After all the memories throughout the school year, students feel bittersweet about being home for the summer.
They miss their college best friends who they won’t see for three months because they’re all scattered across the country. Their thriving social life gets shaken up back home. And their freedom takes a hit while living under their parents’ rules again.
On the other hand, they do appreciate the opportunity to go back home. There they can spend quality time with their family. Catch up with old high school friends. Work as an intern to learn and make money. It’s also refreshing to get away from campus before they’re back again doing the same things in the fall.
But, not all students go back home for the summer. For various reasons, many students never leave and spend their summer on campus. Right away it feels weird for these students when most of their friends are gone, campus is dead, and it seems there isn’t much going on off-campus.
Everything they associate with college during the fall and spring semester isn’t the same during the summer. If this applies to you, you know it’s a problem if you don’t adjust somehow.
However, while it’s not as easy to find something to do as it is during the school year, with a little creativity and effort you can have an enjoyable summer on campus.
You might have such a blast that you’ll be nostalgic about your summer when the fall semester kicks up. If you don’t believe me, read these 8 ways to have fun and I’m positive you’ll find something for you.
8 Ways To Have A Fun Summer On Campus
1. Explore the campus and local area
During the semester I bet you’ve seen a building or walkway that you made a mental note to check out and never got time to do it. Since it’s summer, now’s the time to follow up and check out those mysterious nooks and crannies.
Run to the outskirts and unknown parts of campus. Walk through a campus park or nature preserve. Go see what the hype is about for the new building. I won’t be surprised if you find a relaxing getaway or new study spot because of this exploration.
And it’s no secret that your college campus is a bubble during the school year. If you’re like most students, you have no idea about the world only a few miles outside of campus. Again, now’s the time to explore.
Go to the local farmer’s market. Find a concert venue. Talk to locals who will appear again now that the masses of students have left. Ask them for their favorite food spots and activities in the area. The townies know all the secrets!
You’ll never know what you’re missing on campus and in the local city without exploring.
2. Build something
When’s the last time you put together something from scratch? With extra time on your hands during the summer term, there’s no bigger window to take on a DIY project than now.
Many students get creative to build something that they will use all the time during the semester. For example, one of my friends built a bottle cap beer pong table between the summer of his freshman and sophomore year. The Miami University Redhawks logo in bottle caps looked sweet under the glass. If you’re interested, view more of them and how to build one on Pinterest.
Another guy I knew and his friends built a homemade bar for their college house. Then they bought bar stools and had their own pre-game setup without having to leave their place.
Besides the excitement surrounding the finished product, the key is that they had fun during the process. While you can do it on your own or with others, it’s usually cheaper and less grueling as a group project.
If you’ve never tried something like this, I strongly recommend it. Or start out with a smaller project—like making a sign with your house name—and then work your way up to building something like a full-size bar.
3. Enjoy the weather
Unless you go to school in a state like Florida, Arizona, or California, the weather is going to be lame for 75% of the academic year. But even northern states have sunny and warm weather during the summer.
Enjoy this weather by finding a pool or lake where you can chill with your friends. If you’re looking to get tan, you don’t even need to find a pool. You have the freedom to lay out on campus without everyone checking you out because they’ll be at home.
Take a page out of my playbook to play sand volleyball. There are other summer sports like golf or tennis. But sand volleyball is my favorite for groups because anyone can play it and it’s easy to make new friends on the court.
Put simply, think of whatever activity you would do during the summer at home and I’m sure you can do the same at college. Warm, summer nights are unlike anything else.
4. Take classes
Assuming you’re spending summer on campus for a reason not named taking classes, it’s a great idea to pick up extra credits. Since you’re already at school, utilize this convenience to get ahead in your major.
With less courses to deal with, it’s easy to do well and increase your GPA. Your chances of getting an A dramatically rise during summer school.
Also, getting a few classes out of the way now will pay huge dividends going forward.
These additional credit hours allow you to take less classes during the fall or spring semester. With a lighter load, your classes are more manageable and you have more free time to pursue interesting extracurriculars. Or you can graduate early if you take classes in two to three summers.
Although part of you probably wants a break from classes during the summer, working hard provides present and future benefits. If you do this, see the classes you must take in college.
5. Exercise and eat healthy
Summer can be the most motivating time of year. Whether it’s the sober feeling of seeing yourself in a bathing suit or the extra time to focus on yourself, this hot season is powerful for building healthy habits.
And if you’re a regular reader of Take Your Success, you know that I’ve waged war against getting fat in college.
Never working out and eating like crap is a bad recipe for your life. Eventually this lifestyle is going to catch up to you to the point where you have no energy, look bad, and feel bad about yourself. Who wants that?
Snap out of it by using your loose summer schedule to reverse this trend. Get in a regular exercise and healthy-eating routine. When you follow through, you’ll notice how working out causes you to feel happier. And eating healthy will transform your daily energy levels.
If you love learning about health and fitness, look out for my next blog post on intermittent fasting to see how to lose weight and gain muscle at the same time.
6. Pick up a new hobby
Have you ever wanted to learn how to play guitar, practice photography, pick up yoga, or start a new hobby? Since there’s little to no time during the school year with classes, student organization meetings, and social responsibilities, your hobby gets placed on the back shelf.
But in the summer you have time for it! I doubt you have five hours a day to dedicate to this activity, but an hour or two is more than enough.
So take advantage of this opportunity because developing a new skill is challenging, rewarding, and enjoyable. Each of those feelings are a far cry from boring. And the little progress you make week after week will fuel your inspiration to keep going.
Plus, when your friends come back after summer, you’ll surprise them with what you’ve learned over the three-month hiatus. Just like that, you became a more interesting and impressive person.
7. Work a part-time job
As the majority of students go home for the summer, they also leave their part-time jobs. For those who spend the summer on campus, the competition to get coveted part-time jobs also goes away.
Now you can pick your favorite job instead of settling for whoever will take you. Working is valuable because it will keep you busy and give you a steady income. You’ll have money for regular spending, to pay for tuition, or to pay for grad school. (If graduate school is in your future, read this.)
And you can parlay your work in the summer to keep the job in the fall and spring. I’m all about making decisions to gain multiple benefits, this is one of those.
It’s understandable if you feel you can’t volunteer much during the academic year. Giving time to other people when you don’t have enough time for yourself is difficult. But if that represents your mindset, that excuse goes out the window in the summer.
Volunteering is always time well spent. It leads to gaining leadership skills, learning compassion, and adding a resume line. But most importantly, you’re getting experience helping other people and changing their lives, no matter how big or small.
Moments like that stick with you. Plus, you know how it goes: Volunteers learn more from those in need than the needy learn from the volunteers. Once you see the value in volunteering for others and yourself, you’ll be more likely to make time for it even when you’re busy.
If you come out of the summer only learning that life is bigger than yourself, you’ve made unbelievable progress.
There you have it. Follow this guide in times of boredom and you may find that you have a better time living on campus during the summer than during the academic year.
What are you going to take from this list for your summer at school? Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts or questions.