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When I came to college I made the executive decision that I wanted to grow up and be an adult in every way. Meaning paying all my bills, working full-time, and living my life according to the rules and expectations I set for myself. Balancing school with work and my social life has been a really tough thing for the last four years but I have persevered! Since most of my friends would go back home during the summer, I used the last three summers to save up money so that I could do what I want with the summer after graduation.

Woman in the ocean
Photo by Yoann Boyer from Unsplash

This year, I’ve been blessed with my best friend staying in the area for the summer. I can’t even explain how excited I am to be spending the summer with her without worrying about money or school. With that being said, I’ve created a bucket list of all the things that I want to do this summer before she goes back to school and I need to start working toward the career path that I want to take. Especially with California re-opening in June after a year-long pandemic, this summer is much needed.

  1. See the sunrise/sunset at the beach. Despite living only an hour away from the nearest beach, I’ve never actually seen the sunrise or sunset while being surrounded by the salty ocean air and the calmness of the crashing waves.

  2. Spend the weekend in San Diego. The Gaslamp District in San Diego is a huge spot that even my dad said is a “Must-Do” for my post-grad adventures. It’s full of bars, great restaurants, amazing views, and some cool shops.

  3. Visit a museum. I’ve never been to a museum and Los Angeles has some of the best ones. There’s the Museum of Selfies, Museum of Illusions, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and so many more.

    roadtrip map
    Photo by Tabea Damm from Unsplash

  4. Road Trip! Some of the best high school movies show off how fun it is to drive cross-country with your best friends, so I’ve made it my goal to have this basic experience. As of right now, I plan to drive all the way to Florida with one of my closest friends in August. Considering that I’ve never been to any other state – other than Kentucky, which is where my family lives – I’m ready for this week-long drive.   

  5. Go to a winery. I’m 21, 22 in July, and my first bar experience was last week. Sad, I know. I’m not much of a wine drinker but this is something that I’ve dreamed about being able to do – sit around drinking wine in fancy summer dresses feeling classy – since that was what my mom and her friends would do when they’d have their get-togethers every few months.

  6. Finish all of my unread books. I currently have about thirty books sitting on top of my mini-fridge waiting, practically begging, to be read. I have a bad tendency to buy more books before that I can read. I’ve promised my bank account that I wouldn’t buy any more until the stack of unread books is gone, but we’ll see.

    Universal Studios
    Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

  7. Go to Universal Studios.  A few months ago I – finally – watched the whole Harry Potter series, and I have to say that I’m officially obsessed. I plan to create my best Slytherin look and walk around feeling like a god. I’m also really excited to see the attractions for Fast & Furious, The Simpsons, and Transformers!

  8. Learn to make sushi. Sushi is one of my favorite foods, but doing “All You Can Eat” every time I want it can be rough. Amazon has so many different sushi-making kits so all I have to do is buy one, get the ingredients I want, and eat as much as I want. It also means that I can do house dinners with my friends when they move back in.

  9. Get a tattoo. I currently have one in mind that I’ve been dying to get, but finding a good tattoo artist is really hard. With a very open summer, I plan to use the time to research different artists in the state and finally book an appointment!

  10. Skydiving. Last but certainly not least, I feel like this always goes on people’s bucket lists but never gets done. I’m not afraid of heights but I am very curious to see if my anxiety will get the best of me on this one, so let’s keep our fingers crosses!

Harry Potter World Hogwarts
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

I’ve decided that this summer I’m putting real life on pause and I’m doing all the things I always said I would do, but never did. I want to travel and create memories, I want these experiences to be so memorable that I can tell them to my grandchildren when I’m old. We may have lived through a pandemic, but we’re still young and there’s so much to explore!

Kayli Strawn

UC Riverside '21

4th Year at UC Riv Just a hopeless romantic who wants a Carrie Bradshaw life. I love reading romance novels and eating mac n cheese or sweet potato fries! If I’m not out on an adventure with my friends, I’m either working as a barista or trying to catch up on some much needed sleep!
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