Some of you are probably thinking: summer plans? It’s the end of April and spring hasn’t even made an appearance in Williamstown yet! Why are you preparing for summer already? To that, I counter; Williamstown quickly educates you on the meanings of dark, cloudy, and perpetually moist. It’s easy to let your mind dream of the relaxing fantasies of sun and a hot beach where there are no essays to write or problem sets to finish. Why aren’t you already making summer plans?
I understand that finals and papers stressfully weigh down your shoulders and loom in the back of your mind like an annoying fly buzzing over an open buffet table, but the best cure for all that stress is dreaming of your summer plans as you nod your head off to a dull course packet you are pretending to skim. If you need a little creative help kick-starting your summer mindset, or if you’re more like me and need help finalizing the details of your perfect summer vacation, fear not, you have come to the right place. Here are a multitude of ideas to help formalize your summer dreams:
Fruit Picking- Strawberries are in season in various places throughout the United States during summer. Can you think of a more relaxing and delicious way to spend your afternoon than gorging yourself on freshly picked strawberries while bathing in the sun?
Ride a Ferris Wheel- There is nothing that screams summer romance more than a dreamy night sitting and talking on a ferris wheel. So grab your crush or best friend, drag them out to the state fair, and ride a ferris wheel into the sunset.
Have a Bonfire- I think there is a secret desire within all of us to watch things burn (No? Just me?). Nevertheless bonfires can be a great way to end a summer evening. Break out the marshmallows and laugh with your friends to the tunes of a guitar camp song; the crackling of the fire will add an inconsistent bass background to the music and its smoke will leave your shirt smelling like the night of memories for days to follow.
Have a Picnic- A classic! Need I say more? It’s a classic for a reason because it is awesome and screams summer! There is no way to have a summer without one.
Leap off of a Rope Swing- All the movie actors and actresses seem to love doing this in the summer. Therefore, it must be fun. Tie a rope to a tree, hope that you picked a sturdy enough branch, close your eyes, and cross your fingers you don’t die. Look at that; you’re having fun!
Skip Stones- Learn to throw rocks across a lake. Watch them bounce off into the distance making small circles in their wake (or if you’re more like me, simply chuck those rocks into the lake with a pitiful plop and watch your friends expertly skim the water as if they themselves possessed the power to manipulate water).
Watermelon Eating Contest- What’s the best way to get a stomachache? Eat so much watermelon you think you might puke, pass out, or have diarrhea for the rest of your life. The consequences may be less than ideal but the juicy fruit will leave you compelled to eat more. Plus, who can give up bragging rights and the Summer Watermelon Eating Contest Trophy crafted by a 6 year old out of elbow macaroni?
Neighborhood Barbecue- Barbecues are a terrific way to add joy to your summer. Gather your neighbors and play competitive games of yard Jenga or water balloon toss. Then, you can laugh as Gary, your next door neighbor who cuts his lawn way too early in the morning and wakes you up, inevitably loses but watch him smile as you hand him a plate of food.
Star Gazing- Can summer possibly be complete without straining your eyes trying to find the Big Dipper even if you have no idea what it looks like or if it is even in the sky this time of the year? No, no it can not. So grab a sleeping bag, and camp out in your backyard gazing up at the sky and admiring the beautiful twinkling lights, drawing funny shapes in your imagination that are way cooler than the Big Dipper.
Attend a Parade- Put on one of your festive outfits and cheer on a local community’s fundraiser. Wave to the people riding the firetruck, and clap for the elementary or middle school children’s marching band that is slightly out of tune.
Set up a Slip-n-Slide- Buy yourself a $2 bottle of dish soap, drag out that old tarp you have wrapped up in your garage that you haven’t used your whole life, and hook up a hose to the park water line. Bam! You got yourself your very own Slip-n-Slide! Throw on a bathing suit and challenge all the neighbors to see who can go down the slide faster.
Nap in a Hammock- Let the breeze blow through your hair as you fall asleep to a book listening to the birds sing around you.
Take a Walk- It doesn’t matter where you are, whether you are one of the lucky people who has a beach to sink your feet into or one of the ones whose closest nature is your neighborhood park. Take the time to close your eyes and feel the sun’s rays on your face, kick off your shoes and bury your feet into the cool earth, and listen to the calm quiet of summer.
Run Through the Sprinklers- Transform into your childhood self, and play tag in the sprinklers. Cool off chasing your dog in and out of the water and let yourself feel free (just make sure you aren’t wearing white when you decide to shed societal expectations of maturity and let your adult inhibitions go flying out the window).
I think you get the point by now. Let loose, be yourself, surround yourself with friends and family, be spontaneous, and live in the moment. Your summer is going to be what you make of it, and while it’s important to work, think about how to prepare for the following school year, or help your family, it is equally important to revitalize your mental health, to put yourself first, and to allow yourself to live in each moment fully even if you are busy. So get out there, draft up your summer plans, and dream about the day you turn in your final paper or exam and begin summer.