With the hot, unforgiving August sun blaring, many Boston College students might have forgotten about the dark, bitterly cold days--no, months--this past winter when snowplows seemed a permanent fixture on BC’s campus and mountains of displaced snow quickly replaced the flat, grassy Stokes quad. Back then, many BC students dreamed of walking outside for more than one minute at a time wearing only one layer of clothing.
Now, at the end of summer, some might be jaded with trips to the beach while others, growing stir-crazy at home, might be focused on heading back to school. August is a bittersweet goodbye to sunny weekends spent on the beach and to home friends and family. But summer isn’t over yet and the following list features a few suggestions of how to maximize each lingering day and avoid taking the summer for granted.
- Wake Up Early:
Don’t laugh! This may seem like a crime against summer, but waking up early can be a peaceful and productive way to start the day. While many BC students are probably tired of waking up early for jobs, internships and other commitments, there is a certain feeling of reward when you wake up early voluntarily. It’s a way to pack in more activities (especially the ones on this list!) and maximize the last month of summer.
According to the Huffington Post, getting in an early morning workout energizes your body by starting a flow of endorphins and helps you sleep better. Moreover, by planning activities and being productive in the morning, you can beat the hot August sun and humidity before they make you lethargic and devoted to air conditioning.
- Run/Bike in a Race for Charity
Making time for a run or bike ride outdoors is a great way to take advantage of good weather, but doing these activities for charity with some friends can be more rewarding. A solo workout might not be enough incentive to get you outside, but committing to a charity event will help motivate you to get the day started. If running or biking doesn't appeal to you, volunteering for a one-time event is a low commitment way to spend a day giving back.
- See an Outdoor Movie
Lying in bed or on a couch binge-watching Netflix is a go-to when it comes to relaxing at the end of the day or passing a lazy afternoon, but save the new series for the fast-approaching winter. Instead, check out an outdoor movie with friends. Unlike movie theaters with increasingly higher ticket prices, most outdoor movies are free to attend and allow people to bring their own food and beverages. It’s the Millennial’s version of a drive-in theater and a low energy outdoor activity, which is nice after a long workday. If you are in a city looking for an outdoor movie venue, try Thrillist’s annual outdoor movie listings. If you have a projector, speaker system and a white sheet, you might even be able to make your own homemade outdoor theater!
- Buy Fresh Fruit from a Farmer’s Market
Summer is the time for fruit salads, smoothies and fresh punch! Though BC tries to bring “farmer’s markets” to Lower dining hall with fresh berries toward the end of the year, finding fresh fruit at school can be difficult and not nearly as tasty as during the summer. Take advantage of the season for fruits like cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, papayas and peaches. Outdoor farmer’s markets pop up frequently throughout the summer on the sides of roads, city streets or at larger outdoor markets. They are not only a great place to taste-test fruit, but also to find more unique options to add to yogurt, smoothies and salads or just to eat plain.
- Sleep Outside
Whether you’re camping, having a bonfire on the beach or pitching a tent in your backyard, there’s no devotion to summer like this. It’s an activity you can’t do at almost any other time of the year and makes the summer feel temporarily infinite. Make a whole evening out of the experience. Leave the laptops, iPads and cellphones at home and spend the evening chatting and playing games over an outdoor dinner. It’s a refreshing way to experience the dawn of a new day and be present with home friends before everyone goes their separate ways.
- Finish a Book
Ask few people to recall the last book they read for pleasure and you may be surprised at how many respond, “I don’t know,” “that was a while ago,” or “I don’t usually read on my own.” For students, reading usually comes with a syllabus. The constant obligation to read for academic courses deters many from picking up a book on their own. Reading a book you enjoy is a good way to get back in the habit of productivity while also offering a good topic of discussion. It’s also easier to read outside than it is to deal with the glare on your laptop. If you need suggestions, the Gavel compiled a stellar summer reading list this year. Otherwise, just stop into a local bookstore and peruse some bestsellers.
- Make a Slip n' Slide in Your Backyard
This is a recipe for a slow, hot summer day that feels stale and needs a splash of creative adventure. A Slip n’ Slide is surprisingly easy to create, using only a few primary items. Ideally, it should be set up on an incline, but flat ground can work too. The base can be made out of heavy plastic or a large tarp from the hardware store. The only other thing you need is a hose. If you're on a flat surface, you might need to add soap or baby oil to help people slide through easier. Keep in mind that hurling your body at the ground may result in some bruising, but a slip ‘n’ slide is a great way to spruce up a regular pool day.
Summers are limited. Once you graduate from BC, these three-month vacations are pretty much out of the question. No matter how excited you are to get back to school, go abroad or finish your internship, find ways to be present in the last month of summer. Inevitably, Thanksgiving will come faster than we expect and second semester will be here before we’re ready. So, give yourself something positive to look back on and be proactive in celebrating the last month of summer.