year, I make a habit of going to gym for classes at least a couple times a week even when it gets crowded,” says Amanda Hurt, a junior at the University of South Carolina. “I love knowing that during the summer, even though no classes are offered, I will have my choice of equipment and a lot less people to worry about.”

Even if your gym is closed, there are still so many alternatives to help you stay active. YouTube fitness sensation Cassey Ho has hundreds of exercises that you can do from the comfort of your dorm room. Instagram fitness gurus like Hannah Bronfman have entire blogs devoted to helping you eat great and feel great. Take this summer to finally get your health routine on point!

3. Learn more and explore  

Unless you go to a very small school, there are probably portions of your campus that you have yet to explore. It might be more comfortable to go the Starbucks where the barista knows your name and order, but what’s the fun in that when you have a (basically) empty campus at your fingertips? Go check out the mom-and-pop coffeehouse that your friend told you about or find a vintage store downtown.

You can even make a game out of your adventures. “Our school has a ‘bucket list’ of things for students to do before they graduate,” says Annie Nyguen, a junior at Indiana University. “My friends who stayed on campus made a goal to go to every place on the list and we almost did! It was surprisingly fun and kept us busy all summer.”

Christine Burney, a senior at the Savannah College of Art and Design, suggests checking out local apps that keep you updated on events in your immediate area. “Designate a day and set it aside to explore new things. Scoutmob is a great app for finding interesting food and other event offers in cities,” she says.

Sometimes it is easy to forget why you love your school so much when you’re two pages deep into a 10 page paper. Take this opportunity to remind yourself why you fell in love with your college in the first place.

4. Make your own bucket list

Not every school has a bucket list of things that students should try to do before they graduate, but that doesn’t mean that you should miss out on the fun! Start off by listing anything and everything that you have wanted to see or do on campus but just have never had the chance. Then, ask your friends if they have any suggestions of fun things that they have done on or around campus. Finally, check your college’s website to see if they have any “musts” that new students should check out when they are considering attending the college. Even though you might not be a new student, there might still be some places that you haven’t checked out yet.

Brooklynn Kramer, a senior at Ohio University, found that creating her own bucket list has provided endless entertainment. “I have explored the surrounding areas of Athens, Ohio. I went to a local winery, tried a few new places to eat and went to our closest lake for the sunset. I made a summer bucket list to make sure I stay busy and have a great time!”

Making a bucket list is a great way to turn an overwhelming amount of options into a fun challenge to see just how many items you can cross off this summer. You might just surprise yourself with how much you haven’t seen on your campus!

5. Meet and greet

As tempting as it might be to spend your Friday nights Skyping with your friends, actual human interaction can be fun as well (hear us out). At first, it can be a bit scary to branch out, but there are probably so many other students on campus who are in the same situation as you and are looking to meet some new people. Besides, who doesn’t want a summer squad?

If you are tech savvy, try reaching out to other students on campus by posting a message on your university’s Facebook page. For those who are a bit bolder, go chat up the cutie sitting alone outside the library or go knock on some doors in your dorm to get a feel for who is still on campus.

Having people to spend the summer with will ensure that you have a blast. Bring on the movie marathons and late-night talks!

6. Land a job or internship

In the incredibly motivational words of Rihanna, “Work, work, work, work, work.” If all else fails, find yourself a job or an internship doing something that you love! Why shouldn’t you do everything you can to land your dream internship this summer? Not only will it keep you busy, but it will look amazing on your resume. Plus, who can possibly turn down a little extra cash when summer fashion is to die for?

Try to find out if your school has an online database for on-campus job or internship positions and start your search there. With a lot of students being gone for the summer, buildings that are still active usually need a little extra help. If you aren’t interested in an on-campus position, try searching the internet for internship positions nearby or checking with your school’s career center to see if there are any available positions that would be a great fit for you.

“Last summer I lived on campus because I had some classes to knock out in order to graduate on time,” says Angeline Bernabe, a senior at California State University. “Since I go to school in Los Angeles, I made the most of my time by interning for a news station. I also took advantage of the cool summer events happening around the city.”

Living on campus isn’t necessarily the most fun way to spend summer vacation, but there are definitely ways to make the most of the situation. Although binge-watching an entire series in a week is an admirable feat, these tips just might help you have a summer that is worth leaving your laptop behind.