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Lately on TikTok I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about making the most of this summer. I’ve also seen comparisons to summer 2016, which holds a lot of nostalgia for many people as “the greatest summer ever.” (After all, “Closer” by The Chainsmokers was practically the anthem of the summer.)

And I’m all about that for the vibes this summer, too. If you know me personally, you know that I’m a big planner when it comes to virtually every aspect of my life. However, this summer has brought a lot of unknowns that I’ve had to deal with.

Rather than make myself anxious about these variables, I just want to make the most of the summer. This will be a challenging one for me––my boyfriend is going to basic training for the National Guard and will be gone for six months. I’m entering a chapter of my life where I’ll probably struggle a lot, but I still want to make lots of fun memories to spend time with my other loved ones and distract me from potentially wallowing in self-pity.

To embrace the spontaneity I expect this summer to bring, I’ve compiled a list of some funs things you can do to make the most out of Summer 2022.

1. Go to a Concert

Whether it’s a headliner artist or a local band, concerts are a fun way to spend any summer night. Personally, I’ve been to very few in my life, but I’m hoping to see Caamp and The Lumineers over the summer at one of their shows in the Midwest.

Check out a platform like Ticketmaster or Stubhub to find concerts in your area. Always check on social media for updated dates and announcements from your favorite artists. Look on local Facebook groups or on flyers in your area for information about local performances.

No matter the genre or size, you’re sure to have a good time at virtually any concert you choose.

2. Plan a Day Trip

As a college student, I understand how challenging it is to forge over enough money to afford a vacation. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on lodging at a hotel, romanticize your own state or area by planning a day trip.

Last summer, my boyfriend did this more and went on trips to Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Ames, and even Winona. Prior to our trips, we made a rough outline of all the things we wanted to see and do––including shopping, entertainment, and attractions.

For an added bit of fun, we each planned our own trips and surprised each other with them. This can be a fun way to add some variety to your relationship while staying on a budget.

3. Take Summer Classes

This one may sound like a bit of a drag, but it’s an important part of my summer that I’d thought I’d include here.

Many people avoid school like the plague in the summer, but don’t forget your educational goals when you’re partying, working, or traveling this summer. If you’re behind on your degree path, summer classes are a great way to get back on track. They can also help you stay on track or even get ahead.

I’m taking two classes this summer to get ahead in my degree program in order to graduate early. Even if summer classes aren’t the right option for you, consider your education and future plans this summer to ensure you’re staying on course to achieve your goals.

4. Immerse Yourself in Your Hobbies

Since coming to college two years ago, I’ve found that it’s challenging to take time out of my day to enjoy my hobbies, especially when taking 17 credit hours.

This summer, take time to relax and reintroduce yourself to your hobbies. Since the New Year, I’ve made reading a priority in my life and hope to do even more reading over the summer. I find it refreshing, enjoyable, and fun. Find the activity that gives you the same serotonin boost and help yourself recharge from your burnout by prioritizing it this summer.

5. Get Outside

Another thing that’s challenging during school is getting outside. Between classes, homework, and work, I hardly have any time to spend any time outside. For the first time, I’ll be working at an indoor job this summer, but I hope to spend my time outside of work going on walks and hikes and swimming.

Eating meals on your porch or reading your book poolside are both great ways to take daily activities to breathe in the fresh air. Your body and your mental health will thank you.

6. Save Money for What’s Important to You

Even if summer hasn’t come yet, this is a part of your summer that can start right now. Ambitious summers often come with large price tags, so work hard and save money for the experiences you want to enjoy over the summer.

Personally, I’m looking forward to my trip to South Carolina for my boyfriend’s basic graduation. Not only will I be able to see him for the first time in nearly three months, but I’ll also be able to see the ocean for the first time and visit a new state. Amidst all of the negatives and uncertainties, looking forward to the future helps center me and bring me peace.

However, to get to experience this moment, I need to start saving my money now so I can enjoy it later. Immerse yourself in the present, but also stay future-focused and remind yourself why you’re working so hard.

Plan an event or trip that excites you and save for it. Whether it be across the world or across the county, challenging yourself to work hard and save money can give you purpose even if, like me, so many unknowns cloud your vision.

With these ideas in mind, I hope you are able to create an ambitious plan for your summer. Whether that be excessive rest, partying, or working, do what brings you enjoyment and heals your burnout this summer, and make it feel like Summer 2016 again.

Brianna Strohbehn is a junior at Winona State University and a small-town girl from central Iowa. Brianna is studying English, double majoring in writing and applied and professional writing with hopes of someday becoming an editor at a publishing firm. When she isn't writing, Brianna enjoys thrifting, reading, exploring her new home in Winona, and spending time with family and friends.
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