Oh, summer! No more waking up before the sun comes out, no more homework, no more seeing the face of your physics professor! How people get bored of summer is beyond me. Is there anything better than not doing anything at all for as long as you want? And what is this summer reading everyone keeps talking about? We definitely did not have that in Panama.

When I was in high school (I’ve always wanted to use this phrase! I thought I would be wiser when I did, though), I felt the world crumbling around me when it was time to go back to school. I would cry. So I’m definitely a summer lover. But I have to admit, summer can get a bit tedious, especially after waking up and realizing you have no idea what day it is. Or, after noticing you’ve been watching Law and Order episodes for 9 hours without even stopping to go to the bathroom. So, I compiled a list of things you might want to try if you ever get tired of your glorious summer:

1. Explore your hometown.

Like contributing editor Mollie Yacano said in her article, explore your own city. Like, really explore it. As in, go to places that don’t include the mall and your favorite restaurant. Go to the museums you went to with your school in a field trip, and really learn about them. Make a point of seeing every museum in your town before the summer is over, or every restaurant, or whatever it is that makes your town or city special. It may not seem like it right now, but you’re going to miss your hometown when you leave for college. Cherish it while you can. Start exploring your hometown like a tourist.

2. Multi-course meal.

I got this idea from the best movie/book EVER. Probably not cost-efficient, but still super awesome. Have an entrée in one restaurant, the main course in another restaurant, and dessert in another restaurant. Add more courses and restaurants. Find out what’s the specialty in a couple different restaurants, and go out and make it happen. Super cool idea for a date.

3. Find your passion.

Or at least invest some time in finding it. This is weird coming from me, because I have most definitely NOT found my passion yet. But believe me, sitting on your couch watching TV is not a way to do it. When I was in eleventh grade, my philosophy teacher decided he wanted all of us to talk about our passions. Is there something you investigate about every day? Is there something that you feel the need to read about every day? Something you want to share with others all the time? And I was blank. My advice: go out and do stuff. Learn about yourself. Try different things, find out what interests you, make mistakes, and try again.

4. Learn to spend time by yourself.

Eat by yourself. Go out by yourself. I am hands-down the coolest person I know and I have no problem spending time by myself, and everyone should feel that way about themselves. Oscar Wilde once said, “I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by another person.” When I was fifteen, Miley Cyrus came to Panama, and it was a day before a final, so no one wanted to go with me. And my mom told me, “If you want to go, go”. So I went by myself, and it was amazing.

5. DIY everything you’ve ever wanted to DIY.

It really makes no sense spending forty dollars or more in a pair of high-waisted shorts when you can make them in the comfort of your house. Look through your internet tabs and find everything you saved to “do someday” and actually do it. Have a DIY day, where you commit to do at least 5 projects you repinned or reblogged. Go out in the morning and thrift for high waisted vintage jeans, and spend the rest of the day cutting, bleaching and making bow-shaped pockets. And there’s a million other things you can do besides this. I’m currently obsessed with bow bandeaus and these awesome bathing suit modifications.

6. Organize a themed road trip.

If you are a little like me, you think both road trips and checking things off a list are awesome. So why don’t you mix the two? Make a list to a bunch of summer concerts or festivals you want to attend. Go to all the Six Flags in the States. If that’s a little too ambitious, plan on visiting all the county fairs or all the art exhibits in your state.

7. Plan a dare night with your friends.

It’s like a scavenger hunt, but cooler. Set up teams, and plan dares to do around your town like in the movie Sleepover! Also, have you seen how hot Alexa Vega is now?

8. Pick up that thing you loved but stopped doing for whatever reason.

Last week I saw an ad in the post office for a summer ballet class, and I felt like it was calling me. I try not to live with regrets, but I will never be able to explain my decision of withdrawing from dance. If you are in a similar situation, stop regretting it right now and do something about it. Start painting again, or reading, or writing, or exercising. Or, on a similar note, start doing whatever it is you always wanted to do but never quite found time for, like aerial dancing or photography.

9. Investigate college programs.

I’m sure you’ve already heard you should use your summer to get a head start in your college search. But maybe that’s a little overwhelming. What about college programs? If you get tired or exasperated during your college search, this is another productive option. The Disney College Program and NASA student internships are great places to start. Maybe these are a bit farther away in your college career, but they are still fun to look at, and they might even help you decide your major or focus in college. Or, for example, if you’re a prefrosh, you might want to start looking at student organizations you’re interested in.

10. Travel.

Is there anything in the world better than traveling to a new place? But money is always a big issue. So if you’re a bit on the adventurous side, and at least 18, you should definitely check out websites like Couchsurfing and Woof. A girl that graduated a year before me is now living in an island off the Caribbean in Panama, and saying I’m incredibly jealous of her is an understatement. If she can do it, we all can, even if it’s just for a few months. Save money for a while so you can survive at first, get a job, pay rent, and voilà: living large. Also, rent a bike because you’ll look cool. And it doesn’t even have to be an island! The girl in the movie Safe Haven moved to a beach town. Okay, she was being chased by her crazy husband, and it was just a movie, but it’s still doable (Right?).

11. Finish a Wreck this Journal.

They’re awesome and you’ll feel proud of yourself for finishing one and being creative. I got this book in a thrift shop called 642 Things to Write About. It has super creative writing prompts, and I bet there’s a bunch of other books that follow the same general idea. It probably feels super legit to finish one. I wouldn’t know, though, but I’ll tell you all about it when I do.

12. Re-read Catching Fire.

The movie is coming out in less than five months! Other books you should read before the movie comes out: The Book Thief (my favorite book in the whole wide world! So excited!), Divergent,  and The Mortal Instruments Series. Buzzfeed has a pretty cool list of books you should read before their corresponding movies comes out.

13. Go to Disney World.

There’s nothing better you can do with your summer or any point of your life than going to the most magical place on Earth, because let’s face it: nothing beats Disney. There’s no discussion, sorry. Or, if that’s out of the question, hold a Disney movie marathon and re-watch your favorites! My vote is on a Disney princesses marathon. And all of you Disney lovers check out this amazing Peter Pan blog.

So there you have it, 13 new ideas to try out this summer!

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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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